Author Topic: I've lost my hero, long live Clay!  (Read 1685 times)

[SJ]CasparGTL

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I've lost my hero, long live Clay!
« on: December 16, 2006, 12:35:18 am »
This is my story that I just posted at F1database site.
Maybe you want to read it, I just need to share it.
thanks.


Hi guys,

I just come back from a gig 10m minutes ago , lit a nice sigar to unwind check my eamil and I saw a F1DB PM, from Ruerd.

Thank you for thinking of me and considering me a friend and telling me the news Ruerd, you're a great guy in my book and I give you and all others my condoleances for this great loss.

My stomache turned as I read the message and I don't know what to feel or do atm.
Don't worry, no danger, just plain nothing.
I wanted to continue to read the posts in this thread and as usual download the beautiful pics that I didn't have yet in my 'rega' folder.
But I feel kinda silly. I'm very glad I can talk to you guys atm.
I think I'll skype my mate Chris in Bristol in a minute.

Clay Regazzoni is dead.
I press the 'period' button and look at it.
It's final, no, can't be, I'm not ready, but fate and heavy lorries don't care.
I want to do something, to show how much I care about this man and the tons of pleasure he has given me.
Past tense? Yes, past but BLOODY strong!

I was so hoping to once go to Goodwood or so to maybe meet him in the flesh and I only very recently had heard his voice for the first time in an interview about his career on youtube. That was nice, very nice.
More painful is the fact that I didn't make time yet to write to his website where some people get their email answered by the master.
I've missed more opportunities in seeing my hero's in the fles, like Frank Sinatra or Ella Fitzgerald. I must learn from this. Sorry Clay, very sorry.

If you'll allow me I write my letter anyway, here, embarassing or not.

Dear Clay,

I want to tell you after all these years how much pleasure you have given to my life when I became a fan of you in 1975.
I wondered later, why you, why not another guy like Stewart, Lauda, Hunt?
It's your name Clay, Gianclaudio Giuseppe Regazzoni.
It's your looks, the mustache, the way you walk.
It's your helmet, the Jeb's red and white. I bought one at the age of 16 in my moped days, to look like you, to honour you and tell everybody who wants to know about you. I still have the helmet and I look at it right now.
I put a swiss cross on the top and have stickers with your name on the dark visor's sunscreen in the top.
It was 'special', like your name like being Swiss, I have something with sportspeople from lesser known countries.
You were special, different then the rest, not always winning but giving SO much hope and excitement when I rode on my bicycle, with food and hot chocolate to Eindhoven station early in the morning in August. The train took me straight to Zandvoort and I read the special small newspaper that had the grid positions, there wasn't a lot of info in Holland about pre race happenings.
I was already calculating your chances as more and more race fans entered the train.
from Zanvoort station it was a half hour walk to the track and I always tried to overtake as many people as possible to get a good spot at the fence at the end of the straight, before Tarzan corner.
I installed myself and enjoyed the magazines and drinks and sandwiches as the morning progressed and excitement mounted.
there were more lauda fans and Hunt fans and such but that was ok.
I was there to see my hero, I was there!
The morning warmup for F1 is a dream I will never forget. The first time ever I heard and saw an F1 car stuttering out of the pitlane and then finding it's revs........then make the bend and power out in the other direction,...MY GOD!
then , the first cars came down the straight in full swing. I rest my case.
the DFV's were great but the Matra12 and then, then it came, the Ferrai flat 12! Unbelievable dear Clay, unbelievable!

The driver presentation lap on top of some Renault 17 or so was great.
I saw you but didn't have the courage to call out your name, but I saw you.

I can't remember how that race went anymore so I won't talk a lot about that.
After a day of awe I went home a very happy teenager. I was there!

Only when I read some great magazines at a friend's place found out you had come SO close to becoming World Champion in 1974. I went nuts that I joined the string of fans so late! I found out later all about that year and I now own the book about your fight with Emmo in that year.

In 1976 I first went to Zolder.
Again, at the presentation , you came by us and this time I had a borrowed camera! My friend Rene was more bold and when you passed us, he shouted: "REGA!"
you looked at us, raised your arm, waved and smiled your winning smile.
Click. Got it! Close up, head to waist, somebody help me!

In the race you were out of contention soon and I was gutted, but that's how it went. rene was very pleased to see Jody Scheckter do so well in the Wolf. He teased me and it was alright, later...

