Tributes have flooded in from around the world of motocross for former GP rider Mark Hucklebridge who lost his seven-year battle with terminal cancer aged just 39. His wife Emma broke the sad news on social media this morning. She said: “Such a sad moment in time for Charlie and I but we want to let you all know that our strong and courageous daddy and husband Mark passed away this morning after we managed to get him back to Bath RUH hospital.
“Mark loved his friends so much and we thank you for being with us all every step of the way throughout these last few very difficult years.”
Huck was a successful racer, rider trainer and organiser. He raced for many of the UK’s best teams – MJ Church Kawasaki, Factory VOR, TM UK, KTM UK, Honda UK, Motoxtreme Kawasaki, Chambers KTM and Hockey Honda.
He was British schoolboy champion, won the Coupe de l’Avenir, Weston beach race, British Supercross championship, KWS championship and won several British championship races. He was 18th in the world in 2003 and third overall in the British championship that year, too. After quitting pro racing in 2008, he took up roles as a rider coach and event organiser. He was well liked and respected by fellow riders and everyone in the sport who got to know him.
But in 2010 he was diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer, was told that the tumour in his bowel had been in place for between 5-10 years and had also now spread via the lymph nodes into his lungs.
He bravely went through years of chemotherapy and painful surgery as he fought against the disease. But although it became inoperable and terminal, he still fought on and was determined to live his life to the full. He still rode a bike for fun whenever he was well enough, and only last month was at lots of Arenacross races to watch his son Charlie race.
As well as fighting his own health battles, he was also instrumental in setting up the Friends of Huck charity, set up to raise money for cancer charities and seriously ill or injured motorcycle riders.
Many former rivals and fans have paid tributes to the great man and recalled memories of some of his greatest times. There have been hundreds of posts on social media paying tribute to Huck the hero.
Former world champion Jamie Dobb said: “Devastated to hear that Mark Hucklebridge has passed away this morning. My thoughts are with Emma, Charlie and his whole family in this terrible time. God speed Mark.”
Former British Supercross champ Nev Bradshaw said: “Very sad day. When I first came over here I didn’t really know Mark, I saw him at the GPs and always said hello being a familiar face from the British Championship races. In 2005/2006 we had some fierce races together. One that really stands out was this race at Blaxhall in 2006. We fought tooth and nail the whole Moto coming together a couple of times.. then at the podium he was so mad he literally wanted to fight.. but that was Mark – he was very passionate about his racing and wasn’t afraid to fight for it.. same as his illness he fought hard for as long as he could. We became friends over the next few seasons and always stopped for a chat.. being a father as well I saw the commitment he had towards his family.. and had a lot of time for that. I bumped into him last season when he was at Mildenhall with Charlie and you could see what a proud father he was.. at the time I thought FairPlay Huck.. you found happiness bud! Rest easy mate.. sending strength to Emma Louise Hucklebridge and family.”
Former GP racer Jeff Perrett said: “You never know what each day is going to bring. To wake up this morning and find out one of the most courageous, likeable friends to us all has succumb to that f**ing asshole of a disease leaves me somewhat numb. Mark Hucklebridge I salute you from the bottom of my heart my friend. A friend who always made time for a catch up and had so much dignity and respect. A true gent in a world that seemingly produces less and less of them. My genuine love and affection goes out to Emma Louise Hucklebridge and little Charlie, (I know you both made Mark so proud and will continue to do so) and of course his mum and dad and all his close family and friends….you’re all heroes in my eyes for the fighting spirit you applied over the years.”
Fellow racer Chad Yarranton said: “Very saddened to hear the passing of Mark Hucklebridge. He was a genuinely nice guy and I enjoyed the times I spent with him in my Kawasaki days.
As a young rider he was someone I often looked up to & the determination that he has shown since battling this cruel illness is something many of us will remember for a very long time.
My deepest sympathies go out to his close friends and family.”
Former GP rider and Arenacross organiser Matt Bates said: “Like so many of us that knew Mark, my brain can’t quite compute today after hearing that we’ve lost a star. Truly truly devastated… my love and thoughts are with you Emma and Charlie.”
Kawasaki’s Ross Burridge said: “Desperately sad to hear of the passing of Mark Hucklebridge. I have nothing but sheer admiration for just how determined he was. It was an absolute pleasure to know him. My thoughts are very much with Emma Hucklebridge and Charlie.”
TM Racing said: “Many of you will have known Mark from his days competing for TM UK on the TM Racing and VOR brands some 15 years ago and more.
“Mark’s lengthy battle with cancer is one that shall be remembered by the pure courage and determination Mark has shown throughout this fight, truly inspirational to all. During these past years Mark also helped to raise phenomenal amounts for charities, covering numerous great causes, inspiring so many others to do likewise along the way.
“Mark was not only just a incredible motorcyclist, but also an incredible character and a great friend, he will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Our deepest condolences go out to Mark’s wife, Emma, his son, Charlie, and of course to all of the family and friends. Rest in Peace Mark.”
MotoHead’s Dave Willet said: “The way I’ll remember Huck is a true warrior on the track and genuinely all around nice guy with a heart of gold off it. I remember Mark from the schoolboy days and it was clear to see even as a kid he had such heart for racing with his never give up attitude. He was always battling up front and that continued throughout his pro career. Truly sorry to hear the news for all concerned and our thoughts are with his family.”
There is no news about a funeral yet.