In May of 1994, I was only five years old and had not yet discovered my passion for all things automotive. I didn’t understand the hold it had on my uncle and all of the others that would show up to the Formula 1 races he told me stories about. He traveled half-way around the world to watch cars drive around for two hours and then came home. What could he get out of that? My five year old brain couldn’t grasp the concept.
One Sunday afternoon, I went to his house with my grandmother and we found him in his garage, crying. He told us a racing driver was killed only minutes ago.
His name was Senna.
My uncle idolized the man. He was able to meet him on several occasions, donated to his charities, and even owned a replica helmet (which now proudly sits on my desk). Senna was more than just a racing driver to people like my uncle.
I never had the exposure to Senna those enthusiasts received, but if this man could have such an impact on my uncle, the man I idolized, then he had to be worth learning about. Now, after years of visiting sites like Jalopnik, I’ve seen the documentaries and watched his laps at Suzuka in an NSX, but that can’t compare to watching his races for years.
So, this is why I like Senna. Because when I was a boy, a man I didn’t know anything about died, and this destroyed my uncle. The image of him crying in his garage is still clear in my mind nearly twenty years later.