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Remembering Senna - 1.5.94 - 1.5.08

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#1 glorius&victorius

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 06:36

14 years now since that tragic race day (and saturday with Roland Ratzenberger). I opened this one for all the fans who wish to write something on this great driver, champion and person.

Thank you Ayrton! Still in my best memories!


#2 Galko877

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 06:53

I'm not sure if he was the best ever, but he was the most influental F1 driver ever. That has to do not just with his brilliant talent but also his suggestive personality.


#3 speedmaster

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 07:11

I was just coming to post about it... 14 years... I'm still a widow... For me the best ever, simply the best

Missing those Sunday mornings in Rio, breakfast, Senna's victory, head to the beach, drinking beer with friends and talking about his driving performance... happy days


#4 Gareth

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 07:20

I "grew up" on F1 watching Senna with my Dad. A fantastic experience that's had me hooked ever since. No matter how bad a car he was driving in any year, you tuned in to each race believing he had a shot. You also tuned in to each race desperate to see that first camera shot that showed the weather outside - desperately hoping to see some rain. A simply incredible driver.

#5 dank

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 08:38

Has it really been 14 years?!! Crumbs...

RIP both Roland and Ayrton. Gone but not forgotten.

#6 Hacklerf

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 08:41

There are no words to describe Ayrton, he was 1 of a kind and he will always be missed

That dark day in F1 we lost 2 great drivers, which we can only hope never happens again

#7 MichaelJP

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 08:56

Yes, what a sad day that was, and he was so unlucky even by the standards of the cars then.

And one of the biggest disappointments for the sport - never seeing how Senna would have met the growing challenge of Schumacher...

#8 Dudley

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 09:29

Ah,the nostalgia forum's annual outing to RC, I do so enjoy it.

#9 Nadsat

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 11:52

It was a terrible weekend: Friday, horrible crash of Barrichelo... Saturday, the death of Roland Ratzenberger... Sunday, the crazy start of the race and later the crash of Ayrton Senna... "Racing is in my blood"...

#10 Owen

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 12:11

To me Ayrton was simply the greatest. Gone, but alive in our memories.
Thanks glorius&victorius for this thread :up:

#11 Crazy Canuck

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 12:42

An unforgetable man.

An unforgetable day.


#12 UPRC

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 13:00

A shame I started following F1 too late (1997), I really wish I could have seen the man race.

RIP Ayrton Senna.

#13 fnz

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 13:24

I will not forget the most charismatic (for me the best) F1 racer!
Maybe i should polish my Senna-S sticker on my car today

#14 aditya-now

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 14:02

Originally posted by Dudley
Ah,the nostalgia forum's annual outing to RC, I do so enjoy it.

You are right, Dudley. It should be in the Nostalgia Forum but fact is that Ayrton is still so present to all of us that it feels like yesterday.
In a way I cannot fathom that it is already 14 years today, as Senna is somehow with us everyday.

In the races you were always waiting to see the car with the yellow helmet appear.

Magic Senna, as some called him - one cannot explain the magic and enthusiasm and passion he excuded, but nonetheless F1 was for years a much emptier place without him.

In Austria he was once interviewed by Heinz Prüller. Not only did he talk for ten pages in Prüller´s yearbook about God, but Prüller even (luckily) printed it, and, boy, was it amazing stuff he said.

Next to this comes for me Senna´s visit to Loretto and the lecture he gave to the kids there-the kids were touched by something great that day.

Thanks for all the brillant memories, Ayrton!

#15 brakedistance

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 14:44

Thanks for this thread :up:

You can't help but feel that Ayrton would be very encouraged and enthusiastic about the level of talent on the grid today. Bet he could still whip them though!

#16 Andrew Ford &F1

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 14:50

Recently, I watched a program "Racing is in my blood". Hard to believe he's no longer with us :(

RIP, Ayrton, we miss you...

P.S. I wonder how soon will his nephew make it to F1? And what impact on the sport will he produce?

#17 Hugenholtz

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 14:57

Hard to believe that it was 14 years ago. Time sure flies.

One of the greatest drivers ever, and arguably the most enigmatic. A quiet, kind man out of the car, yet capable of some on-track behaviour that bordered on lunacy. However, I believe that the good he had to offer for the sport far outweighs the bad.

I miss him terribly.

And let's not forget about Ratzenberger, a nice, good-humoured bloke whose time in F1 was much too brief.

#18 pingu666

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 15:16

RIP To them both


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Posted 01 May 2008 - 15:58

Godspeed Ayrton. :cry:

I still remember the day when I visited his tomb in Sao Paulo, very strange feeling. :(

Originally posted by speedmaster
I'm still a widow...

WTF? :confused:


#20 Slyder

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 16:29

RIP :cry:

#21 aportinga

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 16:32

With his larger then life being, the retirement of Mansell and Prost... Senna's death for some was as well the death of F1 altogether.

