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Motorcycle Racing GP Francorchamps 1975

Seeing Johnny Cecotto in action for the very first time...

Sunday July 6th 1975 at Francorchamps, Belgium
It’s a long time ago but it seems to be like it was yesterday to me. Although I was only 12 years old by then it was a day in my life that would change it for lifetime. Since about a month Johnny Cecotto had come to my attention and today we were going to visit the Grand Prix motorcycle racing of Belgium at the circuit of Spa Francorchamps. I have to say I don't really recall everything of this day because it's such a long time ago but some things stayed on my mind though. It was going to be the very first time I was going to visit a motorcycle race in my life. I was only twelve years old but I definitely knew I was going to see Johnny Cecotto racing today. I went to Spa Francorchamps with my brother and my dad and our friends Theo and Ton Konings. I remember it was a long way drive and it was very crowded as we got in the neighbourhood of Spa. On the circuit there was a massive crowd and I didn't see that much because I was such a small boy at that time. I only could hear the motorcycles of the 50cc and 125cc passing by at the straight. They sounded like they were sewing machines. As the 250cc started at 14.15 hours people got fascinated as there was a big battle going on between Rougerie, Villa and Johnny Cecotto. Luckily some people who had build a kind of a standing got me up there and I could see a little more. Lap after lap these 3 passed by and it was an enormous speed they had on the uphill corner of L'eau Rouge. It was fascinating to see and Cecotto in his colourful outfit and machine impressed me even more every time he came by. As the race went on people got more amazed about this tremendous battle and in the last lap everyone got standing up and I couldn't see much anymore. The man behind the speaker got crazier as they got closer to the finish. As the crowd began to yell when they passed the line I knew that Johnny Cecotto had won the race and the speaker confirmed my thoughts. He had overtaken Villa and Rougerie in the very last corner at La Source. It looked like almost everyone who was present there was a fan of Cecotto and so I couldn't see a thing of the victory ceremony. It just was too crowded and everyone tried to see a glimpse of Johnny Cecotto. But I didn't care that much because Cecotto had won and that made my day. For sure Johnny Cecotto was going to be my idol now!! We didn't want to get in trouble with getting home so decided to go away as the 500cc was still going on. I didn't care much as for Cecotto had done his race for the day and wasn't going to be in action anymore. Though I still do remember clearly this heavy noise of the 500cc MV Agusta's of Phil Read and Gianfranco Bonera. The Yamaha's and Suzuki's sounded a lot sharper and as far as I could see they looked much nicer than the MV Agusta, well at least in my opinion back then. But more important to me was that when we walked back to the parking lot through the crowd I found a program magazine of the Belgian Grand Prix of today. As I took it with me and looked at it there was a one page poster inside of Johnny Cecotto. What a possession that was to me, it was my first Cecotto poster! But then my mother without knowing threw it away some years later while she was cleaning the house once and so I lost it. At that time I was very sad about it. I did buy myself another copy some 30 years later in 2005. When I look at it and also while writing this it gives me great feelings of a very long time ago. These kind of things are happenings which people don't ever forget again in their lives. And this was such kind of thing for me for sure.....