I grew up with racing, and it has always played an important role in my life. My father built and raced his own cars, my brother is building one now, I raced National Championships Karting and covered Formula 1 for one of Holland’s biggest newspapers, etc, etc. So racing matters to me, and there’s no way that I can ignore that today it’s exactly 20 years ago that Ayrton Senna died.
The crash heard around the world
I know exactly where I was when I heard. It was May 1, 1994, the aftermath of Queen’s Day, Amsterdam’s party of the year. I had seen the race, and the accident, but like many, I believed that Senna would walk away from it. I was eating in an Amsterdam Grand Cafe with some 10 friends who had all partied like rock stars the day before. Up until the phone call, we were all in a great mood…
Senna is a Legend of Racing. If you ask me to name the all-time Top 5 of racing, I’d have to team him up with Michael Schumacher (for article click here), Juan Manuel Fangio, Dale Earnhart and Jim Clark. But if you ask me who’s nr. 1 out of this elite group, I really don’t have any doubt; it’s Senna with his incredible car control. Yes, I know that Schumacher has won the most championships and Grand Prix, but even Schumi considered him the best driver ever.
The impact of Senna’s death was felt around the world. His homeland of Brazil was in absolute shock, and called for 3 days of official mourning. In the South American country it left a much deeper impression than for instance JFK’s murder….
The documentary/movie “Senna” can be seen on TV in many countries this week. It’s an awesome full-length film, that is also enjoyed by people who don’t care about racing. It has won prestigious film prizes, like at the BAFTA and Sundance. But I didn’t choose a clip from that film. The video below is another Senna tribute, but it gives a good picture of the tragic super racer.