Christophe Hissette with his father Jean-Louis. The fatherson duo were inseparable at karting tracks over the years. Image Credit: Coutsey of Hissette family album

Dubai: Christophe Hissette was something special to motor sport and the first one to realise this was his father Jean-Louis, whose birthday was Saturday.

"It was always a pleasure to be with Christophe. He was so full of life and so innovative that everyone knew there was something to learn from him. But now with him gone, the birthday doesn't count any more," Jean-Louis Hissette said as he took Gulf News down memory lane.

"It is so, so difficult for me to come to terms with my loss. He was one of a kind. He was such a special kid," Jean-Louis added.

Many would recount that Jean-Louis and Christophe were inseparable at karting tracks over the years. Christophe Hissette's nature was such that he was ever willing to lend a helping hand to anyone who wanted. "And this is the reason why he was loved so much by anyone who came in contact with him," Jean-Louis said.

Early start

Christophe was born in Beirut in October 1980. Jean-Louis moved with his new-born son and wife Beatrice to the UAE in April the following year. When he was barely 11 years old, it was Jean-Louis who encouraged his young son to pursue his motor sport dream while starting off on the two karting tracks that were available in Dubai then — one in Jebel Ali operated by the Emirates Motor port Federation and an indoor one run by motorsport entrepreneur Paul Berger.

"I saw him grow up as a fine race driver right before my eyes. I was with him all along the way, and even on Friday five minutes before he went on the track I was chatting with him and we both discussed how he was going to handle the qualifying," Jean-Louis recounted.

"He was so much better than the rest of the drivers, but he was never one to gloat over his success. He was always approachable and helpful to anyone," he said.

Christophe, who is mourned by his mother Beatrice, stepmother Blanca and younger brother Sebastian, was supposed to participate in the Radical Masters Cup starting off at the Spa in his native Belgium next month.

"We were planning a family outing to Belgium and some of our friends would have been joining us there during the racing," Jean-Louis said. "But that will no longer be the case now."