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Heroes: Ayrton Senna

A blog about Ayrton Senna? Here? Yep, right here. There’s more than one good reason to remember this talented racer, but above all to remember Senna as an extraordinary person.


© Bryn Williams

One of these reasons is that I would have loved to have congratulated him on his 55th birthday March 21. Another is that, in my dreams, I would also have grasped the chance to talk to him about his burning passion for motorbikes – and have offered him a visionary KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R (in yellow and green). I’m pretty sure that the racing legend would not have turned down a test ride on one of these high-precision tools and driving machines “Made in Mattighofen” – despite his “passione” for sports bikes from Bologna, the city to which he was taken by helicopter from the Tamburello corner in Imola, and the city in which he died.

Ayrton Senna’s heart stopped beating May 1, 21 years ago, but the Brazilian still lives on. Every day, you hear the name of “Senna” a thousand times all over the world. Most of the talk is about statistics – his success is incredible – but this is just numbers, and nothing compared with the pervasive emotional impact of Senna’s aura. I never met the three-times Formula 1 champion personally, and yet I still often see him right in front of me – whenever it comes to total dedication.

There always have large numbers of people with exceptional talents who are celebrated, adored, idolized for them. The list becomes shorter when you look for outstanding skill combined with great character. People who succeed in motivating others beyond the zenith of their sporting careers, and instill enthusiasm for all that is good with their intelligence, knowledge, humor, or passion.

Senna-Lotus Monaco

© Bryn Williams

And then there is one very, very short list. It is reserved for those very few people who, on top of their incredible performance – with something that scientists understand as a mixture of endless training and emotional intelligence –, open up new dimensions and transcend passion – a word that sounds banal in this context – with their unshakable belief. A deep and vast belief that unleashes mental powers and surpasses everything else through incredible determination. This is something you can’t express in meters and tenths of a second, but in the true courage you need to face up to life and overcome all your fears. No compromises. Ayrton Senna is on that list.

When he was asked why he didn’t simply stop racing, Senna said, just one day before his death, with an indescribable expression on his face: “I can’t stop, I CAN’T!”

People like Senna never die. They keep on sharing their power every day, giving many other people the emotional turbo charge that they need to do the things they would otherwise never do.

Thank you Ayrton Senna – Happy Birthday!

PS: I’m often asked about the meaning of the words “Can’t stop” written on the back of my leathers. Any questions?

Photos: Bryn Williams | KTM

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