Georges Jobe: 1961 – 2012
Georges Jobe will always be one of the true legends of Motocross with five World Motocross Championships, 31 Grand Prix victories, several Belgian Championships; and a victory at the 1980 Motocross of Nations. Here, courtesy of Suzuki and Geoff Meyer is just part of the story of the former Suzuki GP and world MX Championship rider, who lost his battle with leukaemia, aged 51, on December 19th:
Belgium has something called the Magnificent Seven: Seven riders who reached for the stars and brought the country to the top of the sport; riders like Stefan Everts, Joel Robert, Joel Smets, Eric Geboers, Roger De Coster, Harry Everts and Georges Jobe, who captured 40 World titles between them.
For Jobe, his first success came while racing for the Suzuki and winning his first World title in the 1980 World 250cc Championship. He then went on to add the Motocross of Nations team event to his list of successes.
In 1981, Jobe missed-out on the 250cc title to British rider Neil Hudson by just two points (235 for Hudson, 233 for Jobe) in a battle fought until the very end. Only a knee injury late in the season stopped Jobe from helping Suzuki to another World Motocross Championship.
A year later, American Danny Laporte won the World 250cc Championship after a torrid season-long battle with Jobe. The season ended with 238 points to Laporte and 225 to Jobe. It wasn’t the first, or last time, Jobe would fight until the very end, with more World Motocross Championships won or lost by a handful of points.
Laporte summed up the competitive attitude of Jobe, but also the guy who loved life and wanted to get everything out of it he could.
He said: “RIP Georges, you were the best; you made my career worth it all! You are right; we might have fought on the track, but were buddies after the flag! Adieu mon ami!”
Again on his trusted Suzuki, Jobe would get the better of Laporte in 1983, winning easily as he cruised to his second World Motocross Championship. But it was another close loss for Jobe in 1984 as he moved to the 500cc class as fellow Belgian Andre Malherbe took the title, with Jobe just 11 points off the final tally at the end of the season (370 to 359 points).
Jobe raced in an era of greats, his main rivals being names such as Geboers, Malherbe and Briton Dave Thorpe. In the 1986 World 500cc Championship, Jobe finished in fourth place, but this will go down as one of the most dramatic Championships in the sports history as the top four riders finished the season with just 20 points separating them. Thorpe would be crowned with 316 points, while Jobe had 296 points.
As he did in his two previous World Championships, Jobe won easily in 1987, scoring nearly 50 points more than second-placed man Kurt Nicoll. With a third World title in his pocket, the Belgian grew in confidence, although injury and bad luck saw him have a couple of poor years before he fought back once again to win the 1991 and 1992 World 500cc Championships, equalling fellow Suzuki greats Roger De Coster and fellow Belgian Eric Geboers with five World Motocross Championships apiece.
In 2006, Jobe helped KTM start up its assault on the FIM World Motocross Championships as Team Manager; and in recent years he has also helped many riders from Kevin Strijbos, Anthony Boissiere and Arnaud Tonus. (Tonus a former young Suzuki MX2 team hopeful and Strijbos, who is back on the Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 team for 2013).
After retiring in 1992, Jobe suffered a terrible accident in Dubai in 2007, breaking his back – an injury that would once again see his mental strength shine through as doctors told him he would never walk again. Months later, he was back on his feet; and while the injury prevented him from enjoying 100% fitness, he worked hard to get as much from his body as possible.
He knew this would be a hard fight to win, and having nearly passed away in September, he remained ever-positive that he would win – as he always believed on the track. He had seen enough fights in his life, always knuckled down; and got on with the job. Jobe was not a person to sit back and let something take over his life or body without doing everything in his power to overcome it. Unfortunately on the 19th of December 2012, Georges Jobe lost his last fight; the fight against cancer.
The legacy that Jobe will leave behind will be one of a man who never gave up, who fought for every single thing he received in life; and a person who said what he thought. Georges Jobe will be missed by many and his passing is a sad moment for the sport of Motocross.
Photo of Georges by Geoff Meyer