Scripture and Stock Cars - Andrew Roberts
In the introduction to Holy Habits: Biblical Teaching, I suggest that ‘with this habit, it is particularly important to both explore it and live it’. In sharing this blog post, I hope you are encouraged to put this into practice whatever your calling and context.
Andrew Roberts celebrating his success in the Quicker Vicar race in 2002
One of my guilty secrets is my love of motorsport, especially that of the short oval stock car circuits. I have been going since I was five and have become reasonably well-known to the stock car community. It is a challenging context – the language can be very colourful – in which I try my best to live biblically. Over the years I have been blessed to see God do some wonderful, and at times very unexpected, things in this unusual mission field.
On one occasion I blessed the marriage of two friends in the sport and ended up on the front page of The Times motoring section. Another time I got the chance to take to the track myself in a race exclusively for members of the clergy dubbed the Quicker Vicar race. To my everlasting delight, I managed to win this. The smile lasted for several weeks.
Over the years I have been privileged to share all manner of deep pastoral conversations in the unlikely setting of the pits and paddocks of tracks around the country.
Recently I was meandering through the pits at my local track, Hednesford Hills Raceway in Staffordshire, when I happened to notice a biblical text written within the cockpit of one of the race cars. The car belonged to a young star by the name of Perry Cooke. For any fans of the talent show The Voice Kids you might recognise the name, for Perry was mentored by will.i.am on The Voice Kids show and was one of twelve youngsters to reach the 2017 semifinals after singing a rendition of Imagine by John Lennon (edp24.co.uk/news/20821673.voice-kids-star-perry-cooke-norwich-releases-first-album). He is one very talented (and very nice) young man.
Whilst I knew of his singing talent and was very aware of his skills as a racing driver, I didn’t know about the faith that is so important for him and his family. So, you can imagine my surprise when I poked my head inside his car and saw the text Deuteronomy 31:6 inscribed on the transmission tunnel. In the NIV the text reads:
‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.’ – Deuteronomy 31:6
I asked Perry about this and he explained that this was a verse that meant a great deal to his family especially his father and grandfather, both of whom were also very accomplished racers. It is a text for the whole of life of course, but one that is especially appropriate for the high-speed ultra-close racing category that Perry competes in. After a lovely chat, I said I would pray for him in the final and parted with a God bless you. An hour later he won the final.