Posted by Charles Lamoureux on Wednesday, July 23, 2003
The first time I met Mark was at Oregon Trail last year. I was new to Subaru and to the rally scene. In fact, it was my first Subaru event that I had attended. It was my first introduction to warm and welcoming community.
I was immediately taken by Mark's outgoing personality and the entire rally spectacle. Later that year, I was fortunate to spend some time with Mark when he attended the Taste of Subaru in Portland.
The first night he was in town, we had a dinner with Mark, Graham Wilcox, and Simon from ProDrive, along with a large group of Subaru employees. Mark and Graham provided the entertainment for the evening with their wonderful stories about their many adventures.
The next day at the Taste of Subaru, I witnessed first hand why so many people adore Mark. I have never witnessed someone so outgoing and eager to please the crowd. He posed for photos, signed autographs, and chatted with the crowd all day. The best part was that he was really enjoying the fans. He seemed to be as excited to be there as the fans were.
Later that afternoon, Mark took some lucky people on some hot laps around the track. We had given Graham an estimate on how many laps Mark would do prior to the event and assured him that whenever he felt the car should be taken off the track, it would be fine. The car was headed off to a race, and Graham wanted to do as little damage as possible.
Needless to say, more people wanted laps than expected. Mark, more than willing to oblige, kept taking people out on laps despite Graham’s concern for the car. Finally, the brakes got too hot and the tires were about shot, so Mark took 2 final laps to make sure everyone got some time in the car.
Those last two laps, of course, were the best ever. A young girl got the thrill of her life as Mark did a series of donuts as he entered the pits. Mark insisted on one last lap with Bernie as his co-driver. Entering one of the hairpins, Mark got the car up on two wheels and gave Berns the ride I am sure he will never forget.
I encountered Mark once again at the RIM this year and was taken that he not only remembered me by name, he asked about my fiancée, job and other personal things. It is this ability, to make everyone he met feel special, which made him so special.
While I am sad that I will never get the chance to see Mark again, I am extremely grateful that I was able to spend the small amount of time that I did with him.
In just a few hours time, Mark was able to leave an impression on me that will last a lifetime.
I, along with everyone who was lucky enough to witness his boyish grin and charming personality, will truly miss him.
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