If there’s anything that we should have learned in these challenging times, it’s that life is fleeting and that we should treasure every moment with friends and family.
The motorcycle community is deeply saddened with the news that Gil Balderas, BMW Motorrad director for SMC Asia Car Distributors Corporation, passed away earlier today of natural causes. Prior to joining the German brand, Gil had worked for Mitsubishi and Ford. Customers and members of the media knew him as a kind and modest gentleman who was always ready to help them with their concerns. As the head honcho for BMW Motorrad—which prides itself on engineering excellence—Gil was the perfect ambassador as he put people at ease and got them into the lifestyle, indeed living up to the marque’s motto of “Make Life A Ride.”
While I wasn’t close friends with Gil, I appreciated his willingness to work with me when VISOR had yet to seriously cover the motorcycle industry. All it took was a personal message and a phone conversation, and the next thing I knew, I had an F900 R for longer than I’d hoped for—no strings attached other than a fair and objective review. From that first test ride last year, our relationship grew as Gil asked us to cover launch events for the R18 and, just recently, the updated R nineT and the M1000 RR.
Gil respected our opinions and never dictated how we should angle our stories, instead letting the products speak for themselves and taking our feedback in stride. Even though he had a busy schedule, I could always count on him to get back to me if I needed to clarify even a banal detail before I submitted an article for publishing.
But most of all, I knew him as a man’s man and a true motorcycle enthusiast who wanted to share his passion for riding with everyone. To his family, he was a devoted father and a loyal husband.
Ride in peace, Gil Balderas. The Philippine motorcycle community thanks you for all your contributions.