Autograph of Ayrton Senna (1992)
Autograph of Ayrton Senna (1992)
The story of an unlikely encounter between Ayrton Senna and two young French men, in a small hotel in Belgium.
Autograph of Ayrton Senna for a young Frenchman, the driver used the fan ticket to the Spa-Francorchamps Formula 1 race. In French. 9.5cm x 9cm. Belgium, August 1992. Perfect condition. Single piece. Comes with a 5-page fan letter in French, translated here:
Allow me to introduce myself: Stéphane B., born in October 1967, from Coulommiers. I'm a cook at a college in Alencon, married for 15 years and the father of two children, a 16-year-old daughter and a son soon to be 12.
At the beginning of 1992, I met my cousin Eric, nicknamed Looping (see the American series The All Risk Agency to understand) a somewhat crazy character and also passionate about motor sports (F1 of course). He also had a beautiful Suzuki 1100 GSxr motorcycle with white and orange red paint in Marlboro colors.
That day, I told him about my desire to share our weekend at Spa with him, the circuit where he occasionally traveled to watch the F1 GP that takes place every year at the end of the year. I would like to point out that I was also the proud owner of a Yamaha 1200 XJB, a version that gave me goosebumps and adrenaline when I jumped on it to travel miles for fun. Ah, the youth!
As the GP approached, Looping called me to see if my wish was still relevant and I answered in the affirmative. Good moment.
With no GPS at the time, I let my cousin take care of the wheel in my 1989 Ford Fiesta 1.4 CLP Model with a double barrel carburetor, a powerful carburetor pump.
I don't remember the route well anymore, we just went through Ermenonville la mer de sable.
We arrived at the Franco-Belgian border and decided to buy our tickets there. A ticket office was set up as soon as we moved to Belgium. It spared us the box office race on the circuit.
Hard hit, the ticket price: 600 francs and that's just for the day of the GP. Eric said the price had gone up a lot compared to the previous time he went. It was with our precious ticket that we got close to the circuit, not knowing what we were going to find. We were spinning in the sector and to our “great despair”, we found spectators who were selling tickets for 600 francs but for the 2 days of the race… The reason for this “promotion” was that they had bought these tickets a month before and they were waiting to go to the bed rest.
After visiting the surroundings of the circuit, we reflected on the fact that perhaps we could find a hotel for the night. We had taken our duvets to sleep in the car on March 1st, but prices can be low in Belgian villages.
And we're off on an early afternoon adventure, skipping several meals. But obviously, at such an event, rooms are booked in advance.
We enter a new village, Malmedy...
I don't remember the hotel-restaurant well, and we were already starting to leave when, suddenly, the boss, I believe, offered us for a small sum (at least an adequate price) to stay for the night in a room reserved for apprentices. Okay, it works, it's that or a party night!!
An employee comes to pick us up, takes us to our room and in the conversation he realizes that, the night before, Ayrton Senna had come to dinner at their house, at their restaurant.
This news didn't upset me, unlike my cousin who immediately asked him, not quite believing it, to let us know if he happened to return.
With our weekend budget having taken a nosedive between the price of fuel, admission and room, we decided to dine out in town. After a pizza and a beer we headed back to the hotel, the next day would be busy and we had to rest.
Suddenly someone knocks on the door. Hey, were we making too much noise? Well no! It's just the official this afternoon who came to tell us that Senna was back in the restaurant.
Looping, wearing a hoodie in the colors of his motorcycle. We both came down 'armed' with our GP tickets, determined to get him an autograph.
There were Ayrton Senna, a woman (very pretty) and a person accompanying them.
The end of dinner was approaching. Time to ask an employee for a pen and highlighter, essential material for the precious autograph. In Eric's eyes, the champion arrives and it is without any shame that we ask him to sign our respective tickets and, for Looping, a large autograph in indelible marker on a sweatshirt that he promised never to wash again. A holy relic!!
I said in English (certainly emotion) a "Good Luck" in the direction of Ayrton Senna, something that according to my cousin still resonates, don't say (superstition story?).
He leaves us followed by this woman and of course the third person.
Watching them leave through the window, we saw him leave in great company aboard a gray Honda NX.
Of course my cousin was over the moon. We returned to our room, managed to fall asleep despite some agitation and after a good night's sleep, we ate in the dining room, with breakfast included in our room rate.
Departure early (and in a good mood) for the Spa and its legendary circuit of this lot that promised to be unique. Several races before the race. I admit that, once the GP starts, it is very impressive! The speed of the cars, the roar of the mechanics, that feeling of power that emerges, that's it! GP result: first win for a certain Michael Schumacher and as for our champion, he picked up 2 points in the process.
End of the crazy weekend and return to Alençon via Coulommiers to leave my cousin. And on the road back, Balaban, I abused my exhaust. For the first time, several hundred kilometers controlling the throttle just to spare our ears.
Except in tunnels, I accelerate like a racer, of course...
Back at work on Monday morning, teary-eyed, not tired, but too proud and impatient to tell about my stay in Belgium and this encounter with Ayrton Senna.
My colleagues are not jealous, but envious. At that time, Senna was not a pilot, but THE pilot that everyone knew.
Now, when I tell this story, few (especially young people) know about it. It is obvious that this stay in Belgium will remain in my memory as long as my neurons allow it.
On May 1, 1994, an F1 page was turned. Ayrton Senna was brutally killed. With a certain emotion, I remember this man who seemed accessible, simple, even modest. I think his attitude managed to elevate him to the height of a god in Brazil, his homeland.
The ticket, this ticket, has been kept in an album for 28 years, among other tickets for amusement parks and also car and motorcycle competitions.
I don't know why I'm selling this autograph, money is not my main motivation, but I think it would make a person very happy giving it to a true lover, who will know how to highlight and honor this great driver.
Everything I write is true. It was the story of an unlikely encounter with Ayrton Senna.
Ayrton Senna (1960 - 1994) was Formula 1 world champion three times, became a national hero and gave a country the possibility to dream. It is impossible to talk about the great characters of Brazilian culture without mentioning the name of Ayrton Senna. The man from São Paulo who started his career at a young age, in kart racing, won the world with his maneuvers, but mainly with his values: resilience, dedication and a taste for victory.
Authentic Ayrton Senna autographs, in perfect condition and well documented, are very rare. Only one or two appear on the market each year. An extensive letter, with many interesting details about Senna and this unlikely meeting, comes with this exceptional piece.