Joël Robert (born 26 November 1943 in Châtelet, Belgium) is a Belgian former professional motocross racer who won the 250cc Motocross World Championship six times including five times in succession from 1968 to 1972.
Motorcycle racing career
Robert began his career in motocross racing career in the early 1960s, racing in the European motocross championship. In 1962, the European championship was granted world championship status by the FIM. Robert won the 1964 250cc world championship as a twenty-year-old privateer riding a CZ motorcycle, becoming the youngest motocross world champion at the time. In 1965 he became a factory sponsored rider for the Czechoslovakian firm CZ. Robert won the 250cc crown for CZ again in 1968 and 1969. For the 1970 season, Robert was wooed from CZ by the Japanese manufacturer Suzuki, who was seeking to make inroads into the European dominated sport. He continued his winning streak with Suzuki by capturing the 250cc Grand Prix championship in 1970, 1971 and 1972. His record of 50 motocross Grand Prix victories stood for more than 30 years until it was broken by fellow Belgian, Stefan Everts, in 2004.
Robert is remembered as one of the most naturally talented motocross riders in history. In one of the most physically demanding disciplines in sports, he was notorious for his lack of training as well as his cigarette smoking. He once even put his cigarette out on the crossbar of Sylvain Geboers's handlebars while on the start line at a series finale, which Robert eventually won. American Grand Prix motocross racer, Jim Pomeroy, commented on Robert's impressive physical strength in an interview, recalling how he watched him lift the rear end of a small car.
Robert was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000. Today, he continues his involvement in motocross by acting as manager for Belgium's Motocross des Nations team.
Motocross grand prix results