By Barry Russell
Twelve months after the death of his father, Thai racing legend, Christmas Wilairot, Thai Honda Singha SAG Moto2 racer 'Feem' Ratthapark Wilairot is putting his worldly concerns behind him by becoming a Buddhist Monk for 15 days.
Christmas was just 47 years old when he died and the tragedy was compounded a few days later when Feem suffered serious head injuries in a motorcycle road accident that claimed the life of his best friend.
The popular 23 year-old surprised many by regaining sufficient fitness to return to racing for the for the first round in Qatar, but endured a miserable season, scoring four points from a 12th place in Jerez, racking up eight DNFs, and missing three races because of injury, including two after being crashed into at Phillip Island on a slowing down lap by Marc Marquez.
All this was a very long way short of the promise he showed in 250s in 2009 and in Moto2 during the first half of 2010.
If ever there was an annus horribilis
for a motorcycle racer this was it, so Wilairot has taken holy orders, had his head and eyebrows shaved and entered the temple. In a release on the team's website (translated from Spanish) he said:
"This is going to be an important period of my life. Taking the holy orders and all this I'm about to go through is a way to find oneself and learn about the situations we experience during our entire life. Thinking about the end of 2010 and all of 2011, this is a great opportunity to leave behind all the things that happened and start a new period in my life. For a couple weeks you will see me with my head and eyebrows shaved, wearing Buddhist robes and doing my monk obligations.”
Wilairot will line up for Thai Honda Singha SAG again in 2012, when the team will be running the 2012 FTR.