Triple world 500 champion Andre Malherbe has passed away aged 66. He was one of the all-conquering HRC Honda team alongside his great rival and friend Dave Thorpe, who visited him at his home in Belgium in August.
Malherbe rode a Zündapp to win the 1973 FIM 125cc European motocross championship, and repeated as champion in 1974 before the series was granted world championship status.
He finished the 1977 season third in the 250cc motocross world championship then moved up to the 500cc world championship in 1978 and finished the season as the highest scoring KTM rider in sixth place.
He joined the Honda factory racing team in 1979 and improved to a third-place finish behind Honda teammate Graham Noyce and Suzuki’s Gerrit Wolsink in the 500cc world championship.
In 1980, he captured his first 500cc world championship as a member of the Honda factory racing team. Malherbe successfully defended his title in 1981 and in 1984 he won his third 500cc world championship for Honda, just beating Thorpe. When he retired Malherbe had 41 Grand Prix race victories which placed him fourth on the all-time winners list.
After his motocross career ended, he competed in the 1987 Spa 24 Hour round of the World Touring Car Championship. He then began to compete in rally raids on two wheels and while competing in the 1988 Paris to Dakar Rally he crashed and suffered serious injuries that left him paralysed.
Malherbe was the last of the great Belgian 500cc world champions of the 1980s to survive, following the untimely passing of Eric Geboers and Georges Jobe in recent years.
Our thoughts go to his family and friends at this difficult time.