x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Friends mourn motorcycling champion in Dubai

Wellwishers yesterday expressed their devastation at the death of Sportbike Championship winner who was killed at the end of a race at the Dubai Autodrome.

Friends yesterday expressed their devastation at the death of a motorcycle racing champion killed at the end of a race in Dubai.

Pascal Grosjean, 39, from Switzerland, was hit from behind by another rider, Tony Jordan, as he was completing a warm-down lap after winning the Sportbike Championship at the Dubai Autodrome on Friday, officials said. Mr Jordan was travelling about 200kph, according to one witness.

Mr Grosjean died in hospital a few hours later.

A spokesman for the Dubai Autodrome said Mr Jordan was in stable but serious condition and the next few days would be crucial.

One of Mr Grosjean's closest friends was Abdulrahman al Shamsi. He said the racer had lived for a year in a room he owned, and was a family friend, a teammate and a coach to him.

They met at the Dubai Autodrome last year. "I'm still in shock. I was there when the accident took place," Mr al Shamsi said.

He had imagined his friend would survive his injuries. "I honestly expected he was seriously injured but I did not expect him to pass away," he said. "I was so scared."

Mr al Shamsi said Mr Grosjean had met all of his family members.

"Pascal loved life, he was full of energy and good-hearted," Mr al Shamsi said yesterday. "He was generous, he helped people even if he did not have enough. He was truly one of my best friends."

Alain DuPasquier, a friend of Mr Grosjean for about eight years, said: "I am very sad about what happened, but I am sure Pascal's last day was the way he would have liked it to be. On the bike, racing and again finishing first.

"His passion was the bike since he was a kid.

"Pascal was completely dedicated to racing. Despite being so focused and determined in the sport, he managed to make people around him laugh.

"He had a great sense of humour. I remember feeling embarrassed many times in the shopping malls because he would suddenly start to sing or dance in front of everybody. Pascal gained respect for being a great sportsman and friend."

Mr al Shamsi said he was arranging a mourning service for Mr Grosjean on Friday at Jebel Ali.

hhassan@thenational.ae