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Two good friends remember Cam Gibbons

Cam had a pretty good command of the English language with the gnarly Aussie slant on things. He really talked like Paul Hogan, with his ugly buggers and other bastardized English prose. He was truly a free spirit with thick skin. Not much bothered him, and it's why it was so alarming with all the shit he was going through that he never whined about it.

Not even when we spoke of how hard his cancer was going to be to shake. Losing his life, while he was in Indy and for the first couple of years back in Oz, was never on the radar screen.

I moved and lost touch with Cam. His mouth, due to the oral cancer, was so affected he could not carry on a conversation and it was too difficult to understand him. He also had a knack for calling me when he was pretty much three sheets in the wind anyhow, and it was like four in the morning here in Indiana. It was a sad messy state for him.

Cam Gibbons He was fascinated by the PC. He really was a smart guy. Cam's favorite phrase was "Oh fuck Me" along with "Bloody Hell", “Fucking Rot”, and all the English/Aussie slang. He never assimilated to becoming an American. He didn't need to, for he was very proud of Austrailia. He thought of America as having great potential, but was too fucked up to enjoy it. He saw through the bullshit pretty well.

Ziggy
Clayton, Indiana


I took Cam to the last USGP in Indy. Spicoli got us a police escort and we all went to the Brickyard Crossing for breakfast. Cam was weak and in pain, but he was tough and he was determined to enjoy the day.

We got a lift on a golf cart to the west side of the track, where our seats were. We walked over to Ziggy’s house where we hung out and drank before the race. Cam was a trooper, obviously not physically comfortable, but he wanted to be there.

We bought a couple of seats from a scalper and they turned out to be high above the first corner, perfect seats. The hot sun was hard on him, but as soon as the race started nothing like that mattered. Cam and I, McLaren fans, were in heaven watching Lewis Hamilton take a brilliant win from Ferrari (who, with the exception of Mika in ‘01, had dominated the races in Indy).

Cam got to speak to many of his friends that day, some of whom post here, and what struck me even more than his courage was the support he got from others. I realized that not only I, Spicoli, and Ziggy helped to make the day possible for him, but also the many people he spoke to treated him almost reverentially, and it was obviously not out of pity. This guy was genuine and people loved him, period. In my opinion that is the supreme compliment.

One funny part of that weekend was hanging out on a spectator mound and watching qualifying, and up walks none other than Defener (an IRL/Indy Car Super Fan) himself. Cam spotted him and said, “Look at the fucking bastard taking his time.” I thought he was talking about the car on the track, then he nudged me and said, “No, THAT fucking bastard.”

When I turned around and saw the Big D, I nearly fell down laughing. I ended up giving Defender a beer and we traded insults with him and his brother, but what will stick with me is the way Cam said that, in that rasping accented voice, full of Aussie spite.

I can’t help but smile when I think of it, and I imagine he is looking down on us now, hurling some barely understandable insult our way. Infinite llamas to you, Cam.

ElKabong
Indianapolis, Indiana