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Seeing Johnny Cecotto and Johnny jr. only on Friday at Hockenheim...

Friday October 21st 2005 at Hockenheim, Germany
This would be the last race of the Formula BMW ADAC serie in this season so we would visit Hockenheim the whole weekend. We had arranged a hotel in Mannheim, a town near to Hockenheimring. We had an appointment to meet our German friend Klaus Zeller again today after some years. I knew him of the V8Star series in 2002 and we kept in contact after that by e-mail. On Friday Carolien and I left at 06.30 hours for a 450 km journey to Hockenheim. We had a line in the first part of Germany but had no further problems. We arrived at 11.15 on the parking lot next to the Mercedes standing of the circuit. Still half an hour later than expected and so Klaus called where I was. We agreed to meet at the entrance of the paddock and we were taken there by an Audi shuttle. Klaus was awaiting us and it was a happy meeting again for all three of us. We went to the Mamerow stand where Johnny's car was standing but no sign of them yet. So we took off to the standing with Klaus who showed us the Hockenheim circuit of which it was our first time visit. The stadium of the Motodrom already impressed me although there were not many spectators on it. We went back to Mamerow before practice of Formula BMW and made some pictures of the car and from me and Klaus before it. At 12.45 hours Johnny and Johnny jr. arrived together on their scooter. At this time Klaus Zeller said good bye to us. It was nice to have met him once again and we hope it wasn't the last time. Johnny jr. stepped right his car while Johnny gave a warm welcome to me and Carolien. Since time was short we had no further conversation at this time. Johnny jr. drove away in his car towards the entrance of the circuit. We walked towards the place where the cars were lined-up awaiting permission to the track. Johnny Cecotto had left also on his scooter to get there. Carolien had to wait outside because she had no card to get in there but they stopped me also. I had to explain them I had permission and showed it to them on the sign with the allowed entrance cards. They were wrong and I was right and so I got in anyway to annoyance of other people who weren't permitted! No big deal to me. I talked a bit with Johnny while we stood at the car. About memories of Hockenheim like the year 1990 when Schumacher pushed Johnny off at the last race for DTM which did cost him the title. I said to Johnny I didn't like Schumacher after that anymore. Cecotto had to laugh about that. I made some pictures of Johnny jr. in his racing car in various positions. Other photographers took pictures of Cecotto with cameras and objectives like canons so big. I joked to Johnny I felt a bit silly with the camera I had with me and it made him laugh again. It started to rain a little and it was announced to be a "wet practice". Johnny Cecotto said to his son it wasn't going to rain very much and it seemed he was right. An Italian journalist came to Johnny and talked a bit with him while the sign was given for the cars to get onto the track. While driving away Johnny jr. looked at my camera for one last shot and was gone. We walked back and Johnny got on his scooter to get to the pit lane while Carolien and I walked to the inner stadium of the Motodrom to sit on the standing to await the cars to come by for free practice. The sun already was beginning to shine again. Practice for Formula BMW started at 13.20 hours and Johnny jr. was the first one to pass by. I took some pictures the next laps he came past and during the whole practice session he went into the pit box three times. The view in the Motodrom was great. Dutchman Nick de Bruijn crashed coming into the Motodrom and of course being Dutch we didn't like that. After all the races we did visit also Nick seems to know us when we walk into him. Towards the end of practice we walked back and I took some more nice pictures of Johnny going through the Motodrom. We waited at the parc fermer for the cars to get in and Johnny jr. was the first to arrive. He parked his car and stepped out of it. He looked around to see if his father was there but when he didn't see him he started walking back to the paddock. I walked with him but Johnny wasn't very happy about his car. He didn't know what position he did get but he was far from satisfied. While walking through the DTM paddock some people jumped on him to get an autograph. It seems people start to know him as well. Johnny Cecotto came by on his scooter and Johnny jumped at the back and they drove away to their motor home. Carolien