Kemal was always in an infectious good mood. Even in the thick of rally challenges, he brought a positive boost to everyone he met. Working unassisted on his bike, mooching parts, picking over broken bikes; he still had time to smile and say hello. It was obvious that Kemal loved rallying and was having fun. Most riders, like him, made big sacrifices to participate. Few of them enjoyed it as much as him.
Touring in Turkey in 2002, I needed a crank rebuild for my KTM 620 Adventure. The KTM shop in Istanbul looked questionable, but they had a poster of Kemal on a similar bike at the finish of his first Dakar. They had helped him, so I trusted them with the work. (The bike made it home and the crank lasted quite a few miles before it broke in Baja.) I took one of those posters and kept it in my garage. Kemal looked down from the poster as we prepped for many Dakars as if to tell us, "If I can do it, so can you." He was probably my biggest inspiration for keeping at it, especially the first few times.
We'll miss him.