Rob "The Legend" Richards, one of the West Country's more colourful rally characters has died aged just 48 after a battle with cancer.
His parents ran the famous SPEECH HOUSE HOTEL in the 70s ,adjacent then to the equally well known RAC Rally stage in the Forest of Dean, and Rob competed in a wide variety of road and stage rallies, driving or navigating, as well as a fair few hillclimbs from the 80s until recently.
He was my navigator on the 2003 Wyedean Rally when we entered a 1960 Land Rover with 3.9 V8 engine (and auto box...) and his beloved Rover K-series powered Sunbeam Ti was run by my brother's outfit ASHLEY LEWIS RACING in the late 90s/early 2000s. In recent years he ran ICE, a company that hired and operated in-car cameras.
He got the nickname 'Legend' because he was a bit of a wild-child in his younger days and if you mentioned his name in rallying circles throughout the South West and Cotswolds you generally found people who knew him and had a story or two to tell ! Some of them were most probably true... He was also the kind of chap who'd walk into a rally service area, straight up to someone like Colin McRae who'd say "Hello Rob!" without hesitation.
We shall miss him.
Rob (right) with his hero, Ari Vatanen and Forest Of Dean MC's Paul Willetts at the 1999 Network Q Press day in the Forest of Dean