Official Johnny Cecotto Fansite Reports

International Motorcycle Races on June 11th in Raalte, Holland 1978 Getting really close to Johnny Cecotto We   were   going   to   the   motorcycle   races   again.   I   only   had   been able     to     see     one     race     before     in     which     Johnny     Cecotto participated   and   that   was   back   in   1975   in   Francorchamps, Belgium   where   he   won   the   250cc.   I   always   followed   his   results on     radio,     television,     newspapers     and     magazines.     Today Johnny   would   compete   the   International   motorcycle   races   at the   Luttenbergring   in   Raalte   in   the   500cc.   Together   with   my father,   mother   and   my   brother   and   his   girlfriend   Corine   we went   to   Raalte   by   train   and   bus.   It   was   very   crowded   and   so we   came   too   late   for   heat   1   in   the   500cc.   At   the   circuit   I   tried to   get   a   glimpse   of   the   race   that   already   was   coming   to   an end   but   I   was   still   too   small   to   see   much   of   it.   I   only   heard   the speaker   say   that   Cecotto   had   finished   4th   in   the   first   heat   .   So   when   the   race   was   over   we   walked   towards   the   paddock   when   I   suddenly   saw   Johnny Cecotto   walking   right   in   front   of   me.   I   remember   the   strange   feeling   to   see   him   just   a   few   meters   in   front   of   me,   a   kind   of   pleasant   but   scary   feeling. He   still   had   his   helmet   on   and   walked   together   with   his   girlfriend   Manuela.   The   name CECOTTO   on   the   back   of   his   red-white-blue   leathers   only   gave   me   the   confirmation   it   really was    him.    Instead    of    going    towards    him    I    got    afraid    and    didn't    even    dare    to    get    an autograph.   For   me   he   was   "my   hero”   Johnny   Cecotto   and   I   was   only   an   ordinary   guy   who just   had   become   15   years   old.   My   mother   pushed   me   in   the   back   and   I   ran   a   bit   harder   to overtake   him   and   gave   him   a   small   peace   of   paper   with   a   pen.   While   Johnny   Cecotto   was still   walking   and   talking to   Manuela   he   wrote   his signature    on    the    small paper.   My   mother   made a    picture    of    him    from the    front    and    although his   helmet   still   was   there you     could     clearly     see him        smile.        I        was overwhelmed      by      this event.   We   followed   him in   distance   to   see   where he    was    staying    in    the paddock.   We   watched   how   his   Japanese   mechanics   worked   on   his   red   and   white   Yamaha.   A   while   later   Johnny   came   to   the   Yamaha   tent   and   my father   took   a   picture   of   him.   Johnny   went   to   visit   his   brother   José   who   also   was   racing   here   in   Raalte.   My   mother   told   me   I   had   to   go   to   him   so   she could   make   a   picture   of   me   with   Johnny.   But   I   didn't   dare   to   ask   or   say   anything   to   him   so   to   go   stand   next   to   Cecotto   for   a   picture   was   even   further away   for   me.   Although   he   could   have   been   my   older   brother   (he   was   seven   years older   than   me)   I   only   saw   him   as   my   "great   idol"   in   his   red,   white   and   blue   Yamaha jacket   with   big   sunglasses   on   his   head.   Johnny   was   talking   to   his   brother   and   even without   any   words   from   me he     knew     what     we     were meant    to    ask.    While    I    was getting   closer   to   him   step   by step    he    turned    around    a little   and   smiled.   My   mother quickly     made     the     picture before    I    could    change    my mind.     At     that     moment     I rather   would   have   ran   away but    now    I'm    happy    with    it and   I   can   laugh   about   it   (I   think   Johnny   will   also   laugh   when   he   reads   this).   I   didn't   see   much of   the   2nd   heat   of   the   500cc.   It   just   was   too   crowded.   We   went   home   before   the   race   was over   to   avoid   the   traffic   crowd   and   later   I   heard   that   Johnny   Cecotto   had   finished   in   3rd position.   Also   he   was   3rd   overall.   So   that   was   my   first   "scary"   meeting   ever   with   Johnny Cecotto   which   I   still   remember   very   clearly.   Surely   Johnny   doesn't   know   about   that   any more.   But   that's   how   we   met   for   the   very   first   time.   Would   I   meet   Cecotto   again   in   the future?   Well,   I   just   had   to   because   years   later   I   lost   the   autograph   I   got   from   him   in   Raalte when   my   mother   cleaned   the   house   and   threw   away   a   part   of   my   Cecotto   stuff   I   had collected   so   far   at   that   time.   So   I   just   had   to   get   me   a   new   autograph   from   Johnny   Cecotto somehow   and   somewhere.   In   this   report   are   some   pictures   I   did   get   from   Hero   Drent   (who was a friend of Johnny at that time) and Erich Vermeulen.
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