OK, Zandvoort 1976.
I knew you were doing anything to beat James Hunt and take points away until Niki Lauda could return, at least that's what I believed.
In the last stages of the race you came closer and closer and the grass and sand under my feet was suffering tremendously as I tried to help you with every s/f straight, braking before Tarzan and then powering out of it.
The speaker got VERY excited as you came closer to James all the time and on the last lap you were on his tail.
Over the engines of other cars I could hear both your names being mentioned all the time and I was sure you were launching an attack, no doubt!
One of the dreaded backmarkers prevented a pass as I read later and James won. I was so proud AND so dissapointed at the same time. Very, VERY exciting. It took me a day or two to recover, but maybe next year eh?

Then the years with Ensign and Shadow, where you did some remarkable things, as I saw later on dvd';s I have now, for instance at the start of the Monza GP and at your race at Fuji !!!! I had a subscription of Sport Auto, the great German magazine and I remember going to the mailbox every day in high anticipation of finding the latest issue. It was about the only info about F1 I had access to and I sped through the mag to find any single letter about your adventures or info about
your career's future. I had high hopes to see you get in to a quicker car next year but also was afraid that those days might be over.
Then, in 1979 , there was Williams, who had done so well in 1978 and now came with the 06 and later the very smooth and efficient looking 07.

I also own a dvd with highlights of the Monaco GP that year and as I watched the insane 20 second catchup you did on Jody's Ferrari it all came back to me.
Yes, I floored it all the way with you and the image of you going through the tunnel, SO much closer to the barrier than anyone else in such blistering pace is another memory for life. Williams was coming!

England.
At my uncle's home in the summer I watched the whole race live on television and you can imagine I wrecked their wooden floor with my throttle and brake help!
When Alan retired, you took the lead and what followed were some of the most memorable moments of my life.
Will the car last, I was sure YOU would.
You pulled it off, you won! R E G A Z Z O N I WINS THE SILVERSTONE GRAND PRIX! My family were OK with me, they knew what it meat to me.

I just KNEW it was possible and was SO proud you proved all the Ferrari people that Clay was VERY much alive! Mr. Williams must have been thrilled.
To see him let you go was another move I never understood. OK, Reuteman was fast, but you did SO well!

1980.
The car looked great! It wasn't the fastest, everybody knew that.
But again, I was sure you would show people where it's at whenever you got the chance.
The race at Long Beach, where you were so succesful in 1976.

Races in the US weren't shown on TV then and a day later, as visted my girlfriend she said she had bad news for me. She showed me a tiny newspaper column thatshocked me massively.
In the following weeks, though being poorly informed by the press, i cried, was miserable and at a certain moment I even kneeled down at my bed to pray for the first time in my life, for your health, although I don't believe in God, but it just might help if I was wrong.
Every small message about a chance of recovery and the final one about you being partially paralised came across very strongly. I was gutted, but have loved ypou ever since, eventhough we never met, I know.

Little did I know that you went on with your life in such a remarkable way and did so many great things and certainly not only behind the wheel of a fast car (!)
Your are a great example for me in never giving up and living a full life.
Thank you for that Clay, thank you very dearly.
I think the picture with you in a cart with Mario Andretti being a silly passenger and both of you spearing of just for the hell of it is a VERY strong image.

And in the interview that I saw recently on youtube I finally got a chance to hear from you personally how it all came about in your racing days. i mean the things about enjoying race by race and not worrying about championships and such. Hearing you talk about mistakes you made, for instance at Monaco 1974, mistakes you don't even understand even today, made me find peace. I don't have to fight criticism about your not becoming WC or errors in your career anymore. You looked happy with your life and that is all I needed to see.

And now it's over, it's just over.
I think I don't realise what has happened but in writing this I feel with every sentence what I jerk I am that I never wrote you this lettef and it makes me very sad.

I think and dearly hope that in time I will find back the inspiration that you give me and 'do the right thing', not to late but when it matters, in life and anywhere else.

Goodbye Clay, I will NEVER forget you, EVER!

Caspar.

Dear F1db people (and now SJ friends as well),
Thank you for letting me write this here and I hope you all will be inspired by the sport and even more by the people in it to 'do the right thing' when you feel it coming up.
I wish you all a happy life and I already feels that it helps me to write here.

Now I have to stop and go realise that it has actually happened, Clay Regazzoni is no more and an era has ended for me.

Caspar.

