Kirsty Wynn

Kirsty Wynn is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Lucky Trevor indulges passion for motorsport

Lotto winner Trevor Cooper indulges his passion for motorsport with his off-road buggy.  Photo / Kellie Blizard
Lotto winner Trevor Cooper indulges his passion for motorsport with his off-road buggy. Photo / Kellie Blizard

Four months ago Lotto millionaire Trevor Cooper was sleeping on a mattress on the floor of his rented flat.

In 10 days' time he will fly to the US for the third time in as many months to compete alongside his heroes in a high octane off-road racing series.

Add that to three new properties, a speedboat, five race cars and a garage full of utes and street cars, and Trevor is living his childhood dream.

But it's not all about him. He's also in the process of setting up a charitable trust, so others can benefit from a slice of the $26 million he won early this year.

And he has made "sizeable" donations to Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal and Starship Hospital.

Motorsport, though, is his passion. Early next month he will race alongside his motorsport heroes in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series in California in his coveted American-built buggy, a Geiser Bros No 71 Pro 2.

He made his debut at the Loorrs Speedworld in Arizona and loved it so much that instead of coming home he went on to race at the Millers Motorsport arena in Utah.

Flying 9m through the air over jumps on a dirt track was something the 34-year-old had dreamed about as a child.

"It is a feeling you can't describe, it's mind blowing," Trevor told the Herald on Sunday.

"The bit that really blows me away is that I am on the start and finish line with my heroes. It's amazing."

For the rest of the year Trevor - who is still single but has a "special someone" - will be back and forth competing off-road in America and New Zealand.

"There is a lot more of it there, we are racing all the time. We fly out every couple of weeks to race against these guys in America. It is more competitive for us," Trevor said.

"Basically we are racing cars on a motorcross track. We are jumping 20-30ft (6-9m) in the air.

"We don't have it here in New Zealand but it is something I would love to see here."

Before leaving he will also race in the two-day NZ Endurance Championships in Nelson next weekend.

Trevor has won the hearts of the US teams and has done well in his initial competitions with a seventh out of 18 in one of his first races.

Comments on off-road blogs talk about Kiwi Trevor and his fish-to-water attitude on the American circuit.

Trevor has also secured sponsorship deals with Midas Onehunga, Lucas Oils NZ, Right Car and Harper Leonard Racing, which provide support and manpower rather than financial backing.

Despite his big bank balance Trevor hasn't stayed in too many fancy hotels and prefers to be "practical" while he is away.

Apart from - of course - in Las Vegas.

"When we went to Vegas we treated ourselves," he said of a recent trip with his brother-in-law who is also his "spotter" or navigator on race day.

"We stayed at the Hilton Grand on the 36th-floor penthouse suite. It is the most amazing place.

"But you know what they say," he laughed, "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

"The best thing about the win has been spending more time with my family," Trevor said.

Summer will bring family trips on the water in the new 9m Searay speedboat Dirty Harry.

"My nephew got to name it because he caught the first fish," Trevor said.

Out and about in New Zealand, Trevor is stopped all the time by people wanting to have a chat and have their photo taken.

He is even recognised in the US and is known on the race circut as the Kiwi who won Lotto.

While he is an open book about his racing passion, Trevor is a little more guarded on matters of the heart.

"I'm single but there is a person in my life," Trevor said.

"We are seeing how things go there before we take things too seriously or make a serious commitment.

"I have known this person for a long time and opportunities have now arisen where we have been able to get to know each other a bit better."

But for now, it is just Trevor, his American bulldog Mac and a "pretty nice" house he calls his "hideaway".

There are no mattresses on the floor.

- Herald on Sunday

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