He may not be their biological father, but Justin Campbell is as much a parent to six-year-old Dominic and four-year-old Logan as their mother, Robyn, is.
He may not be their biological father, but Justin Campbell is as much a parent to six-year-old Dominic and four-year-old Logan as their mother, Robyn, is. And it’s clear when he talks about his life with them that he loves them just as they were his own flesh and blood and is as committed to them as he is to his lifelong passion of motorsports.
The founder of Campbell Racing Team (CRT), who local motorsports enthusiasts know as the man behind the wheel of the ‘Blue Machine’, a race-prepared 2003 BMW M3 rally car, admits it wasn’t an easy ride at first – moving from being the boys’ “cool Uncle Justin” to becoming one of their parents. “Having never had children, stepping into the role as step-dad for a then three-year-old and five-year-old was a daunting task, to say the least.
It took some major adjustments and learning on my side, but I have never been one to back down from a challenge,” Justin says, adding that with the encouragement and assistance of his girlfriend, Robyn, he has been able to find his own “parenting groove”. “I feel that every day I gain more confidence in my new role,” he adds. But Justin knows it’s a work in progress and is working at it every day.
“I am doing my best to find a balance between being both a parent that they respect and look up to, but also being their biggest supporter and a person that they can confide in no matter what,” he says.
The quality time they spend together has helped to build and strengthen that relationship. Because the boys are also into motorsports – currently in go-karting which was the same way Justin entered the racing arena – some of that time is on the race track. But that’s not the only time they bond.
The preparation for and commute to school provide that opportunity as well. Explaining what a typical day in his life is like, the assistant service manager at Courtesy Garage says: “Monday through Friday our mornings are pretty hectic with Robyn and me sharing the duties of getting the boys and ourselves ready and out the door to school and to work. On a typical morning, Robyn gets our breakfast and lunch ready while I get the boys dressed and ready before we all head out the door.
“If it’s one of the mornings that I take the boys to school, we make the drive interesting by playing games, practising spelling and making sure we take turns saying a prayer just before we arrive at school….Having children definitely adds that extra layer to all daily activities, as I am now not just planning for myself alone but also have to be cognizant of their needs and changes in their schedule, such as if they have to leave school early or have a day off.
This factors in even more so with karting whereby I am not just getting myself ready and preparing my kart but also coaching them and being their pit crew at the same time. It is challenging but it is also extremely rewarding to watch and be a part of their entry into motorsports and to be able to be a part of their journey.”
Justin makes an extra effort to make his mornings with the boys “special”, he says, since time together is limited on evenings and nights during rally season when he’s in intense trainings sessions and/or spending long hours in the workshop to prepare the ‘Blue Machine’ and the ‘Baby Blue Go Kart’ for upcoming events. Even then, they are not far away from his mind – or he from theirs.
“I always try to let the boys know what my plans are for the evening and Dominic has even learned my cell phone number, and can – and often does – call to check in on me or even just to say ‘good night’,” he says. Being a parent to Dominic and Logan has not only changed Justin’s perspective, but his priorities as well. He loves watching them experience the world of motorsports and being a part of that journey.
“I try very hard to make sure that I make time to be at their special events as well as create opportunities for us to spend time and do activities together as a family,” he says, adding that becoming a parent has been an eye-opener, in several ways, including giving him a better understanding of “what it was like for my parents and the emotions they must have had also raising two boys”. Justin is not only a parent, karting coach and source of moral and other support for Dominic and Logan.
He is their idol and inspiration. And he says all those roles he plays in their lives influence how he lives his own. “I am humbled by the fact that they both look up to me and even want to be like me, but I also understand that the onus is on me to set the very best example for them to follow. I enjoy seeing life through their eyes and being able to teach them right, and even simple things as saying ‘good morning’ or ‘good evening’ to strangers and watching them put those teachings in action is gratifying,” he says. Justin’s examples don’t stop there, however.
He is a good role model outside the home and off the track. Though CRT, the Rally Barbados SuperModified 3 Champion supports the community in all things motorsports and beyond. And just as he is devoted to the sport, he is unswerving in his steadfastness in fatherhood, making a pledge to himself to be the best parent he can possibly be to Dominic and Logan.
“I promise to always strive to be the best version of me and, by doing so, to encourage them to be the very best versions of themselves. I promise to show them honesty, respect and love as my dad Andrew showed my brother Russel and I. “And hope that when they become parents themselves one day, that they will remember to pass on the same to their children, because, as it has been said, ‘We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children’.”
JUSTIN’S MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS
“On Sundays, we make it a point to have a relaxing, family-filled day at my childhood home in St Philip. During the day, they will help me around the yard and to wash the cars, and after we have had our traditional Sunday lunch made by my mum, Judi-Ann, we fire up the off road buggy and the kids take turns driving each other around on a makeshift track around the property.”
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