For the Love of the Sport | RIP Tommy Aquino
As most of us know this past weekend on Sunday February 2nd, the sport of motorcycle racing suffered a sudden and tragic loss. Tommy Aquino, who is a former factory Yamaha road racer and was most recently competing in the British Superstock Series.
I will start off by noting that I unfortunately never had the pleasure to meet Tommy. Everything I’ve heard about Tommy, he personified class and professionalism. I have been a fan of road racing for a long time and I enjoyed watching him race over the years. The current status of AMA Road Racing unfortunately has declined over the years with the loss of major sponsors and many races being dropped off the schedule. As a result the racers as well as everyone else that is involved in the sport have become closer over the years.
Most professional road racers train during the off-season by riding motocross. Piru is a local motocross track that is a half hour outside of Los Angeles. Most tracks are over 2 hours away, so given where the track is located its a very convenient track to go get a good work out on the bike. I rode this track the last 2 weekends previous to this tragic accident. At this time it hasn’t been clear as to the details of how this accident happened, other than the fact a rider crossed the track into another oncoming rider. I had a similar situation happen to me at this track about 1 year ago, I came over a jump a rider crossed the track just as I was landing. Fortunately I was in a much slower section of the track during this crash, nothing serious happened to me. Being that Piru is located close to the city, many riders that are at an entry level frequent this track. Regardless of experience, situations can be avoided like this by just looking out for one another on the track. Crashes happen, that is just part of motorsport, but what can be avoided is negligence and riding over your ability.
Aquino was 21 years old and certainly had much further to go in his career. He was out there training because that is what he does, his job is to race a motorcycle. Not everyone will understand this and let me be clear this is something I’m working on as well, but I read a quote recently that I would like to share, “Once you understand life is finite, there will be an end, you will not want to waste another moment of it.”