IMO - it's never been the same.

#22 saudoso

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 17:07

Originally posted by Manchild at f1technical

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering (Ayrton's first race engineer with Toleman in 1984) :

"Dallas was what I would call an ‘old-fashioned’ North American street circuit, delineated with concrete blocks. It was a very tricky circuit, and bumpy enough to make even Monaco look smooth: the drivers literally had to fight their cars all the way round as they skipped and jumped from bump to bump. I remember during the race, Ayrton hit the wall, and then later retired because of the damage. When he eventually made it back to the pits, he didn’t seem to understand how he could have hit the wall. It seemed to come as a complete shock to him that he had hit the wall, and his immediate reaction was “I know I didn’t make a mistake – the wall must have moved.” Remember, we were talking about a twenty tonne concrete block here, but he was so insistent that he persuaded me to walk round the circuit and take a look. When I did so, the wall had indeed moved – somebody had clearly clipped the previous block and in doing so, displaced the next one by only about 4cm. Instead of the transition from block to block being smooth, a 4cm difference had caught the rear wheel, broken it and punctured the tyre. That was when it really came home to me, the precision to which he was driving, and made me think he was a bit special… And remember this was a guy in his first season of F1, straight out of F3…"

#23 glorius&victorius

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 17:20

Originally posted by saudoso

:up: what a beautiful read, I never heard / read this one before. But its so Ayrton, when he was convinced he really stood by it.

#24 glorius&victorius

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 17:23

Originally posted by Dudley
Ah,the nostalgia forum's annual outing to RC, I do so enjoy it.

If the Mods can only leave it here today and move it tomorrow to the nostalgia forum... I'll be thankful to them :up: :)

#25 David M. Kane

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 17:44


Great story!

#26 Coral

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 17:46

I really miss Ayrton...I can hardly believe it is now 14 years since we lost him. For me, F1 has never been the same since. R.I.P. Ayrton and Roland. :cry:

#27 Barri

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 18:09

The legend lives on...

Posted Image

Post your favorite Senna's picture, or what you think was his greatest moment in F1.

#28 Atreiu

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 18:14

Seems like yesterday.
The moment his head fell to the side while he was in the cockpit, I knew he wouldn't make it.

#29 giacomo

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 18:22

Estoril 1985, in the fantastic John Player Lotus. His most impressive moment.

Posted Image

#30 Jodum5

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 18:29

THAT Helmet and THAT Livery...so iconic.

#31 mel

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 18:32

Are you going to shout at me again if I move this to Nostalgia?

#32 fines

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 18:33

Originally posted by mel
Are you going to shout at me again if I move this to Nostalgia?

YES!!! :D


#33 bigears

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 18:44

I am sorry, but was Senna the only driver that was mortally wounded during the same weekend at Imola...?

RIP Ayrton and Roland.

#34 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 19:13

Originally posted by mel
Are you going to shout at me again if I move this to Nostalgia?

Too late now, considering that it is already here....

Besides, 'shouting' at anyone at Atlas/Autosport about such issues has been shown to be a total, complete waste of time and effort.

I can only assume that soon "nostalgia" will be defined as being either five years or the "Schumacher Years."

As for Senna da Silva being "the greatest," that is an opinion with which some may differ.

#35 philhitchings

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 19:21

I never got a decent pic of Senna, or Nige, or Prost tbh.So I have no pics.

Memories? too many to mention. Imola and the aftermath of his crash is still somehow a little too close for comfort.

RIP Ayrton

#36 DaleCooper

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 19:34

That silly NACIONAL hat ruins the picture.

RIP Ayrton.


#37 Risil

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 19:40

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps

I can only assume that soon "nostalgia" will be defined as being either five years or the "Schumacher Years."

One gets the feeling that as the Schumacher-deadline gets closer, the date of RC-expiration will be progressively put into the future akin to Copyright Law protecting the interests of the Disney corporation. Actually, driver's-retirement-plus-fifteen-years sounds pretty good to me...

#38 mel

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 20:16

Originally posted by mel
Are you going to shout at me again if I move this to Nostalgia?

apparently they didn't want it.;)

#39 Risil

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 20:22

Originally posted by mel

apparently they didn't want it.;)

:lol: :clap:


#40 Blot

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 20:45

A very sad weekend indeed. The positive thing is that it's the last black weekend in F1. I thought it was a very nice gesture by Max when he attended Roland's funeral since so many important and senior people never cared.

From an interview some four years ago.

Max Mosley: "I went to his funeral because everyone went to Senna's. I thought it was important that somebody went to his."

No matter what happens to Max, he should feel very proud of his safety work these past 14 years.

