Racing with an angel on his shoulder
As he comes out of retirement today and returns to the go-kart track, an emotional Mike Simmons will do so alone. In his association with the sport for more than two decades he has always been accompanied to the races by his spouse, Daisy Reynolds.
But when he dusts off his driver?s suit and grabs his helmet to answer the starter?s call for the ?Bracket? Super Rotax event at the Palisadoes International Raceway, her usual tender touch, adjusting his protective gear, will be missing.
Death has separated them.
A tearful Simmons watched as Reynolds took her last gasp of breath on Saturday, December 12, last year. During the short time she was hospitalised at the Tony Thwaites Wing, University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), Simmons spent the last moments with Daisy, staying by her bedside every night until she died.
It was a double death day for him.
?My mother died on the same day, 17 years ago. Me and Daisy were together for 29 years. If she was alive today I would not be racing this morning, because after a while she had became very fearful of the danger of motor racing. Today, it is like a huge piece of me has died with her,? Simmons told Automotives on Friday.
The downtown Kingston based businessman was introduced to karting by his best friend, Abe ?Zimbo? Ziadie, who was then president of the Jamaica Karting Association (JKA). Ziadie was killed by gunmen in January 2000 while purchasing ice cream at a fast food store on Constant Spring Road, St. Andrew. The killers took his licensed firearm. Simmons was severely impacted by Ziadie?s death.
In a gesture of support for the newly elected president of the JKA, David Summerbell, Simmons has answered the call for a return to the track, from which he has been absent since 2010.
When asked if would continue after today?s meet Simmons responded: ?We will see what happens after.?