A gifted driver and crowd favourite
Arguably the island’s most innately-gifted driver, Trevor Manning has been a crowd favourite for nearly 20 years; son of 1980s ace Roger and grandson of motor sport pioneer Harold, ‘Electric Micey’ started his motor sport career in 1988 in a Mazda 323 and, just like brother Wayne, was soon to discover the joys of driving ‘slideways’.
Reporting the Bushy Park final stage of the inaugural Texaco International All-Stage Rally in 1990, RPM magazine said: “What really had the crowd jumping for joy was a truly entertaining drive from the youthful Trevor Manning in a venerable Ford Escort MkII. His was a fine display of controlled sideways driving, which earned him a special prize at the end of the day, and a heap of admiration from the enlightened crowd.”
By then he had already shared the Club’s Champion Driver title (1989 with Andrew Mallalieu), but his name would not appear on the roll of honour for the Texaco until 1995, 10th in that same Escort with co-driver Mike Ward. While some described him as “the new age Andrew Phillips”, Micey needed to move on and he credits Sean Lashley, then working at local dealer Fort Royal Garage, for his help in getting his father’s Lancer Turbo back in action, and for his switch to Mitsubishi, where he has remained ever since.
A group win on the Texaco in 1996, then seventh overall the year after proved the value of the move, while third place in a Lancer Evo III in 1998 really proved Micey’s potential – in the same year, he again tied for Champion Driver, this time with Sean Gill. Victory in 1999 – the Evo V’s first season – and a brace of second places to Roger Skeete in the next two years put Micey right at the forefront of island motor sport. By now, his trademark flowing driving style had also made him virtually unbeatable in RallySprint at the Vaucluse Raceway.
As his competitors found newer machinery, so the Evo V began to feel its age, and was replaced in 2004 by a highly-sophisticated Evo VIII; while the package looked just right, it would take the Simpson Motors crew and British preparation expert Harry Hockley a long time to extract the best from what can be a very frustrating car. Micey’s third-place finishes with new co-driver James Betts on Rally Barbados in 2004 and ’06, also Rally Jamaica in ’04, speak volumes of his determination.