Friday, 20 April 2012

In Memory: Francisco Hernández

It was with very great sadness and distress that I learned yesterday of the passing of Francisco Hernández “Topopaco”. Barely in his mid-forties, he succumbed to a massive heart attack. He leaves behind a wife and a young son.

Francisco Hernández "Topopaco" (right of picture)

Paco wasn’t a famous name in Spanish motorcycling but despite that, he was known to countless motorcyclists throughout Spain. He was the moving force behind the Spanish Triumph Owners’ Club and did more than his fair share to promote the Triumph marque in Spain. And, true to his nature, he did all this for the sheer pleasure of it. [...]

Paco was a discreet, self-effacing and quiet fellow, who was always uncomfortable when being put in the spotlight, or receiving the acknowledgement that he deserved. Apart from his deep-rooted love of motorcycles, his defining trait was his boundless kindness and generosity. He really was the type of man who would give you the shirt off his back if that were the only thing he had to give.

My fondest memory of Paco was during the Barcelona 24hr race at the Circuit de Catalunya track, back in 2005. The Spanish Triumph owners’ club was still in its infancy, but thanks to Paco’s enthusiasm and drive, the club formed a team and competed with a largely stock Daytona 600. Such was his dedication to the project that, along with the race bike, the team van contained his own road-going Daytona so that the mechanics could cannibalise parts from it if necessary. And he naturally assumed his role of team manager /head mechanic with his trademark discretion and efficiency: the French semi-professional team we shared the gargantuan pit box with were fantastically impressed by the way in which he got a bunch of amateurs to work in such a fluid way, and by the fact that he did not take a moment’s rest from the beginning of the race to the end. And the bike finished the race, although he naturally tried to minimise his role in the proceedings.

I hadn’t seen Paco for a long time; I knew that he had experienced health problems and was wondering how he was getting on. So yesterday’s news hit me hard, very hard. I will miss that quiet, calm and supremely generous and selfless man. Right now, my thoughts are with his widow Merche and with his young and beloved son Adrián. Hasta pronto, Paco…

1 comment:

  1. Bonito texto, gracias. Le echaremos mucho de menos.