| ||Friday, November 5|
|MAPLE RIDGE, British Columbia -- Fans by the hundreds sadly
hailed their fallen hometown idol Greg Moore, joining family and
friends to remember the youth, charm and extraordinary racing
prowess stilled forever on a California speedway.
"Greg has gone from us but those of us who knew him know what
he'd be saying," his father Ric Moore said during a moving tribute
to his son at the end of an hourlong memorial service.
"He'd be saying, 'Hey guys, lighten up and have some fun. Remember me as I was, a regular guy who had a great job. I was lucky to have the best job in the world, great friends and family and really lived my 24 years to the fullest."'
His father was one of the last speakers at the service inside the packed Maple Ridge Baptist Church, where 1,500 people listened to several speakers while hundreds more gathered outside to hear the service on a large video screen under a makeshift tent."Greg had a dream to become the best racing car driver in the world," said his father. "His hero was Ayrton Senna, the Brazilian who was also killed. Greg never met Senna, but hopefully they'll hook up in Greg's next life and race the heavens together." Moore, who moved with ease and stunning speed from racing go-karts as a youngster to the super-powered heights of the CART series, was killed Sunday in a sickening crash at the Marlboro 500. The 24-year-old Moore -- the youngest driver to win a series race -- was killed on lap 10 of the final CART race of the season at Fontana, Calif. In front of his parents, girlfriend and a TV audience, he died instantly when his Mercedes-Benz-powered Reynard disintegrated after crashing into a wall at more than 200 mph.
In contrast to the rain and leaden skies in Vancouver on Wednesday, where family and racing brethren remembered him at a private service, the sun shone as crowds gathered.
A quiet community of 63,000, Maple Ridge is located on the northern side of the Fraser River, about 30 miles east of Vancouver.
Hundreds of high school students also attended, many having to stand outside the church under a huge tent because the church was filled to capacity long before the service began.
"We came to pay our respects like everyone else," said Tony Gressel, 17.
"It seems like everyone in town knew him. He was a friendly guy and you'd see him everywhere."
The scene outside the church resembled the hoopla surrounding the Indy car races that Moore used to excel in.Several news vehicles, some with their long antennas extended, were parked in the church parking lot. The service was broadcast live on a local cablevision channel.
Inside the church, a picture of Greg Moore dressed in a tuxedo was displayed on a huge screen at the front of the church. Emblazoned across the screen were the simple words Greg Moore 1975-1999.
Moore seemed a racing prodigy, breaking into the CART series in 1996. A year later and only 22, Moore won his first CART race -- at Milwaukee in his 23rd start.
He was driving go-karts at 10 and by 14 had won the 1989 North American Enduro championships.
He was rookie of the year in two developmental series -- Formula 1600 and Formula 2000 West -- before moving into Indy Lights in 1993, the stepping stone to CART.
He was 18 when he won his first Indy Lights race in 1994.
In 72 CART races, Moore had five wins and 17 podium finishes.
That meteoric rise, the promise of a great future and a sparkling personality led many of his racing comrades to pay their respects a day earlier at the private memorial in Vancouver.Moore's body was cremated Tuesday.
Greg Moore dies in CART crash