Richard Robarts

A farmer from Essex, Robarts was almost 25 before he started racing, initially with an Aston Martin Lagonda but then with a Ginetta, built by the Walkett brothers in Witham. This was followed by a Palliser and an Elden before he moved up to Formula 3 in 1973 with a GRD and landed backing from the Myson company, which was expanding fast at the time. This gave him the chance to shine and in the midseason he switched to March and finished first in the Lombard North Central Championship and third in the Forward Trust Championship.

With backing from a local real estate agent he decided to jump straight into F1 in 1974 and hired the second Brabham, finding himself up against none other than Carlos Reutemann. The arrangement did not last long and Robarts was quickly ousted when Rikky von Opel arrived with more money and Robards found himself cut adrift. There was a chance to drive for Frank Williams in Sweden but his team mate Tom Belso crashed his car heavily in practice and so Williams handed over Robarts's car to the Dane.

After that Robarts struggled to find regular work in 1975 and it was not until the start of 1976 that he reappeared in Formula 2 at the wheel of a Myson-sponsored March 752, which was a year out of date. In the third race, at Vallelunga, he destroyed the car in a ferocious accident which left him with a broken nose. He bought another car and tried to make a comeback. The results were not very impressive in either the F2 series or in the Shellsport International Series, which was run in Britain for F1, F2 and F5000 cars, although he did finish second in the penultimate Shellsport event at Brands Hatch in October and third a few weeks later.

In 1977 and 1978 he made fleeting but unsuccessful appearances in F2 cars but then quit the sport and returned to Essex where he went into the coach-building business.