Joël Robert was known as both a natural rider and a force of nature which he proved by becoming world champion in the 250 cc class at the tender age of 21 and the class that would dominate through the 1960s and into the early 1970s.

Robert took the title in 1964 for the Czech brand CZ and also in 1968 and 1969 before switching to Suzuki, where three more consecutive titles followed.

Robert’s big rival, especially in Belgium, was Sylvain Geboers and there is a legendary anecdote in which chain smoker Robert puts out his cigarette on the steering wheel of Geboers just before the start of one particular in which he went on the win.

Sadly, Robert had his foot taken off in 2018 due to diabetes. He also suffered from lung problems and suffered a few strokes.

At the beginning of the year, he ended up in hospital with coronavirus. There his condition deteriorated rapidly. He was put into a coma and eventually his candle, like the cigarette on Geboers’s steering wheel, quietly extinguished.


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