One of the greatest racers ever lies desperately ill right now and a large proportion of fans are desperate for him to get better. I for one am. I have followed his career since he was a junior Mercedes Group C driver at the Silverstone 6 hours.
Sometimes in the past I have wondered why people get so upset over the loss of a famous person. I can think of a few like Princess Diana , George Best, even Ayrton Senna. Lets face it it is not like you know them. They are just other people who are in the spot light. I have never considered anyone to be more important than anyone else. But when I heard about Schuey I suddenly got it!
It isn't like I know him but he affected my life. I had forgotten but he was essentially part of my life. My wife and I, when we first met, followed the Group C races and obviously Le Mans 24 Hours . We were fascinated by the Mercedes Junior team of Wendlinger, Frentzen and Schumacher. We followed their paths and when Schumacher got his drive with Benetton we decided it would be a good incentive to travel across Europe to watch him race.
We had very little money a young daughter and a two year old son! We first went to the Nurburgring in an old van. It was an amazing experience mixing with the German fans who really did come out in their thousands.
Our kids embraced the whole affair by making flags and cheering on Michael. This made them very popular, and in essence secured our spot to watch the race, from a vantage point on some private land. We did not have enough money for tickets!
With just two weeks between races we set off from the Ring across the Alps to Italy and Imola. Our children saw the mountains for the first time, the beautiful Italian lakes and camped up early in the week at the stunning old town of Imola. We met fans from all country's and even had a Rest of the World v Germany football match on the camp-site. We incredibly managed a day trip to the seaside on the Adriatic. We watched free from Tossa corner after sneaking in and joined the track invasion after the race.
We just about made it back with a plume of smoke trailing behind our struggling old van!
From this first great trip it gave us the confidence to follow on, with more and more adventures. We saw the Hungary GP, Belgian, German, Italian, British and some of them many times. We ended up addicted to travelling and have now spend 20 years going away roughly once a month. My son is 24 now and has a motoring memorabilia shop and loves it! My daughter is 30 and carried on travelling seeing a very large percentage of the world and currently is a producer for formula one and incredibly knows Michael Schumacher.
Without that first real adventure to watch Michael our lives would have been so very different. So although we do not know you Michael thank you for being part of our lives. I think I speak for all my family when I say " Get well soon Michael"