1977 - 2001
"RaceYaLater 94 Flyn Brian"
William Angen was born in 1977 in San Jose, California. He was
the son of Rocky and Terri Angen, brother and best friend of Kurt
Angen, brother-in-law to Casey Angen, fiancée to Shonna
Gittings. Brian was an energetic sparkle in our life, always unpredictable
and full of surprises, and never a dull moment! His smile and
charisma would light up a room — you always knew when Brian
arrived. But tragically, in 2001, Brian’s young life was
cut short in a boating accident.
As a young man, Brian’s ultimate dream was to become an
astronaut. His fascination with space was so intense that most
nights he would lie in bed for hours watching NASA space missions.
Brian was disappointed to find that his dream of flying into space
would never become a reality because he was blind in his right
eye. (Brian had undergone the removal of an optic nerve tumor
at three months old, which left him blind in the right eye.) Brian
will finally get his wish of going into space where his spirit
Early on, we knew we were in for a ride in the fast lane with
Brian. Brian was introduced to cars, motors and metal machining
as soon as he could crawl, and began operating machine shop equipment
at age eight. He used this exposure to cars and mechanical devices
along with his naturally inquisitive mind to determine how things
worked, and more importantly, how things could be made to work
more efficiently. Brian’s passion for cars started early
on, working on his dad’s Model A Ford. His passion really
kicked in on his sixteenth birthday when he got his first vehicle,
a 1994 Chevy Truck. With thousands of hours wrenching on his truck
and significant modifications completed under the hood, Brian
found ways to produce just a little more speed. During his high
school years Brian often entered his truck in the Wednesday night
drag races at Sears Point Raceway. It was here at Sears Point
Raceway that Brian found his new focus in life, and committed
himself to reach his dream of a career in racing.
In 1999, Brian enrolled in the Skip Barber Racing School at Laguna
Seca Raceway. In his first year of racing, Brian placed 19th out
of 125 drivers. The 2000 season brought even more success as Brian
finished 3rd in the series. He also received what he considered
to be one of his finest achievements when the Skip Barber instructors
awarded him with the “Most Improved Driver” trophy
for the 2000 race season.
In 2000 Brian’s racing career was taken to the next level.
His parents purchased two Panoz Esparentes GT1 racecars for both
Brian and his dad Rocky to drive. Together, father and son set
out to compete in a professional race series. On March 16, 2001,
Brian won his first professional race at Sebring Raceway. As we
sat at the airport waiting to return home, we noticed a newspaper
and the headline read, “Son beats father at Sebring.”
This was a definite highlight of Brian’s life. As he flew
home with a newspaper under his arm, carrying his huge 1st place
trophy, he was nothing but smiles.
At 23, Brian was on his way to becoming the professional racecar
driver he had dreamt of. Brian was uncannily fast on the track,
despite only having one eye, which earned him the nickname “Flyin’
Brian.” During these years, Brian coined his famous saying
“Race Ya Later,” which became his trademark phase.
The creative slogan was his enthusiastic way of letting his friends
and family know that he would see them later. (“Race Ya
Later” is now a registered trademark used in Brian’s
Brian’s death came at a time when he had just achieved
his proudest moment – recognition of his racing abilities
from several sportswriters. Two weeks before Brian’s death,
he was chosen as one of the “Future Stars of American Motorsports.”
He was to be featured in articles in several racing magazines,
along with his picture on the cover of at least one magazine;
with a picture that captured his charisma, happiness and the genuine
love of life, which flowed out of Brian on everyday of his life.
Brian accomplished so much is his short life: avid racer, sky
diver, wake boarder, and snowboarding with his brother Kurt. Actually,
Brian loved any activity that involved his brother! He had gifted
hands working with both wood and metal. When he was taken from
us, we lost a great deal. Brian had integrity, loyalty, was very
passionate, humorous, loved music, had a tremendous zest for life,
immense love for his family, and is dearly missed by all who knew
him. His unexpected departure has left an enormous void in our
life. The memory of Brian will be cherished always, and he will
be missed forever. It seems so fitting for “Flyin’
Brian” to now fly into space.
As a tribute to Brian William Angen and all that he stood for,
family and friends have organized the Brian Angen Memorial Foundation.
The foundation’s drive is to keep Brian’s spirit in
our hearts by providing opportunities for other young people with
similar disabilities as Brian to excel and achieve their dreams.
We love you Brian, not a day goes by that we don’t think
of you. As we look up at the stars watching for you in space,
we will always remember all the joy you brought to us. You may
be gone but will never be forgotten. “Race Ya Later”
The Family of Brian William