Super Sic #58

25 10 2012

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Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of the passing of MotoGP motorcycle racer, Marco Simoncelli.  He died in a tragic, freak accident during last year’s MotoGP round at the Sepang racetrack in Malaysia.  What should have been a routine fall and slide to safety instead turned horrific as his bike’s tires regained traction after he had fallen off and become entangled with part of the bike,drawing him back into the path of riders behind him.

Simoncelli was quite a racer. In his too-brief time on Earth, I viewed him at first as a reckless and dangerous rider, but then began to see him get ahold of his talent, understand that to be a winning rider he has to stay in the bike (i.e. not crash out) and finish races.

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He manned up and apologized to other riders that he crashed into. He internalized the criticism and made himself a better rider because of it – unlike what some other riders have historically done – and seemingly was making progress towards a potential championship season, one of these years.

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I came to be a fan of Marco’s. He was fast – so fast! – and every race he participated in was guaranteed to have some excitement, #58-style. He was bold, really almost brazenly so, he would pass other riders in parts of the track deemed impossible by the TV commentators.  And he did it as a giant among diminutive men, at six feet tall he was easily recognizable even in his leathers and helmet.

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Besides his impressive skills with a race bike, the other, main reason I came to like Simoncelli was the praise for him that was echoed from various corners of the motorcycle roadracing world, from fans who all said that no matter when and where they found Marco and asked for a picture or autograph, he was more than happy to oblige, to his competitors who said that while he was a demon on the track, he was one of the nicest people you’d likely ever meet.

He was rarely observed without his big hair and trademark smile:

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And in our hyper-politically correct world, and particularly in his weird world of the very top echelon of professional motorcycle racing, Marco was a standout personality – a guy with opinions on things, events and people, unafraid to speak his mind. Sometimes this made certain people upset, and frequently it made for great entertainment – something that is very much lacking these days in world-class professional motorbike racing these days.

Many other, infinitely more qualified people have written some great tributes to Marco over the past year. Guys like world champion Kevin Schwantz, who was friends with Marco and knew him well.

Moto-journalist Julian Ryder had a great article.

And Superbike Planet has many tributes and even some family vacation photos up.

Most of the pictures here are Brian Nelson’s.

MotoGP, and the world overall, is so much the worse off without Marco Simoncelli.  Big, bright personalities sometime burn hot and far too quickly.

Ciao Marco “Super Sic” Simoncelli – gone but not forgotten.

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R.I.P. MCA – Adam Yauch

4 05 2012

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Founding member of the Beastie Boys, Adam Yauch aka MCA, has died. He was 47.

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I didn’t realize this until today. Besides music, he had expanded into film lately. His film production and distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories produced the excellent documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop” about street artist Banksy, which I highly recommend.

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License to Ill was such a great album. So was Paul’s Boutique and Ill Communication.

I remember when License came out, I was in elementary school. I liked it because the songs had funny lyrics but the music was good, not goofy. 

The record, which I had, featured the tail of a private jet with the Beastie Boyd’s logo, but when you opened the record sleeve, the rest of the picture showed the crumpled forward part of the plane crashed into a mountain. We thought that was pretty clever.

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Truly a sad day. RIP MCA.