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Gaston Rahier - 1st 125cc World Champion - R.I.P.

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February 8, 2005

Gaston Rahier Has Passed Away

http://www.racerxill.com/pages/news/images/Gaston_Rahier_020805.jpg

Gaston Rahier leads Marty Smith at the 1976

Belgian 125cc Grand Prix

photo: Dick Miller Archive

Racer X is sad to report that three-time 125cc World Motocross Champion Gaston Rahier passed away yesterday after battling a long illness. The diminutive Rahier was the first-ever 125cc World Motocross Champion, winning the class in 1975 when it debuted as an FIM world title division. The next year he fought off American hero Marty Smith, then the Suzuki factory rider added a third title in 1977. He was finally dethroned by his teammate Akira Watanabe in '78.

After his motocross career ended, Rahier enjoyed success as a desert racer, participating in the notorious Paris-Dakar Rally. But he will be remembered as one of the greatest in a long line of Belgian motocross kings that included Joel Robert, Roger DeCoster, Sylvain and Eric Geboers, Harry Everts, Georges Jobe, Joel Smets, and Stefan Everts.

"Gaston was at his best on slippery tracks and when it was hard-pack and you had a little bit of rain on top," said Roger DeCoster when we spoke with him this morning. "He was just so good when it was slick. I actually raced with him back when we were on little 50s. He was always a great competitor. We also raced together in Belgium Nationals and in some of the des Nations for Team Belgium, but he was at his best on the 125." In fact, Rahier was so good that he still holds the record for most 125 GP wins: 28 total.

"I'm very sad to hear he is gone," said DeCoster.

Gaston Rahier was 58 years old.

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