A cold and blustery September day in Cumbria may be instantly forgettable in normal circumstances, but it was in Penrith - or more specifically in a disused section of airfield in Penrith, and under a sheet of hazy rain - that I met Marco Simoncelli.
My brother, having worked in MotoGP for the past two seasons, had given me a few pointers if I needed to break the ice, but I never had the cause to use them. Simoncelli came across exactly as he had on television - warm, entertaining, charismatic and open, happy to talk and to answer questions.
A disclaimer: I had been a Simoncelli fan, but I won't exaggerate and say he was one of my heroes - at least not before I met him. Still, he had been making waves in MotoGP and was often the centre of attention, whether due to his on-track performances - carrying the fight to the established big guns - or his off-track exuberance, and I had been excited to meet him.
Get back on track. Join today for unlimited access to all Autosport news and features.
Are you an Autosport magazine subscriber? Activate your online account
Your Autosport Plus membership includes:
- Unlimited access to Autosport's news - no monthly cap.
- Read the best motorsport features, analysis and opinion.
- Explore Forix, our comprehensive motorsport stats database.
- Choose from monthly, yearly and two-yearly packages.