Day At The Track

Darren DeFilippi Memorial Trot turns 25

09:15 AM 30 Jul 2020 NZST
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Darren DeFilippi,Harness racing
HRNZ

By Dave Di Somma, Harness News Desk     

Not a day goes by when Colin and Julie DeFilippi don’t think about their son Darren.

“It’s still hurts thinking about him and what he has missed out on in life,” says Julie.

The 25th running of the Darren DeFilippi Memorial Trot will be held at Addington Raceway on Friday night. It marks a quarter of a century since the talented junior driver was killed in a three car crash as he returned from the Orari races.

“We have both struggled,” says Colin, “sometimes it feels like just 10 years other times it feels like an eternity.”

“We both still have sleepless nights since the accident, and although life goes on - it’s still hard to live with.” says Julie

“At the time of the accident it was front and foremost all the time… now it’s still there but you can concentrate on other things a little more.”

Colin remembers a young man who was “focused and with his heart in the game”. Julie says he also had “gorgeous smiling eyes and when he smiled it melted my heart”.

Darren had 14 wins in two years of driving, his last drive was a sixth on Stambro (trained by Colin) at Geraldine just hours before his death. Stambro was also killed in a separate accident on the same road on the same day (November 25 1995).

The DeFilippis have never found out the exact detail around the crash.

“We know a car crossed the centre line and hit two cars, we don’t know if she had fallen asleep or what.”

“She broke an arm and was disqualified from driving for six months.”

In the DeFilippi family home there is a constant reminder of their teenage son, with a memorial cabinet that includes his photos, his racing colours, and trophies.

“We will never forget him,” says Julie.

She also praises her husband’s support over the years and their daughter Mandy who she describes as a “tower of strength”.

“She was just 17 when this happened. It had a big impact and she is amazingly strong to have coped like she has.”

The DeFilippis will be at Addington on Friday night – For them personally, they know it won’t be easy.

“Many of the junior drivers weren’t even born when Darren was around, but there’s been a lot of support from trainers and everyone else, his trophy is held in high esteem by the junior drivers, and that makes us very proud,” says Julie.

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