I remember in the early days of TNF when Michael's name first appeared here...
I immediately contacted Don Capps with the jubilance I felt, knowing someone with that famous name and the knowledge and background it carried was contributing.
Since then I've come to know Mike a little better. The first thing I learned about him was that he never... no, never!
... said a bad word about someone. He stayed out of those conversations.
Remaining in occasional touch with him after that, through the period when he became a part of the fallout of the change of management here, I learned more. And when I went to the USA in 2012 with my wife, a great deal more... What Jacques has posted is so true:
.....He had a knack for spotlighting the good in things. He may have just been trying to be kind, but he would have never told you otherwise. He was just that kind of person.
It didn't matter if you were a fan of his writing looking for a signature, a pig farmer from Georgia, a PR rep, or a racer; if you were conversing with Mike, you were treated as if you were the most important person in his world at that moment. A rare man.
His passion to preserve racing history helped create the IMRRC in Watkins Glen, and it is without a doubt one of the true gems of motorsports.....
He treated us like royalty! We were so welcomed it really hit Janet and helped her appreciate and remember Watkins Glen even more. Mike showed me around the original road circuit and told me tales of the fifties there, especially the one about when Stirling Moss went to race on the artificial circuit, but they took him for a run around the old one...
"A pity we can't race here, old boy!" he said as they drove down the ess bends to the bridge.
Last year I stayed a night with he and Lee in Chicago. I would know nothing about Chicago if it hadn't been for Mike's 'grand tour' of the 'Ell' and the city centre, it was fabulous.
Then I stayed two nights with him in the Argetsinger family holiday cottage by Lake Seneca. Again, it was like being a royal visitor... he took me to the family vineyard the other side of the lake to meet Sam, one of his younger brothers. One of his sisters, Louise, was there, and lovely Jean, his mother.
My thoughts are with Jean now. Sam died in January, now Michael. Michael was unable to make Sam's funeral and felt really bad about that, Jean has been unable to travel to see Michael in his final weeks (though Mike and Lee did make a trip to visit her a couple of months ago) and that is all so sad.
And then there's loving and patient Lee, who has nursed Michael through all his trials, helped him with his books. They got the original interview tapes for The Unfair Advantage
from David Donohue in California, Mike had no idea how he would go through them for points for his book.
Lee suggested that they play them in the car as they drove back to Chicago, then she took notes when Mike heard something he wanted to use. He, with Lee's help, was very thorough with his research.
I will certainly miss him when I go back next year. And to Lee, Jean and all the family I offer my condolences...
Lee and Mike at home in Chicago
Edited by Ray Bell, 12 July 2015 - 23:13.