It was with great sadness that we learned of the passing, due to cancer, of one of the all time motocross greats this week – Five time World Champion George Jobe.
The determined Belgian was also second in the World four times to underline just what a constant top class performer he was for over a decade.
Jobe is probably most famous for jumping the bomb hole at Hawkstone, and for many fans, especially in the UK, that will be their defining memory of the great man. In many ways it epitomises what Jobe was all about, hard as nails and determined to do whatever it took to get the victory.
Winning world championships against the likes of Thorpe, Geboers and Malherbe, Jobe raced in the glory days of the 500s, but also won titles two 250 World titles demonstrating his versatility. Jobe would claim his fifth and final World title in his final year of GP racing in 1992 at Roggenburg in Switzerland with one final hard fought GP title battle, this time with Britain’s Kurt Nicoll.
Jobe went out on top as a rider but he was never far from the sport in retirement and successfully coached riders such as David Phillipearerts and Arnaud Tonus.
Georges was born a fighter and winner and he needed all these qualities after a bad accident in 2007 in Dubai that left him paralysed. In maybe what was his most impressive victory ever, he overcame his injuries with sheer will and unbelievable determination.
Doctors told Jobe he probably wouldn’t walk again, but the single minded Belgian refused to listen and spent hours and hours every day in extreme pain doing exercises to slowly but surely regain some movement in his legs. He was doing more than the doctors recommended and had a pain threshold higher than many mere mortals – but Jobe was determined going to go through the pain barrier to get back on his feet, and of course, he did it, much to the doctors disbelief.
In 2010 I was at the Hawstone International and stood beside Jobe overlooking the bomb hole he made famous as he went from side to side on the track keeping an eye on his young rider Arnaud Tonus.
The passion for the sport was still evident, Jobe, stopwatch in hand, timed every lap Tonus was doing. He never took his eyes off the young Swiss rider and would stop him in practice to impart his wisdom when he felt it was needed. He was walking again, it still wasn’t easy for him to get around the track but Jobe pushed on relentlessly, he had a job to do and he was going to do it.
As the news of his death reached the motocross world, tributes and condolences came pouring in from riders past and present such as Ken Roczen, Stefan Everts, Gordon Crockard, Danny Laporte, Gary Semics and Marc De Reuver as well as countless fans who will cherish the memories they have of seeing him race or meeting him is person for the rest of their lives.
It is sad that this great sportsman and motocross legend had to die so young when he still had so much left to give, but in his time on earth he achieved and overcame more than 99% of the population and left a legacy that will inspire many for generations to come.
Georges Jobe, thanks for the memories.
For more check this Video of Hawkstone ….[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jY7xnFoA1C0[/youtube]
By Jonathan McCready