About Rob Andrews

 

If you were a fan of British motocross during the 1980s you may well know the name Rob Andrews. If you were an avid follower of the 500cc world motocross championship from 1985 to 1990 you might also have heard of me. But, if you hadn’t discovered this great sport back then, or perhaps are from a country where 500 GP motocross wasn’t featured so heavily in the media, or simply aren’t old enough to have been around in the ‘80s, you would be completely forgiven for not knowing who I am.

That’s fine. I’m under no illusion that my impact on the world of motocross was anything other than minor and fleeting.

But, modest though my accomplishments may have been, I made my mark. I raced at the very highest level: the FIM 500cc world motocross championship. The pinnacle of motocross racing as it stood at that time. The ‘F1’ of off-road motorcycle racing. The championship series in which motocross history’s true legends and heroes built their legacies. I may have only been one of many bit-part players in the constantly-evolving cast of competitors, but I was there, and I was there on merit.  

I was fortunate (or is that unfortunate?!) that the peak years of my career coincided with some of the most outrageously talent-filled seasons the 500cc world motocross championship had ever seen. I finished ninth in the series in 1986, the year that some believe to be the zenith of 500cc grand prix motocross. And at the opening round that year, with eight current or former world champions alongside me on the start line, I finished joint-runner-up, leaving me - for seven glorious days at least - lying in second-place in the world championship standings.

I finished second in one 500 GP moto in 1987, which was my best-ever individual grand prix race result. I also raced for my country at the 1985 Motocross des Nations, where Team Great Britain, reduced to just David Thorpe and myself after a Saturday injury to our teammate Kurt Nicoll, finished a fighting fifth overall with me racing an unfamiliar and completely stock 125.

I scored a season-best finish of fifth in the ultra-competitive British motocross championship, and my GP form helped propel me to a number of second place race finishes in the domestic series.

I earned a factory ride with Kawasaki along the way, and raced in many countries around the world. I didn’t just race GP and British motocross, and you’ll also find my name in the results of such events as the Paris Supercross, the Californian Golden State series and numerous other international races around the globe.

I may not have been the greatest motocross rider, but I certainly raced against the greatest. I went bar-to-bar with world champions such as David Thorpe, André Malherbe, Eric Geboers, Håkan Carlqvist, Georges Jobé, Jacky Vimond, Graham Noyce, Neil Hudson, Heinz Kinigadner, and Harry Everts, as well as US megastars like David Bailey, Ron Lechien, Jeff Ward, and Rick Johnson. That’s global motocross royalty right there, in case you didn’t know. Occasionally, on my day, I beat many of them too.

But it certainly didn’t come easy for me. I was never a ‘Hot Prospect’. I was never ‘The Next Big Thing’. I didn’t burst onto the scene and shoot straight to the top like some. I was, for a very long time, an unremarkable amateur. An ‘Average Joe’, you might say. My progress up the elevator of motocross success was slow, incremental, and sometimes stalled. But eventually, through dedication, hard work, and a single-minded determination to never give up, I progressed beyond my wildest dreams.

My book, The Inside Line: Racing the 500cc World Motocross Championship, is the story of that remarkable journey. It tells you, the reader, how I went from a complete beginner, just like every single person who has ever raced or ridden a motocross bike, to competing - and contending - at the very highest level of the sport. It explains, in a mammoth 400+ pages and 93,000 words, just how that came to be, and the incredible things that happened along the way. And that story is beautifully illustrated from beginning to end with nearly 400 extraordinary images from some of the finest photographers in the industry.

I consider myself very privileged to have been able to take that amazing journey. And it is also my privilege to be able to share my memories of that experience to those who watched from the other side of the fence, or from afar. It was an incredible adventure, and I hope that by the end of my book you’ll know just what it was like, and understand just what it took, to be a grand prix motocross racer.

Rob Andrews