Tuesday, May 19, 2009

This morning: A press motordriver killed on his way to the start of the Giro stage

From VeloNews Online today:

A motorcyclist escorting media at the Tour of Italy died after being involved in a traffic accident Tuesday morning, race organizers announced.

Fabio Saccani, 69, was driving to the start of the race's 10th stage at Cuneo in the Italian Alps when the accident occurred near the town of Bra in the north-west of Italy.

Organizers held a minute's silence for the veteran motorcyclist, who was participating in his 33rd Giro d'Italia, at the awards ceremony following stage 10.

Because I work at bicycle races on the motorcycle, the loss of one of the guys gives me pause. But the loss of a guy who's worked 33 Giro d'Italias...unthinkable. However well we ride our bikes and motorbikes, we do not ride better than Fabio Saccani. 

I have always heard that the Euro motordrivers are ex-motocrossers or road racers - they are not recruited from rank and file motorcyclists. And conditions at the Giro can vary widely: visibility, traction, road surface and gradient. Saccani did 33 three-week Giros...and who knows how many other tours and single-day events, in Italy and across Europe.

I rode with Jim Ochowicz in the 7-Eleven car at the Giro years ago. I was stunned by the speeds on the descents. As we screeched around the corners, I could read the kilometer speedo of the Italian cop on the MotoGuzzi descending next to us - inches away. They're heroes, all those guys... 

Godspeed, Fabio Saccani!

1 comment:

Khal said...

I'll join you, Maynard, in wishing off our motorcycle colleague.

I rode moto escort for several Dick Evans road races in Honolulu during the '90s and on one memorable occurrence, drafted an HPD officer on his big bike as he and I rode the double yellow line between lines of traffic on Kalanianaole Hwy at 70-80 mph through Windward Oahu because I had to get up from the stragglers to the lead bunch. It was crazy and I didn't really have a thought for my safety in the adrenaline of the moment. Neither, apparently, did the cop. Those were great guys.

I never raced motorcycles as you did, but rode them lots in NYS. Was always willing to do something nuts to support the bunch on Oahu.

God be with Fabio Saccani.