Bob Moore reflects on his greatest Yamaha memory
Twenty-six years ago, Bob Moore became a motocross world champion after a sensational 125cc campaign with Yamaha. Today, he remains as America’s most recent FIM Motocross World Championship winner and one of the sport’s most respected champions.
Hailing from California, Moore enjoyed huge success on the American Supercross scene from a young age. At just 18, Moore claimed his first title in his debut season, winning the 1985 AMA 125 West Coast Supercross Championship, before making the journey across the Atlantic to Europe to realise his dream of racing in the FIM Motocross World Championship.
His ambitions didn’t stop there though, Moore was insistent on becoming a world champion and he wouldn’t be making the journey back home until that goal was fulfilled.
Riding on mainly privately-run bikes in the 125cc Motocross World Championship, Moore’s talents didn’t go unnoticed. In his first three seasons, the American was a consistent front-runner, finishing in the championship’s top 10 before a breakout 1989 campaign, where he claimed fourth in the overall standings.
In 1990, Moore was runner-up in the 125cc championship, beating the likes of Stefan Everts but the following year he got closer than ever, missing out on the title by just nine points to the Belgian, who would become motocross’ most successful world championship rider.
Ahead of the 1992 campaign, Yamaha signed Moore to race for them in the 250cc Motocross World Championship and despite it being his maiden foray into the class, the American would once again claim runner-up spot behind fellow Yamaha rider Donny Schmit, helping the marque to the manufacturers’ title.
A world title worth waiting for
After a quiet 1993 season, which included an injury at Foxhills, Moore switched back to the 125cc world championship for 1994, as Yamaha had just introduced a re-designed YZ125, tuned by Michelle Rinaldi.
It was a winning combination right from the get-go, as Moore claimed the overall win in round one at Gallarate, Italy, taking a second overall victory of the season at round three in Carlos Paz, Argentina.
Further Grand Prix victories in Sweden and Germany followed, and heading into the penultimate round at Foxhills, Moore was closing in on that elusive first title. At the track that saw him hospitalised the previous year, the American was in fine form, taking victory in race one to edge even closer, as long-time rival Alessio Chiodi could only manage fifth.
The Italian bounced back to win in race two, but Moore’s level ride to second gave him a near unassailable lead of 36 points in the standings, meaning he just needed four points in Borgloom, Belgium to be crowned champion.
In Belgium, Moore never panicked and dominated the opening moto to take the 1994 125cc Motocross World Championship honours. He had little time to celebrate, but won again in the second race to round off the season just as he had started it, with a Grand Prix victory.
Moore continued to contest the 125cc and 250cc classes, eventually taking 28 race wins across his career and enjoyed a successful career as team manager. He also kickstarted the famous Road 2 Recovery Foundation and in 2017 was enlisted into the AMA Hall of Fame to honour his achievements in the sport.
Words and pic: Yamaha Motor Europe N.V.