and I went to the Opel DTM VIP lounge where we kindly were let in for today by the same guy who was at the Nürburgring back then. Thanks again to him and also the lovely lady at the desk of the Opel DTM VIP lounge. We had a drink there and rested for a while. We were kindly threaten by the Opel personnel. That's why we drive Opel these day's. We went to the standing to watch practice of the DTM cars. I made some good pictures of them at the beginning of the main straight. When we went back to Mamerow we saw Johnny and Johnny jr. had a big argument and we thought it was better not to disturb them and went away again. We searched at the other Formula BMW teams and suddenly we saw Franky, Johnny jr.'s mechanic at TLM, working at the Josef Kaufmann team. I called out to him and also he did recognize us and said hello to us. I took pictures of Natacha Gachnang for my daughter Lindsey. We went back at 16.30 hours while the Porsche Carrera's came back from practice and I took some pictures of Roland Asch for my German friend Klaus. Meanwhile at Mamerow there was some talking going on between both Johnny, Johnny jr. and Peter Mamerow. Things looked bad to me. While the mechanics prepared the car for timed practice Johnny jr. sat on his scooter with his neck protector on his shoulder and his helmet in his bag in front of him. He still was in his normal clothing. I stood next to him but neither he or me did say a word. He went away on his scooter. Johnny talked to the team boss and finally he came out of the stand. He came to me and explained what had happened and informed me Johnny jr. wasn't going to race anymore this weekend. The results of free practice were very bad with 3 seconds behind the fastest man and Johnny showed me the time table. The car of Johnny jr. wasn't checked anymore after this and so Johnny jr. thought it was no use to drive again with this car for timed practice. It just wouldn’t make sense while nothing was done to improve the car. Johnny Cecotto himself agreed to this and so it was done. Johnny jr. came back and said to me he wasn't going to race anymore. I said I already heard from his father. Of course it gave us mixed feelings because we were here to see Johnny jr. race but we also could understand their thoughts. They went away on their scooter and had made an appointment to meet at 18.00 hours at the Formula BMW hospitality. We picked up some things from our car and got back to BMW where we were picked up by Johnny jr. to get inside. We gave him a late present from our kids for his birthday, a bottle of candy. I gave some 200 autograph cards to Cecotto which he needed. He signed a poster for my Venezuelan friend Eduardo and some personal autograph requests and we talked a bit about what happened and also the future. I made some introduction movies for my new to build website and that was fun to do. Johnny said we had to come to Italy in November for the Winter Trophy races in Formula Renault 2000 of Johnny jr. and that gave us something to laugh about while I have fear of flying. Who knows this is the opportunity to overcome my fear! Finally we made some pictures of both Johnny's and myself. Then it was time to say good bye and agreed to keep in touch. I was going to consider our visit to Italy in November. At the parking lot we informed our kids by phone and they were surprised as well of course when we said we would come home tomorrow. Carolien and I went to our hotel at Mannheim where we cancelled the 2nd night because we would leave on Saturday. We got us something to eat in Mannheim and went to sleep early after this day full of surprises and unexpected happenings. After a good night rest we got breakfast at 08.45 hours. We still were confused about what happened the day before. We both were disappointed while not seeing Johnny Cecotto jr. race this weekend. We still had some trouble to decide what to do, go back home or to Hockenheim and watch practice and races without Johnny Cecotto. We decided to go to the shops in Mannheim and then see what to do further. When we drove amongst Hockenheim at 11.00 hours it was so crowded we decided to drive home. We arrived at home at 16.00 hours. That's where the story of this weekend ends. After seeing what happened in Saturday's race it gives me doubt about what could have been when Johnny had raced. Well.......who will know. Still I'm standing behind their decision anyway. What could a life time Cecotto fanatic like me do anyway. After this experience it's now time for us to consider what to do with the invitation to Italy.

Formula BMW Hockenheim 2005

Johnny jr. & Johnny Cecotto
Johnny Cecotto jr.
Johnny Cecotto, John & Johnny jr.