Vale Trevor Wilkes
Trevor Wilkes is being remembered as a well-respected and universally-liked man who "lived for racing."
A race caller for more than 40 years, he retired at the end of the 2021/22 season.
He died after a battle with motor neurone disease in Christchurch this week, prompting an outpouring of tributes, with many praising him as generous, kind-hearted and well-liked.
In his 43 years behind the binoculars Wilkes' first love was calling the dogs. Famously he only missed one meeting through illness in all that time!
Such was his contribution to the sport that he was inducted into the New Zealand Greyhound Hall of Fame following his retirement. He got a standing ovation at the time.
It was January 1979 at QE2 Park when Wilkes called his first race meeting for the Christchurch Greyhound Club. He had been calling harness trials before that and he continued calling trials, especially at Rangiora and Addington, until relatively recently.
In 1988 when Reon Murtha went to Seoul to commentate at the Olympic Games Wilkes called all three codes in Canterbury for six weeks. He continued to call the occasional harness meetings at Addington throughout his career. He was also a licenced judge for harness meetings.
For over 20 years, he was an on-course commentator on the West Coast, and hosted many supporters’ tours there. At today's Kawatiri Cup at Westport all drivers will be wearing black armbands in his honour.
In 1991, Trevor joined the Radio Pacific and Trackside TV commentary teams to call TAB races. Before that he and Neville Muir had a company called Mirage Recordings which would film and then sell trials videos, especially from Rangiora.
He also raced greyhounds himself, including Wink At Wilkes. He quickly gave up his greyhound ownership interests though, being quoted at the time as saying, “I found it too hard to call my own dogs”. Wink at Wilkes raced in the early 90s, winning nine times in 72 starts.
Included in the ownership group of Wink At Wilkes was former long-time HRNZ employee and now Addington Raceway's Racing Industry Manager Darrin Williams.
"We go back to the 1980s, he was a brilliant guy with a great voice for commentating."
"Everyone loved Trevor - he didn't have a bad word for anyone and no-one had one for him."
"He lived for racing."
On retirement, Wilkes said, “Commentating has been a wonderful job. It has been fantastic to get paid for work that you love doing."