“He used to call me ‘The Jinx’” says Cath. “I said on something on our second day together like, ‘We’re going to have a quiet day’ and of course it wasn’t – that was five years ago, and he gave me that nickname ever since. He also used to make comments on my flagging when I’d been doing it for a long time, and he’d initially had no interest in it! Always cheeky and funny.”
Part of the loss felt with Robert’s passing is that his enthusiasm for motor sport took him to a wide racing number of locations – many knew and enjoyed spending time in his company.
“Rob, in the nicest possible way, got about with his marshalling,” says Jo. “I know that loss is also felt throughout the rest of other circuits as well, because he was really prominent at Gurston as well as Goodwood. It’s a loss we’re all feeling to be honest with you.”
Rob had worked 30 years in the aviation engineering industry before working as an MOT tester. The passion which took him round the country to racing events also brought Robert to take a closer look on at the cars on track also.
“He was a scrutineer as well,” Says Russell Pain, Chief Marshal at Goodwood. “He was basically qualified to one of the levels. People from an engineering background tend to be quite methodical. He wasn’t reckless, he wasn’t flamboyant – he was a good marshal.”
“The scrutineering is something which was completely suited to him,” comments Joanna. “Because he was very supportive, but also used that brilliant technical knowledge he has to make sure that the people going out met the requirements and were safe on track.
“He got more and more into it, interested in various bits of marshalling, loved being a bit pedantic” says Cath. “I knew that he learned to pilot planes and he built himself a Caterham kit car – he loved anything with an engine. The scrutineering shows that, but what it doesn’t tell you is what a lovely person he was. Losing somebody with that kind of knowledge, but also with a sense of humour – you know he left a mark on people. You didn’t forget Rob if you’d spent any time with him.”
Robert lost his wife last year, and had only scattered her ashes in the weeks before the his fatal accident. Cath says that despite his personal tragedy, he always spared a thought for others.