Like Joël Robert who left us almost two years ago, he was one of the Belgian giants of motorcycling, and more particularly of motocross. André Malherbe, himself the son of a former biker and nicknamed Dede Where Hollywoodtook his last flight this Thursday at the age of 66.
The track record of the biker who was recognized by his white overalls is impressive. We could remember that he was Triple 500cc World Champion (1980, 1981 and 1984), triple 500cc World Vice-Champion (1983, 1985 and 1986), winner of the FIM 125 Cup (1974 and 1975) or still triple World Champion by team in the Motocross des Nations (1977, 1979 and 1980). But what we especially remember from Hutois, a great animator in the firmament of motocross, is his panache which has given many a headache to many opponents.
When the great chapter of muddy motocross came to an end at the end of 1986 and after a brief stint on four wheels which would inspire many other motorcyclists, Malherbe succumbed to the call of the desert and embarked on the Paris-Dakar, of course on a motorcycle. This participation in the 1988 edition will unfortunately be the last. Lost in this hostile terrain, he had a very bad fall and landed on his neck. The guy can no longer feel his legs and unfortunately, in very precarious conditions, he will not be able to regain his mobility. Here he is quadriplegic and condemned to the “chair”. He had just turned 30.
It was quietly that this legend of Belgian sport let his engine roar one last time on Thursday. Up there, the discussions with Joël Robert promise to be lively.