I was going to write a happy new year, welcome to 2024 editorial today but deeply saddening news has arrived... Instead, I will tell you my Anthony Gobert story. Please comment with yours. He was a bright light for many and achieved amazing things...
Just about every rider over the age of 35 has a Go Show story to tell, a way that Anthony impacted them, influenced them, or inspired them – or sometimes pissed them off! It is safe to say, Anthony was a character and shone brighter than the average human being.
Gobert won everything there was to win on the dirt. As a young motocross and supercross fan, I was in awe of Anthony. Here was this superhuman, only one month older than me, and already a multiple (I mean dozens) supercross and motocross champion in the junior ranks. I would ride my RM80 around the local laneways in my Go The Rat jersey and imagine I was The Go Show… He was the real deal!
I remember he went to the senior ranks and again, being the same age of about 16, I could not believe this guy was racing up front with all the big names on the big bikes. Can you imagine being the fastest rider in the country on a 250 when you are only 16? And even riding up front on a KX500 as well?
By the age of 17, 1993, and I remember clearly as I just started my apprenticeship at Willing Motorcycles and Gobert was still a name purely associated with supercross and motocross, he seemingly exploded onto the superbike scene. He had ridden (and won) some 250 proddie races (again, unreal, straight off the dirt and winning at Shell Oils Series level – the then ASBK).
“He arrived in the motorcycle racing scene with the same impact that Nirvana made when they released Nevermind. It was fresh, fun, connected with an entire generation that were begging for something alternative… What a legend…”
To me, Anthony was a God. I’m up the Old Pacific Highway on a weekend in 1993 riding up and down on my TZR250, on P Plates, and this guy the same age as me is a factory superbike rider! But for me, it was 1994 and 1995 that Anthony ‘The Go Show’ Gobert truly made an impact on my life. Without going too deep, 1994 saw me move to a big, bright, modern bike shop in Sydney, a Kawasaki dealership called Parry’s Kawasaki. It was also sadly a year of extreme personal tragedy for me, and at the same time one of the best years of my life. It’s strange how that happens…
I could have gone either way with life at that point, but I focussed on bikes to get me through and with a bit of a push from my bosses Ian and Bill Furlong, work colleages including the late Wazza Maguire, and a previous push from my ex-boss Len Willing, I started planning to begin racing from late 1994. The late nights building my RGV250, the Gobert posters (then on an RC45) as motivation… Nirvana on JJJ… I could go on.
What happened later that year when Anthony stepped on to the Muzzys Kawasaki at Phillip Island WorldSBK round is a thing of legend. Etched in the minds of millions of fans. It was the most inspirational thing I had ever seen in my life, and I still recall it when I need something to motivate me and give me a push. The next few performances there were equally as thrilling, and who can forget the wet win on the Bimota?
The Go Show had arrived, and the hype was like nothing there had ever been. The 1995 WorldSBK season was so exciting… He added colour and fun, incredible battles and made racing cool. He arrived in the scene with the same impact that Nirvana made when they released Nevermind. It was fresh, fun, connected with an entire generation that were begging for something alternative… What a legend…
The leathers off and throwing into the crowd at Phillip Island… man, what an epic stunt. One of so, so many. Watching from afar, as a fan, I only ever saw a smiling, laughing, happy human being (well, he was an alien on a bike). Millions of us never knew what was going on inside that head of his. We don’t need to go down that track… But it must have been so difficult for him and his family… Fame like that at that age?
Back at the Kawasaki dealership, things changed rapidly. They say what wins on Sunday sells on Monday. Well let me tell you, we were busy pre delivering Kawasaki ZXR750s and then ZX-7R for years, daily, after Anthony hit the scene. