André Malherbe, the former three-time FIM 500cc Motocross World Champion, has died at the age of sixty-six.
Born in Huy, Belgium on 21 March 1956 André first made his mark on the international off-road scene by winning the FIM 125cc Motocross European Championship in both 1973 and 1974.
Born the son of a motorcycle dealer, young Malherbe started racing at just seven years old and was always destined to reach the top after showing exceptional speed and skill even in his early days on track. André took his first World title in 1980 and was successful in defending his 500c crown the following year after having missed out on winning the 250cc series in 1977 when he finished third overall.
The Belgian warrior secured his third and final 500cc championship in 1984 before retiring from motocross with forty-one victories to his name. Soft spoken, polite but with a strong character and will to succeed, André Malherbe inspired respect, a true gentleman on and off the track. He was one of the Motocross greats of the eighties. His battles with Hakan Carlqvst and Dave Thorpe are legendary.
After racing in the 1987 Spa 24 Hour as part of the Touring Car World Championship André then went on to compete in Rally Raid events. Sadly, Malherbe crashed heavily during the 1988 Paris Dakar Rally and sustained serious injuries that left him paralysed.