Eddy Lejeune and Honda: 3 Trial World titles
Born on 4 April 1961, Belgian rider Eddy Lejeune started to ride very young, following his elder brother, and immediately showed very good riding skills. In 1979 he was chosen by Honda to ride the recently-built single-cylinder four-stroke Trial factory motorcycle in the World Championship. He won his first event in Belgium in 1980 and, with two more wins he finished in fourth place. He did the same in 1981 (two wins and a 4th place in the World Championship classification). Success came in 1982, with two wins right at the beginning of the season (Spain and Belgium) and a total of eight victories in 12 rounds.
This first title was followed by two others in 1983 (8 wins) and 1984 (6 wins). The qualities of a four-stroke engine, its torque in low rpms and the great ability of Lejeune allowed him to dominate the Championship during that period, in which the Trial discipline met a significant development in performances – riders and motorcycles being able to cross obstacles largely higher than themselves…this fact helped to make Trial sport each time more spectacular, bringing bigger crowds at World Championship events. In the following seasons, Eddy Lejeune kept on fighting for the title; he ended in second in 1985 and third in 1986. At the end of 1987, Honda did not renew his contract, and after a couple of years with Montesa he put an end to his career in 1990.
Text Marc Pétrier - Photo HRC