Official Johnny Cecotto Fansite Reports

Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing on July 6th in Zolder, Belgium 1980 Last time seeing Johnny Cecotto in a motorcycle GP Today   another   visit   to   the   motorcycle   races   was   planned.   So far    my    number    of    visits    to    motorcycle    races    with    Johnny Cecotto   participating   in   it   had   been   very   little.   In   fact   I   only saw   Cecotto   2   times   before   and   that   was   back   in   1975   in Francorchamps,   Belgium   where   he   won   the   250cc   and   at   the 500cc    international    motorcycle    races    at    Raalte,    Holland    in 1978   where   I   even   got   the   chance   to   stand   next   to   him.   I   still was   at   an   age   you   are   dependent   on   other   people   and   their vehicles.   When   an   uncle   of   my   friend   Ardie   offered   me   to   go with   them   to   the   motorcycle   racing   Grand   Prix   of   Belgium   at the   circuit   of   Zolder   I   kindly   accepted.   I   got   permission   from my   parents   to   take   the   same   camera   with   me   which   we   used at   Raalte   in   1978.   At   the   circuit   you   had   to   pay   to   get   in   but   also   had   to   give   a supplement   amount   for   the   standings.   In   the   250cc   another   Venezuelan   Carlos Lavado    had    been    in 3rd    place    the    whole race   but   retired   in   the last   lap.   I   felt   sorry   for him       as       being       a compatriot   to   Johnny Cecotto.   Between   the races    me    and    Ardie went       towards       the paddock   but   couldn't get   in   because   we   hadn't enough   money   to   pay   for the    additional    ticket.    No chance     to     meet     Johnny Cecotto    today.    I    did    buy myself     a     yellow     cap     of "Yamaha   World   Champion 1975       Johnny       Cecotto" which    I    still    keep    in    my collection.   I   remember   when   we   were   sitting   at   the   standings   I   got   more   nervous   as time   got   closer   to   the   start   of   the   500cc   race.   Cecotto   had   been   2nd   fastest   in   practice   on   his   production   Yamaha   and   that   was   well   done   in   this factory   machine   field.   As   the   race   started   at   15.30   hours   Johnny   was   lying   6th   for   a   few   laps   but   then   lost   places   again   and   again.   I   tried   to   make some   pictures   but   while   it   was   a   simple   camera   he   just   passed   too   fast   to   get   some   decent   ones.   Cecotto   didn't   pass   any   more   after   lap   16   and   had retired.   He   had,   as   I   found   out   later,   handling   problems   with   his   machine.   Randy   Mamola   won   the   race   with   Marco   Lucchinelli   2nd   and   Kenny Roberts,   of   which   my   friend   Ardie   was   a   fan,   came   in   3rd   place.   When   the sidecars   had   begun   their   race   we   went   to   our   cars.   But   it   seemed   everyone   had the   same   thought   and   it   was   very   crowded   and   we   did   stand   in   line   for   a   few hours   before   we   got   out   on   the   highway   again.   I   don't   recall   any   more   how   late we   got   back   home   but   it   had   been   a   very   long   day   for   us.   As   great   as   my   visits were   to   Francorchamps   and   Raalte,   this   one   had   been   very   disappointing.   At least   that's   how   it   felt   to   me.   Afterwards   even   the   pictures   didn't   work   out   to complete   this   small   disaster.   My   mother   threw   away   the   programme   magazine and   tickets   some   time   later   to   complete   it   all.   At   this   moment   I   even   didn't   know this   would   have   been   the   very   last   time   I   had   seen   Johnny   Cecotto   racing   a motorcycle   as   for   he   was   going   to   quit   after   1980   and   stepped   into   car   racing.   It was   a   surprise   to   me   when   my   friend   Ardie,   during   a   removal   in   2005,   gave   me his   old   pieces   of   programme   magazine   and   tickets   of   this   Belgium   Grand   Prix motorcycle   racing   of   1980.   He   still   had   it   somewhere   in   his   attic.   This   long   time disappointing   day   in   some   kind   of   way   did   get   a   satisfying   ending.   Looking   at   the subject   title   and   the   words   earlier   in   this   report   I   always   really   thought   this   was the   very   last   time   that   I   would   see   Johnny   Cecotto   on   a   motorcycle   racing   bike.   It was.   Well,   at   least   in   motorcycle   racing   Grand   Prix.   More   than   30   years   (!!!)   later   I would   see   Johnny   again   on   a   Yamaha   bike   during   the   200   Miglia   Imola   Revival   in 2010,   a   Classic   event.   For   sure   I   had   to   be   there   and   you   can   see   a   report   of   that on   this   site.   But   of   course   I   never   could   have   imagined   that   at   this   moment   back in   1980   at   the   Zolder   circuit   in   Belgium.   The   picture   of   Johnny   and   Martina   at   the top   of   this   page   is   from   Hero   Drent   who   gave   me   a   lot   of   pictures   out   of   his archive from Johnny Cecotto.
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