It was with great sadness that we heard on Friday of the passing of WPMC and Killarney stalwart Charles ‘Charlie’ Rowe at the age of 75.

Charlie grew up in Pinelands with lifelong friend and partner-in-mischief Rowly Stanton. The two were part of a group of nine youngsters, all of whom ran Ford Escorts or Cortinas, none of which were standard, especially around the tailpipe area, says Rowly, which did not make them Pinelands’ most popular residents!

In 1969 Charlie acquired a second-hand Anglia cheaply from the wife of his father’s business partner; he and Rowly converted it to track trim and entered it in the Argus Production Car Championship. Their experience with all things Ford and Charlie’s superb talent as a driver combined to win Charlie the WP Saloon Car title in 1971.

The Anglia was then pensioned off in favour of a Mk1 Escort, with which Charlie continued to compete in the Production Car series, as well as a very neat Merlyn Mk11A, with which he won the 1974 Western Province Formula Ford championship.

Which is all the more impressive considering that he had the use of only one eye; he’d lost the sight of the other in a grinding accident at work.

When Charlie retired from active competition, the Formula Ford was sold, but the Escort was returned to street trim as a daily driver for his wife Edie.

He remained a lifelong motorsport fan and WPMC supporter; almost every main-circuit event would see him and Rowly in their favourite seats on the stand at G-Energy corner, making suitably ribald (and accurate!) comments on the current generation of drivers and their talent – or lack of it!

Charlie is survived by his wife Edie, son Graham (himself a former GTI Challenge competitor) and daughter Carmen. Our thoughts and prayers are with them; he will be sorely missed.