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Kevin accepts that certain of 1993's events will have changed his attitude to racing, being World Champion is unlikely to change him as a person though. Those who have known him since childhood say that fame has not altered him so winning the championship should make little difference in that respect. A friend of Kevin's since childhood, Jason Bridges saw his first European Grand Prix in 1993 and saw first hand just how different Kevin's life is at Grand Prix. "As friends we knew he was good and a contender for the World Championship but we had no idea what it is like in Europe. You just don't see anything in the US. Wide World of Sports has covered motor cycle racing here maybe twice."

"It was a big shock. When I first got to Jerez, went to the Hotel where Jim and Shirley were staying and the entire lobby plus out in front of the hotel was packed with swarms of fans and motorcycles, waiting for him to come back to get his autograph. I couldn't believe it."

"It ranks right up there with the biggest sports in Europe. Its as big as football is in the US, one of tbe major major spectator sports."

"I couldn't believe the fanfare, the production and how far away people would come. I rode on a train from Madrid to Jerez, its a long train ride and there were two guys from Australia who had come all the way from the other side of the world just for three GPs and they were back packing across Europe from race to race."

"I was going, 'Man... from Australia to here just to see these races

You drive up in the car and people just swarm on the car, its like something you see from old film of the Beatles or European Royalty or something. I just didn't realise to what extent his popularity had extended over there."

"When I got to the hotel the day before the race it was non stop action, fireworks, motorcycles racing up and down the streets, people shouting, yelling, partying the whole night long, it wasn't a riot it was just people having a great time. Then before the race those giant fireworks like half sticks of dynamite, I mean you take cover at first, you really wonder what is going down."

"But Kevin is still just Kevin, that's the neatest thing about him, it certainly hasn't gone to his head all that fanfare. We talk about things we used to do around here, he misses it a lot too. Being over there so much he misses home, I can tell. Just riding in the motorhome from Jerez to Madrid, it's a long ride, I think it took us almost two days. We talked a lot about old times, things we used to do, he's still Kevin."

Being one of the very few childhood friends who has seen Kevin's life at Grand Prix Jason can see the effect that the high pressure world has. "I think its kind of nice to come back to a place where he is not well known. Even for the short time I was there with him in Europe I was getting tired of it. You try to go out to eat and there are people coming up and asking for autographs all the time. During the race weekend, swarming in the bus. I only had it for a few days and I was, like golly man!!!. It is probably kind of nice just to come back here and be Kevin."

 

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