I have to admit, I’m not a fan of Simoncelli. His goofy afro hair style is not to my liking, but I feel it is wrong not to like someone who is one of the most aggressive rider in the MotoGP. This year’s MotoGP is nothing great, with only half participation of riders and teams, due to rising cost that prevented many teams to participate. However, 2011 has been the year of many accidents which caused a few riders to sit out for a few racers. What happened on 23th of October 2011 in Sepang, was perhaps the worst of all.
If 1st of May, 1994 is the darkest day in Formula One (when former F1 legend Ayrton Senna died in Imola, Italy), then 23th of October 2011 could be the is the darkest day in MotoGP. It is also the darkest moment in Malaysian motorsports, where Malaysia was running their 21st year in hosting the World Motorcycle Championships, as prior that date, no lives were lost in that circuit. Another trivial, this is the circuit where Simoncelli celebrated his 250cc title back in 2008. Little do they know what the track could do to his fate a few years later.
An aggressive rider who rides with flair and no fear, Simoncelli never fails to entertain his fans on and off track, which is why he is one of the fans’ favourites. He is also in line to replace compatriot and MotoGP great, Valentino Rossi, who they both were close friends. Rossi admitted that Simoncelli was like his little brother to him. Seeing how fate played on them in the events of 23th October 2011 was cruel, prompting speculation if Rossi might want to hang his helmet, although Rossi recently denied his retirement plans.
For MotoGP fans will remember him as one of the most aggressive and “gung-ho” type of riders who will keep on fighting in the circuits for glory or else crash. The phrase “fight till the end or die trying” is what Simoncelli had in his mind while fending off his rivals at tight and twisty corners and long straights. For those who don’t watch MotoGP, people will remember him as the dude with a funky afro hair. For me, he’s just a crash kid. But like many people would agree, I know he is the one to watch in future MotoGP. He could easily be a successor to his close friend, Rossi, winning racer and take on championships with flair and flamboyant style.
What happened at 4pm during the second lap of the race remains a question that maybe only Lord has answer to it. When the clock ticked 4.56pm on that day, a life was sadly lost, and a new legend was born. He was 24. Another case of gone too soon.
I personally got a shock of my life when I saw the updates on Facebook, more so when seeing the horrific videos emerged on the Internet. There’s also been sad news on how local fans got dissatisfied when the race got called off and ended up throwing rubbish and bottles into the track, showing their dismay. But honestly, I don’t blame them as they were not inform properly as; 1. The organisers must inform the family of the Simoncelli first; 2. The PA system is pretty much “fail”. Furthermore they as spectators paid for it and expected a good show. This is also the first fatality recorded in the Sepang circuit since 1999, hence prompting the circuit to join the ranks of Suzuka, Imola, Monza, Nürburgring and so on, where world champions lost their lives there.
By the time this piece was written, Simoncelli’s body has arrived in Italy and will be buried on Thursday. Regardless, for other people they will miss a rider with a funky afro. For fans, they miss their hero. For me, I think we will miss a true flamboyant character in motor sports. RIP, Super Sic.