Legendary Belgian motocross racer Joel Robert died Jan. 13. He was 77 years old.
Robert was a star racer during the 1960s and ’70s, amassing a career that led to his induction into the AMA Hall of Fame.
Robert won five consecutive 250cc Motocross World Championships between 1968 and ’72 and he won the Trans Am Nationals in the United States in 1970 and ’71. In all, he won six world championships and 50 grand prix events.
Robert was born into a racing family as his father, uncle and cousin also raced.
Robert earned his first world championship in 1964 riding a privateer CZ and at age 20 became the youngest world motocross champion. He became a CZ factory rider, but struggled with unreliable equipment for the next three years.
He returned to glory in 1968, winning the world championship by two points over Torsten Hallman.
He signed with Suzuki during the offseason and road the specially-built Suzuki RN250 to his third title, and the first for the manufacturer.
Robert won the title for Suzuki again in 1971 and ’72.
He began journeying to the United States to race in 1967 and was heavily involved in the launch of the Trans-AMA Series and won six straight races on the tour in the fall of 1970.