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Godspeed Joel Robert: 1943-2021

Six-time world 250champion Joel Robert has died in hospital in Belgium. He was 77-years-old.

Last week he was rushed into hospital after initially being released suffering from Covid-19. He had a heart attack and was put into an induced coma but he never recovered. In recent times, he had several strokes and suffered from diabetes.

Robert won 50 GPs, a record he would hold until Stefan Everts broke the record 17 years ago. Robert also played a role in the introduction of the sport of motocross in the USA by participating in the 1970 and 1971 Trans-AMA motocross series. He acted in the movie On Any Sunday with Steve McQueen.

Robert won the 1964 250cc world championship as a twenty-year-old privateer riding a CZ, becoming the youngest motocross world champion at the time

He won three titles on CZ before going to Suzuki, alongside the Belgian powerhouse team of Roger De Coster and Sylvain Geboers. In honour of Belgium’s national colour of yellow, Suzuki changed its motocross bikes from its trademark blue and silver to yellow. It was Robert’s idea.

He even had a song written about him, as you can see in this video:

He was also the manager of the Belgian Motocross des Nations team for 10 years. 

Robert was notorious for his lack of training as well as his cigarette smoking. He once even put his cigarette out on the crossbar of Geboers‘ handlebars while on the start line, in a race that Robert went on to win.

He is a true legend of the sport and our thoughts go to his family, friends and fans at this tough time.