Joel Robert - R.I.P.
Posted on January 13, 2021
Very sad news out of Belgian is that one of the all time greats of the sport, Joel Robert has passed away at the age of 77. The six time World champion who has struggled with his health over many years caught the corona virus and died in a hospital in Gilly, Belgium.
It is hard to even imagine how his family and close friends feel. Joel Robert was to us the fans one of the first true legends of the sport. His six World motocross championships and 50 GP wins were records in the sport for around 30 years, until Stefan Everts came along and broke them.
I was lucky enough to see Robert in the middle of his dominance when the Belgian visited Australia for an International race in 1972. I was again lucky enough to interview him on a handful of occasions when he visited a GP event, or MXdN race. I didn’t know him, but I did know his legend, and that legend will live on for many, many years. His bright smile, and cheeky character, those are the thing his friends or rivals told me about whenever I spoke to them about Joel Robert.
You could tell by the way his fellow Belgians looked at him, guys like Stefan Everts and Joel Smets will always be in awe of this friendly, happy man, who enjoyed his life as much as anyone.
Respect runs deep in the blood of the Belgian legends, and his good friends, those of Roger De Coster, Stefan Everts, Joel Smets and Sylvain Geboers will all celebrate his life as much as they will mourn his passing.
Between 1964 and 1972 Robert became world champion no less than 6 times, a record that lasted until the Stefan Everts era some 30 years later.
Joel Robert - Profile
Born: 26/11/1943 in Châtelet
Died: 13/01/2021 in Gilly
Nickname: Monsieur Motocross
6 times world champion 250cc (1964, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972)
5 times Belgian champion 250cc (1963, 1964, 1966, 1972, 1973)
Overall victory Motocross of nations 1969
50 GP victories
10 years national coach
Trophy of Sports Merit in 1965