Somehow, the half century since the tragic death of Jarno Saarinen just passed by, and no one seems to have had the time to write a few words. How come?
Jarno Saarinen was a true giant of motorcycle racing. By the end of 1972/beginning of '73, he'd become virtually unbeatable. I know, that's a hollow standard phrase, but with Saarinen it was really true: he won more than a dozen races in less than two months, and had Agostini in tears before the winter break, then came out to win Daytona and the opening rounds of the 500cc championship to really drive it home: the world of motorcycle racing had a new king!
He was way before my time; when I was a little boy Johnny Cecotto was all the rage, and we know Johnny wasn't all what he promised when he came out of the 'jungle', so it's always dangerous to make predictions, but Saarinen seemed to be such a level headed person, and typically 'cool' for a Finn, if he'd been around for a 'normal' career he was surely headed for a prodigious number of world championships, especially as Yamaha was really coming good at the time. Would have been cool to see Sheene and Suzuki step up to the challenge, and imagine Kenny Roberts trying to "unseat" Jarno at Yamaha!
By all accounts, he was a very charismatic personality. Any memories?