#41 jesee

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 21:38

For me, there was and never will be any other driver who will come close to Senna in terms of personality and the totality of effort in attempt to succeed. I still feel and remember the moment, that second, where i was when he took that turn and the moment of the crash and the hollow sinking feeling when his death was announced. I could not go to work the following day, it was horrible.
So as i dust off all the old tapes and replay them again, Senna to me represents all that is good in men, an inspiring figure in my life, a man who never said die, even when the ship was lost. May he rest in peace eternal.

#42 Ferrim

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 22:00

Well, it's true we use to forget that Senna wasn't the only driver who perished that day.

But the thing is, people who remember Ratzenberger, they remember him BECAUSE Senna also died that weekend. If Senna hadn't, we would think of Roland as we think of Ricardo Paletti, Elio de Angelis and so many others... So he was actually "lucky" (just in this sense, of course!!!) to die that weekend: some people, if not everyone, remember him because he wasn't the only one who died.

That black weekend is so iconic for so many things. I use to think of it as something which really didn't happened. It just doesn't belong in 25 years of Formula One. When we see crashes like Kovalainen's, we always say "oh, 15 years ago he would have been killed". Well, maybe he wouldn't! I mean, 1994 cars weren't as dangerous as we think today. Back then they were considered very safe, and they had good reasons to think that. Lots of awful crashes had happened during the post-1982 years and no one got killed.

And then you see videos of that weekend and you can't (at least I can't) believe so many things. You can see Senna at the place of Roland's crash, just 24 hours before his own death, and so on.

He clearly was a worried man, a man who was afraid of dying that weekend but who didn't know he would in fact die. A man under heavy pressure after a bad season start, unsure about the car he had to drive, unsure about the track, and shocked by all the happenings of the weekend. In the pictures taken while he waited for the start (when he was just half an hour from his death!) you can see he didn't want to race that day. I can even think it was the first time he didn't want to do the thing he most loved to do: go racing.

And I'm sure he raced for the team, for the mechanics, for the sponsors, for the fans, for the championship, for Roland... but, above all, because racing was in his blood.

R.I.P. Ayrton Senna da Silva. He's not been forgotten and won't be for a long time.

#43 NZX_Lorne

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 22:05

Posted Image

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#44 911

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 23:23

He was the only real racing hero I had. RIP, Ayrton.

#45 RSNS

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 14:34

This ought to be in TNF, but as things are, TNF 'forumers' are wishing to discuss Nelson Piquet Sottomayor but not Ayrton Senna da Silva. It is silly, but what the hell...

May I remind yet again all the 'Senna da Silva bashers' that in Brazil or Portugal one is at liberty to chose the family name one uses? I sign RSNS and usually write my name as R de S., but might as well sign R de B or R de L or plain RS?

Senna was a very complex man. He was a very generous fellow, really a tender hearted one; but he had to win. He could not fight people he liked, and his first tendency was to like people. So he made enemies out of them so that he could fight them. That explains why, after Prost's retirement, he became friends with him.

His car control was fantastic. I watched him twice live and was really amazed. Even Schumacher could not be compared. On one lap, Senna had no rivals. I fully believe that he was the fastest qualifier of all time.

They day he died Syd Watkins told him not to race; there are a lot of pictures that show Senna was distressed, even anguished.

His death came to me as a horrendous shock: I did not particularly like him at the time, but I respected him because of his earnest view of life. He was no dilettante, no 'nice boy' that went racing. He was a man who believed that life was important, that he was born for a reason. He acted accordingly. His generosity is a proven fact. His distress about the death of other drivers was real. His love for his family was true.

Perhaps the British and American racing enthusiasts cannot understand this kind of commitment because all show of the self is considered undesirable and people are taught to never show what they feel. Senna was a Mediterranean man. He thought his purpose in life was clear and said so. Even if I don't believe in God, who am I to rubbish people for saying they do believe?

It is true that his behaviour on track was very ruthless. But this was really nothing new. The two collisions with Alan Prost (especially the second) were thrown against him. I do not condone his behaviour, but neither do I condone Prost's when he collided with Senna and then went on and had Senna disqualified for a totally trivial non offense.

I will never forget Senna. He was a great driver, a great person. He was not a balanced person, but then it only showed because he was so damned good.

#46 Frank Tuesday

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 14:48

I remember his first Brazilian GP victory, and the world feed had his radio. The screams of joy, jubilation and relief. I remember welling up with tears as he took his victory lap, just as I am now.

#47 Nadsat

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 15:35

There's an interesting Italian documentary titled 'The last 24 hours of Ayrton Senna', in which you can see his whole last day with interviews to people that met him that day. In his hotel, there was a wedding and someone recorded Senna greeting the new couple. His personal trained tells how Senna almost refused to have his massage session because he was in low spirits after Roland's death. Senna also attended someone's birthday party, but there was not party at all.

