Suzuki all-time great Gaston Rahier passed away on Saturday in Paris after a long illness. He was 58 years old.
Belgian-born Rahier was a founding member of Suzuki's participation in the 125cc Motocross World Championships. His great accomplishment of three consecutive world titles in 1975, 1976 and 1977 established Suzuki's unprecedented run of 10 consecutive world championships and he still holds the record of 29 Grand Prix victories in the 125cc class.
His motocross career came to an abrupt end in 1982 following a serious accident in which he almost lost a hand. He recovered and in 1983, participated for the first time in the demanding Paris-Dakar Rally but retired following a mechanical breakdown whilst leading. He returned in 1984 and 1985 and dominated again, becoming the first non-French rider to claim victory.
Rahier made a tremendous contribution towards making Rally racing a more widely popular sport. His Paris-Dakar and Pharaoh's Rally victories in 1984. 1985 and 1988, his professional approach towards Rallies, and his open personality made him a celebrity, known not only by fans and supporters of motorcycle sport, but also by a much wider general public.
As a member of the Belgian Motocross Team, he also won the Trophy des Nations in 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1978 and the Motocross of Nations in 1976.
Suzuki Motor Corporation wishes to express our deepest sympathy and offer our condolences to his family at this sad time.