I will ride my 911 number 22 soon and with more pride than I would ever have imagined.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2006, 01:15:28 am by SJ_CasparGTL »

[SJ]Stein

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« Last Edit: December 16, 2006, 03:05:40 am by SJ_Stein »

[SJ]Pierre61

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Re: I've lost my hero, long live Clay!
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2006, 02:50:16 am »
I Won't denegrate your post with clumsy words Caspar.
enough

[SJ]Tornado

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Re: I've lost my hero, long live Clay!
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2006, 05:58:26 am »
Am a racing fan , but from america , was hard to find F1 here, an my hero is still alive A.J. Foyt, awsome read and , thanks tons for sharing , loved the story m8, my condolences to you on your fallen hero, may he race the golden streets of heaven forever m8 !!

 :toker:

[SJ]kramer5

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Re: I've lost my hero, long live Clay!
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2006, 06:33:22 am »
I'm American too and it wasn't hard for me to find formula 1 at all. They roared around the streets (the same streets I sometimes rode my bike on on the way to the beach)of my home town, Long Beach, California and brought life back to a dead downtown area.  I could hear them practicing during the week before the race and it was totally distracting. Attending the early races with my dad and sneaking into some of the best seating to be had on a circuit are some of my best memories of childhood.It's what gave me my love of open wheel racing. And the guys that drove during my childhood, Mario, Clay, Emmo, Jackie and the rest are who I grew up admiring in racing.

I always choose his Williams in the rFactor F1 79 mod, both for the awsome car and the great pic of him and his 70's moustache.

A great driver who will be missed.

[SJ]Tornado

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Re: I've lost my hero, long live Clay!
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2006, 06:44:49 am »
Grew up in texas, only F1 i ever saw was ABCs wide world of sports.


 :toker:

[SJ]CasparGTL

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Re: I've lost my hero, long live Clay!
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2006, 10:33:40 am »
Thanks guys!

It makes such a difference to hear from you!
I have to focus on a big concert tonight where I have to sing manynew solo's but tomorrow I have more time to take it easy and I hope to do well at Zolder in the morning at OSJ.
Oh blast, being there is all that matters.

Caspar.

I better get rFactor soon eh?

[SJ]Jarkko Rantajoki

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Re: I've lost my hero, long live Clay!
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2006, 11:36:50 am »
Thanks guys!

It makes such a difference to hear from you!
I have to focus on a big concert tonight where I have to sing manynew solo's but tomorrow I have more time to take it easy and I hope to do well at Zolder in the morning at OSJ.
Oh blast, being there is all that matters.

Caspar.

I better get rFactor soon eh?


Yes, and GTR2  :biggrin:

[SJ]Satain

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Re: I've lost my hero, long live Clay!
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2006, 05:31:48 am »
No PDSM, don't say that, the more people converting from GTL the less im going to have to race with... please don't make me buy it  o:

[SJ]Stein

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Re: I've lost my hero, long live Clay!
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2006, 08:37:03 am »
you know what works better Satain?.. here.. let me have a go:


"the more ppl get GTR2, the more ppl will be disappointed" 



Reversed psychology 1-0-1


Woof ~ Woof


[SJ]Jarkko Rantajoki

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Re: I've lost my hero, long live Clay!
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2006, 08:49:28 am »
you know what works better Satain?.. here.. let me have a go:


"the more ppl get GTR2, the more ppl will be disappointed" 



Reversed psychology 1-0-1


Woof ~ Woof




Its how you adjust your expectations, i enjoy it very much and getting fun for my moneys worth.

[SJ]CasparGTL

  • rFactor Test Driver
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Re: I've lost my hero, long live Clay!
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2006, 08:51:27 am »
I'm just curious about rFactor and I REALLY want to drive the #28 Williams, no surprise there. (same goes for the Ferrari512 in F1Seven mod for F1c)
The sound seems VERY good too, at least what I heard on youtube.

[SJ]Satain

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Re: I've lost my hero, long live Clay!
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2006, 09:14:20 am »
Well you just confused me Steiny, but i DO have GTR2 and i do enjoy it but i DON'T own GTR2 and i don't think there is enough people worth it for me to go out and buy it. But rFactor on the other hand has plenty of people into it, and i can race a Lawnmower. So if anything it will be rFactor i just gotta get a job and then it will be mine!

[SJ]Stein

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Re: I've lost my hero, long live Clay!
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2006, 05:57:14 pm »
Getting a job isn't everything m8, it's the working HOURS that come with it that earns ya that money to go out and buy stuff