Also, there's a very insteresting BBC documentary about the cause of the crash. It seems that all those laps that the drivers had to do behind de Pace Car provoked the loss of pressure in Senna's car tyres, that's the reason of the sparks in Tamburello appreciated from Schumacher's car.

I remember that day clairly and my frustration when the Spanish TV, because the crash provoked the race to be longer than usual, cutted of the race at the end and put the TV series 'Melrose Place'. Later in the evening, about 6.00 pm, there were the breaking news with the report of the death of Senna. It was terribly shocking for everyone.

#48 Arion

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 15:58

RSNS, nice post, it's very moving.

R.I.P. Ayrton. we miss you.

#49 manchild

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 17:03

I'm not feeling very well so I won't be writing a long post.

I'd just like to say that he was definitely the most dedicated driver of all times. He couldn't be in any other profession. He was born to be an F1 driver. No driver before and after had that much passion for racing. When he was in car the outside world apart from racing track didn't exist for him. You could see on many pictures his perfect calmness before the race. He and his car were one. I've read that he was very religious but I'd say that he was also very spiritual and emotional.

Posted Image

Seeing this picture of his always calms me down and gives me some sort of comfort. I can't explain it. He had that inner something that was positively affecting the people around him and it still does even trough the pictures.

His death struck me as something unimaginable. Like Challenger explosion, like Chernobyl disaster, Like 9/11 or like deaths of people close to me the death of my pet (3 month old kitten). Just like with any of those I've never made a peace with his departure. I see it as an great injustice.

I'm not disregarding Roland's death but it's just that Senna was like an old friend a family to me so the emotions towards him were much stronger since Roland was a rookie I knew nothing about.

If you don't mind, instead of turning this thread into dark topic I'd like to make it a celebration of his life rather than mourning his death - just like his sister liked it to be in 2004 during 10 years anniversary in Imola.

I'll copy a text about his friendship with Berger and practical jokes they pulled on each other. It is a must read for all Senna fans. Enjoy!

It was during the McLaren years that Gerhard Berger became most famous for his humorous side. Popular accounts tell of many ingenious practical jokes thought up by the Austrian to break through the serious, focused and unyielding Ayrton Senna. Senna, accepting the challenge, quickly submitted, and spurred on by team manager Ron Dennis the practical joking escalated.

Accounts tell of an incident at Monza where in a joint helicopter ride Senna had been showing off his new tailor made briefcase. Having been made of carbon fibre composite, Senna argued that it should be virtually indestructible. Berger, without much hesitation and much to Senna's disbelief, opened the door of the helicopter and threw the briefcase out, to test the hypothesis.

"It fell somewhere near the course but we found it again," Berger recalled with a cheeky grin.

On another occasion, in an Australian hotel room Berger filled Senna's bed with animals. Senna understandably infuriated, confronted Berger by saying;

"I've spent the last hour catching 12 frogs in my room," to which Berger replied, "Did you find the snake?"

"Actually they weren't frogs, they were bigger, more like toads. In Australia they have this kind of stuff. I thought he liked animals but clearly not," Berger explained.

It was an incident that prompted retaliation by Senna, who then proceeded to put a strong smelling French cheese in the air conditioning unit of Berger's room.

On another occasion, Senna and Brazilian compatriot Mauricio Gugelmin decided to fill Berger's shoes with shaving foam on a fast train ride to a dinner in Japan. Having been forced to attend the dinner wearing a tuxedo with sneakers, Berger vowed for retribution. It was at the Japanese Grand Prix a few days later that Gugelmin (driving for Leyton-House) was approached by Joseph Leberer, the McLaren team nutritionist, offering fresh orange juice. Ever vigilant, Mauricio declined the suspicious offer. He would later expand:

"One hour before the race starts he crushed four sleeping pills into that juice and sent it to me. I would pass out at the start of the race in which the world title would be decided. The cars roaring by at the track and I snoring in the cabin, can you imagine it?"

Best known is probably an incident in which Berger replaced Senna's passport photo with what Ron Dennis described as "an equivalent-sized piece of male genitalia". Senna's fame meant he rarely had his passport checked, but on a later trip to Argentina Berger's prank resulted in officials holding the Brazilian for 24 hours. As a response to this gag, Senna superglued all of Berger's credit cards together.

Another incident occurred years later at Ferrari, when Gerhard Berger and fellow F1 driver Jean Alesi were instructed to collect team director Jean Todt's new special made Lancia roadcar. Returning to the team headquarters entrance, Jean Alesi lost control of the car after Berger unexpectedly pulled the handbrake. Having flipped the car and skidded upside down to a halt in front of the entrance, Berger admitted to Todt that they had put "slight curb marks on the roof".

Posted Image

Rest in peace Senna...


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Posted 02 May 2008 - 21:46

Good post. Good thing it wasn't meant to be long tho. :lol: