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03 May 2023
By Abby Walter
Horsham kart racer Remo Luciani is relieved he has ‘still got it’ on the track after recovering from a stroke about eight weeks ago.
Since his stroke, the Wimmera Kart Racing Club president has been inducted into the Motorsport Australia Hall of Fame, recognising his dedication and passion for the industry.
Luciani returned to the track for the first time last week as he prepared for the second round of the Victorian Country Series in Hamilton on May 14.
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“It was a good feeling to get back out there,” he said.
“I was so scared that I would go out there and be dead slow and lose everything I have done for 40 years.
“I can confidently say it’s still there – I haven’t lost it.”
Luciani said he used to think he was ‘indestructible’, but one morning in March changed that.
“I walk up to 10 kilometres a day, race go-karts, am heavily involved in motorsport and look after what I eat and drink, so I thought I was a healthy person,” he said.
“I was lying in bed feeling fantastic like it was just a normal day. Then I got up and had a dizzy spell that came from nowhere.
“I didn’t know what it was, but when I went to hospital and was diagnosed with having a stroke, I was crying. I felt cheated because I am an active and fit person.
“But I was rest assured that strokes don’t discriminate – it can happen to the fittest person in the world.
“It’s something I have learned, so it’s vital that people keep up their health checks and we keep an eye on ourselves because I feel we all take ourselves for granted.”
Luciani said he was recovering well, with the only lasting impact so far being on his taste buds.
“It attacked my taste buds. Red wine, which I love, now tastes like vinegar,” he said.
“But if that’s the only thing, I’ll take it, because I’m very lucky and very happy to be here today.”
Luciani said it was hard to explain the feeling of being a hall of famer after being inducted on the Thursday of the Australian Grand Prix.
“I didn’t appreciate the magnitude of it and what it meant until I was able to reflect on it after the event,” he said.
“From 123 years of motorsport history there are only 88 inductees and to be one of those is quite an honour – there’s certainly some big names in there that I sit beside.”
Luciani began kart racing in 1980 and has won seven Australian championships and more than 70 state championships.
“Everyone in a sport wants to hit a pinnacle and winning the Australian championships is a pinnacle,” he said.
“I set a record in Australia – I was the oldest person to ever win an Australian championship in 2010 and then in 2012 I won a New Zealand championship, so I’m the oldest person to win a championship in New Zealand, too.
“The moral of the story is that the sport is for the young and old.
“The other pinnacle of my career has been helping so many young people in the sport go through from grassroots to motorcars and follow their careers.”
Luciani, at his business Remo Racing, had racing ‘legends’ Jamie Whincup and Daniel Ricciardo do work experience and race karts for him.
“They were just young kids loving their sport,” he said.
“I’m not responsible for their success, but I helped them believe in themselves and once they did that, they went on to pursue their motorsport dreams. That was part of the award criteria, that I was able to contribute to the sport – so it wasn’t just about my karting success, but those I helped along the way.”
Luciani said giving back to the motorsport community was something he had been doing for many years.
“When we were upgrading our track, I was on my hands and knees doing the concrete kerbing and the voting panel knew at my age of 62 that I wasn’t doing it for me,” he said.
“It’s for the next generation and I am paving the way to make it easier for young sports enthusiasts to go through into motorsport.
“That was probably the tipping point when they said, ‘this guy is still giving back even after 42 years in the sport’.”
Luciani said he loved the sport as much now as he did more than 40 years ago.
“I am passionate about this sport. Someone asked me the other day if I was still going to race after the stroke and I said I would race regardless,” he said.
“I enjoy karting the same today as I did on the first day I started. The excitement, joy and adrenaline I got from the first day I started racing to today – I still get it.
“I’ve been gifted that, it’s not a chore to me and although I have made it my career, it’s just a sport I love to death.”
The entire May 3, 2023 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!