It has been a terrible week for the motor sports world. Last Sunday saw the death of Dan Wheldon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The IndyCar community mourned with support from the rest of the motor sports world. Yesterday, on the day after Wheldon’s funeral and the day of the memorial service for him, Moto GP racer Marco Simoncelli died at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.
To be honest, I wish I had never watched the Moto GP Malaysian Grand Prix. Last weekend, one of the often used adjectives for the 15 car crash that claimed Dan Wheldon was “horrific.” After yesterday I can honestly say that the crash at Vegas wasn’t horrific; Simoncelli’s crash at Sepang was horrific. Simoncelli lost control of his bike in a turn and it and he spun into the path of Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards; they truly had nowhere to go. Both Rossi and Edwards struck Simoncelli, knocking his helmet off of him. I’ve never seen anything quite like that before. The sight of a motionless and helmetless Simoncelli lying prostrate in the middle of the track is an image burned into my mind, an image that I wish would go away. If you haven’t seen it, don’t watch any replays. Don’t look it up on You Tube. Trust me, you don’t want to see it. I wish I never had.
I’m not as big into motorcycle racing fan as I am into auto racing, but in the last few years I’ve become a casual Moto GP fan. You didn’t have to be an expert to recognize that Simoncelli was going to be one of the stars of the future though. He was a raw talent and quite possibly a future champion. He raced passionately and agressively, at times drawing the ire of his fellow competitors and the officials. In a sense he reminded me of young auto racers such as Dale Earnhardt and Paul Tracy who were young and aggressive yet matured into champions. Could Simoncelli have done the same? Now we are just left to question what might have been.
Marco Simoncelli 1987-2011