This article/post is specially written for Hello Japan! Mini Challenge. This month’s challenge is to write about Japanese sport, it can be about the sport it self, traditional or modern, or about great athletes from the land of the rising sun. I admit that I was the one who suggested this theme. It came to me because MotoGP 2010 has just started.
I want to share my favorite riders to everyone who joins Hello Japan mini challenge and everyone else who stumble upon my blog. There will be 2 posts for this month challenge, 1st is the legendary Kingu Suzuka, Norifumi Abe or usually known as Norick Abe.
Abe-san was born in September 17, 1975. He was the son of Mitsuo Abe who happened to be a rider like himself. He started his racing experience in Minibikes and then moved up to Motocross. At the age of 15, he moved to Road racing and competed in US. In 1994, Abe-san had his 1st experience in the most competitive motorcycle race, MotoGP. He was given a chance to ride as a wildcard (a rider who is only allowed to ride if the Grand Prix is held in his country) on Japanese Grand Prix. His performance stunned a lot of people. He even amazed the 14 years old Valentino Rossi (who turns to be one of the greatest rider ever existed in MotoGP history), Rossi’s racing ability is way above Abe-san but knowing that he used to idolize Abe-san showed that Abe-san was really something. Rossi picked up Abe-san’s name in his early carrier by calling himself as ‘Rossifumi’
In 1995 he took his 1st podium. In 1996 he won his 1st race and 5th overall championship. In 1997 he stood 4 times on podium. In 1999 he was contracted by d’Antin Antenna 3 team. In 2002, with the new regulation of 4 stroke cycle, Abe-san did not do well on the race. In 2003, he left MotoGP. During his career in as MotoGP rider, he won 3 series, Japan Grand Prix in 1996, Brazil Grand Prix in 1999 and Japan Grand Prix in 2000.
Abe-san died on October 7, 2007 because of traffic accident. He was riding his bike and hit by a truck 😦 . It was a very sad moment (although it was not as sad as when my other favorite rider died)
Abe-san is the first reason why I watched MotoGP, I have been watching MotoGP since 1997/1998. I watched how great he was at that year, he was fighting against one of the best rider in 1990s, Mick Doohan, and he stole all my attention from the other riders. Ever since that race, I’ve become a big fan of Norick Abe. I supported him in every race even though he is not the best rider at the moment. Fortunately when he left MotoGP, another great Japanese rider came into the competition.
He might not be the greatest rider and might be forgotten as the years gone by, but he will always be one of my favorite rider and the 1st reason I enjoy MotoGP.
Next>> Daijiro Katoh, his life is full of drama and tears 😦