Aw, dammit…

Elsewhere on these opening pages of CR you can read Malc’s thoughts about spending time with Gene Romero, who passed away recently.

Malc, quite rightly, views his time with the On Any Sunday star – and wonderfully talented racing icon – as a treat. I too spent time with Romero at the Stafford Show when he and Dave Aldana were the star turns. For me, the experience was illuminating and addictive.

Dave was a gentleman, in every respect. Gene was a force of nature.

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Both brilliant racers in their day, Dave was genial and engaged and Gene was forthright and opinionated.

I thoroughly enjoyed every minute with both of them.

Several times I found myself alone with Gene, the pair of us having a drink and talking about the old days, the new days – what’s planned and how to shake things up a bit.

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With the passing of time, so comes the freedom of expression – and the refusal to don rose-tinted specs if one feels they’re not needed. Gene was very much in this frame of mind and would tell me stories with a diamond-sharp recollection about who was a: ‘a*e’ and who was a good guy.

It was brilliant. There was much fire in the belly of Gene Romero. I felt constantly that he could just rile up and be done with our chats, but it never happened.

The last person I spent time with who was like this was Evel Knievel.

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Sitting in Evel’s living room in Florida, he too was full of growl and didn’t hold back for a second on what he really thought. That man didn’t give a damn about who got in the way as he lived his life. I respected that. Gene Romero was from a similar mould.

There truly was a similarity between the pair and I could identify exactly why GR managed to bag some of EK’s cash in sponsorship back in the day.

Why am I telling you this? Because Gene was one of those cinematic racers who just oozed ‘it’. Y

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ou knew when you were in the same room as the guy without turning round to see him walk through the door. While we can’t run a feature on ‘Burrito’ in this issue – but we will in the next – I wanted to pay my respects here.

Gene Romero really did dig carnations, too.

Enjoy the issue.
Tony

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