By: Alec Camplin
As a child, Trevor Wilson ogled at the heroes he saw on TV racing in the Dakar Rally – one of the most infamous and challenging motorsport events on the planet. Now as a 29-year old, the professional motorbike rider is quickly becoming one of them. Behind all this though is a passion for people to hear the message of Jesus.
‘Dakar’ is a two-week (12 stage) event and is being held for the first time in Saudi Arabia tracking though more than 7,900km of the most treacherous and unforgiving terrain the nation has to offer. Now in its 41st edition the race will be watched by more than a billion TV viewers across 190 countries.
Trevor Wilson’s journey to the Dakar start line began five years ago;
“I was cruising through life as a school teacher and asked myself what regrets I might have and that was the Dakar Rally, a race I had always dreamt of. I told my friends about it and they laughed.”
The Brisbane local quit his job and made the life-changing decision to start a business, BluTec Waterproofing, to finance his new mission.
Whilst the Dakar campaign began as a “selfish” personal goal, Wilson’s faith helped him see he could use his platform for a much greater purpose.
After nearly four years of unsuccessfully toiling to get to the start line, the Brisbane Bridgeman Baptist Church attendee got to a place where he was fed up and he needed God to “come in and take it all.”
“At the start it (the racing team) was called Trevor Wilson Racing and then God showed me and brought people around my life to help me understand that if I surrendered this to God it could become more than who I am.”
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In 2009, American Football star Tim Tebow painted John 3:16 under his eyes. As a result of the TV coverage from the NCAA National Championship match which Tebow was a part of, the verse was Googled over 94 million times.
This inspired Wilson to rename his racing brand in early 2019 to Godspeed Racing. He also plastered his bikes with Bible verses and imagery (including the John 3:16 verse) and incorporated the colours of the gospel into the new logo. The latter has been useful for talking people through the famous first four books of the New Testament.
Spurred by the change of name and attitude, Wilson has had the opportunity to have countless fruitful discussions about faith and God with friends and competitors curious about what ‘Godspeed’ is all about. Ultimately, sharing the message of Jesus has now become the centre of what ‘Trev’ does through his bike.
Much like the Dakar race itself the journey to the start line has at times been a rocky road. Just last year alone Wilson went through quite an odyssey.
In October of 2019, after a desert training camp, Wilson was involved in 100km/hr car crash in Dubai writing off both the cars involved. The other driver involved thought he was dead.
“I then saw you jump out of the car and run to in between the safety barriers and I was for sure you could not be the driver. (Later) I said to my friend, tonight we witnessed a miracle,” she said.
Incredibly, the only injury the former PE teacher suffered was to his hand. However, the fallout from the crash left him in limbo – unable to leave the United Arab Emirates for weeks.
Back in Brisbane one of his bikes was stolen less than two weeks before he was to board his plane to the race. However, he provided a surprising response.
“All I can do is trust that He is in control. The bike is literally covered in bible verses. So whoever stole it is getting a free sermon,” Wilson posted on his Godspeed Racing Facebook page.
In a stroke of fortune, it was found two days later in bushland, albeit stripped of all its stickers.
Amongst all the other bumps, Trevor Wilson has had some incredible doors opened for him.
Over the last two years Trevor has had the opportunity to venture into prisons and schools to share his journey. At the heart of this is a vision of empowering his audience to be all they can be.
“We talk about…how to establish your cornerstone and work with, not against, your passions and interests,” Wilson said on the Dakar website.
By chance Wilson was also chosen to be a part of the ‘2020 Dakar Heroes’. This is a small collection of competitors that official Dakar Rally media feel have compelling stories worth sharing throughout the fortnight. Without this opportunity it’s unlikely Wilson would’ve got any TV coverage. With it, small glimpses of his message will be seen by potentially hundreds of millions of rally fans.
Wilson believes the decision to put his faith front and centre on this journey is the reason things have turned out the way they have.
“When we surrender things to Jesus they become so much bigger than we could imagine,” he said.
At the completion of the race, it’s unlikely Trevor Wilson’s 2019 Dakar Rally will have rocked the record books. God doesn’t play favourites and realistically a man doing his own mechanical work racing against big budget teams is unlikely to come out on top. But that is okay – winning is not the ultimate purpose for him.
Speaking at his church, Bridgeman Baptist, prior to leaving he said,
“Whatever happens in the race is in God’s hands but I really hope he uses the publicity from it to give him glory and that people hear the message of Jesus… When we surrender things to Jesus they become more than we could ever have imagine and I’ve seen that (already) through this journey.”
As of Thursday 9th January, after the first four stages of the Dakar Rally, Wilson is sitting in 92nd position in the Moto category.