by Eric Danielsen
I don’t know whether to file this under “It’s a Small Racing World After All” or “Le Mans Magic,” maybe you can help me.
Tuesday, June 19th, Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris France – While waiting to board American Airlines flight 0787 which was delayed 45 minutes, a man approached me inquiring about my Le Mans marshal poste 8b & 9b shirt. I was on the final leg of my fifth journey marshaling the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the greatest road race in the world, and was more than happy to discuss the past weekend’s event.
Mike Taylor and his wife, Tina, were on their honeymoon, traveling to the UK then to Atlanta, GA, where they lived. They spectated the race and he was curious if I was involved. I asked if he was interested in seeing some trackside (oﬀ duty) video I recorded, to which he replied, “Sure!” and sat next to me.
He asked me where I was from, and I responded, “Virginia, VIR is my home track.” He told me he raced at VIR last April, SCCA Spring Sprints, and asked if I might have been on the turn 1 crew that recovered and returned his bumper cover. He wanted to say, “thank you.” I told him, “No, I hadn’t, I was running around taking pictures during that event.” Quickly I looked at the pictures on my phone since I had taken several of drivers and their cars.
Mike drives a Honda Civic in the STL class. It just so happened that I was on the false grid while that group was staging and had taken a few pics of some of the drivers getting ready to go on track.
Wow, there were two pictures of a racer putting in his earbuds, and he looked like the guy sitting next to me! I asked, “Is this you?” showing him the pictures.
It was! How incredible was that?
I asked if he would be my friend. He identified his Facebook profile on my phone and happily accepted my friend request. Then my boarding group was called, and with friendly waves, I departed.But that is not the end of the story.
Once safely home, I shared the tale and Mike’s picture with Heather Clark, Flag Chief of the VIR Spring Sprints. She quickly texted me a picture of herself and the turn 1 crew with a recovered bumper cover.
There she is with a bumper cover on her ATV flanked by John Davison, Bill Forman, Sam Via and, would you have guessed it, my own son Cj!
Yep, that’s Mike Taylor’s #39 white, red, and black cover. I’m glad they retrieved it intact and returned it to be raced again.
The next day Facebook notifies me of my 1000th friend, Mike Taylor.
So now I ask you, should this be filed under “It’s a Small Racing World After All” or “Le Mans Magic”?