nothing to do with the person, the event is deeply engraved in the
individual?s mind and will always stay with him or her. This happened when I
was twelve years old. I have been a car-racing fan since the age of nine and
one driver started capturing my attention more and more. His name was Ayrton
Williams-Renault. Even after crashing in the first two races of the season,
everybody, including me, saw him as the main contender. Then came the third race
of the season, in a little country of San Marino, in the small city of Imola?
The racing weekend started off on April 29th, 1994 on a very sour note. During
at a speed close to 150 miles per hour, slamming headfirst into a wall of tires.
The driver was knocked unconscious and transported to a hospital, where Senna,
his countryman, was the first person Rubens saw when he came to. Next day,
was killed when a wing on his Simtek ripped off on a speed of about 170 miles
per hour. The car then hit a concrete wall, Roland suffering extensive damage to
his, Frenchman Alain Prost, that if he could avoid racing the next day, he
would. Nevertheless, unable to do much himself, Senna won the pole position and
was to start first in Sunday?s race. Sunday?s race started off on a tragic
note as well. A young Portuguese driver, Pedro Lamy, did not see the stalled
Benetton of a Finn Yurki Yarvi Lehto, slamming his Lotus into Lehto?s car at a
high speed. The debris flew all over the spectator?s stands, injuring five
people. One of them was hurt so bad, he went into a coma. The race was halted,
then restarted, and on Lap Six, Senna was leading his title contender, Michael
Schumacher by over two seconds ? a fairly substantial lead. Meanwhile, in the
pits, the crew of the veteran of the sport, Michele Alboreto, of Italy, did
something wrong with his car, resulting in a wheel flying off his Minardi as he
blue-and-white Williams enter a high-speed curve at about 200 mph, then hammer
thought that went through my head was this: ?Dear God, let that be Hill.?
(Damon Hill, Senna?s teammate) Granted, the wish was not one of a
lifelessly in the cockpit I thought: ?Maybe he is just unconscious, he will be
all right.? A helicopter airlifted him to the nearby hospital, but my friend
and I were hopeful. The race went on but then two people all of a sudden just
drove into the pits, pulling themselves out of the race. Those were an Austrian
were the first one to arrive on the accident scene. As I learned much later they
Next day, I was still hopeful. After practicing some soccer moves early in the
morning, I ran up to our apartment and was going to call my friend, when the
but by the grave atmosphere that was in the air, he need not have said one.
then called me first thing in the morning. Stunned, I turned around and repeated
enthusiasm, cam up to us and asked what in the world happened. To my great
how much I was into the sport and how much Senna meant to me as a role model. I
spent the next two hours practicing soccer shots by myself thinking: it is just
not fair. Senna?s devotedness to God and religion in general was unsurpassed.
Why him, then? He was only 33! Age of Christ, I remember thinking to myself.
vacuum of space. While never actually knowing the guy, I still felt like he was
a part of my life, for I knew so much about him. I never had a brother, but
losing Ayrton was much like losing a brother to me. He was a model of
devotedness to his God, his sport and his family. Never in my life have I had
now still means a lot to me as a role model.