As his hometown of Nanaimo did not have a club at the time, Harry Roberts began his racing days in 1953 under the rules of the “British Columbia Automobile Sports Association” (BCASA). At that time, Island drivers ran at “Shearing Speedway” just north of Duncan, which was a very rough track as it was only a “blade-mix” paved oval. Harry attended races there for two years until Western Speedway’s 3/8 mile dirt track opened and in 1955 he ran a #13 1935 Ford coupe stockcar which was, in his words, “a real “tank”, but it was our first try at racing”. His next stocker (a ’34 Ford) also featured two highly-regarded racing superstitions that most of his fellow racers totally avoided – it was green in colour and carried the number “13”. But these facts didn’t faze Harry who always declared, “No superstitions allowed!”.
In his weekly job as the manager of “Paramount Auto Body” in Nanaimo, Harry used his knowledge and expertise to assist several of his fellow club members over the years in the straightening out and repainting of their bent racecars.
In addition to racing another “green #13” in 1958, Harry as newly-elected President of the “Mid Island Auto Racing Association” (MIARA) and his fellow club members saw the realization of their dream of a racetrack in Nanaimo with that year’s opening of “Grandview Bowl” just north of the Hub city. Despite having several mechanical failures and a few on-track accidents (possibly caused by his “No superstitions” stance), Harry completed the year and found Fortune smiling on him at season’s end in 1959 when he finished a lucky “7th” in Island stockcar points standings which gave him the right to run that number for the 1960 season. Did he? NOPE! Harry held on to his favourite number for what would be his final driving season, putting it on his new 1934 Ford coupe which, as a final act of “superstition defiance”, was painted with no less than 17 coats of green lacquer paint which prompted track announcer Bing Foster to dub it the “Apple Green Baby”. Harry once remarked that it was the prettiest car he ever raced and he wished that he still had it!
Following the 1960 season, two of Harry’s three children contracted Polio, which required them to be treated at Victoria’s “Queen Alexandra Solarium”. Although this meant there was no more time for driving racecars, Harry did later continue his involvement in Nanaimo’s racing community with another term as MIARA President and well as serving the track as a “starter”.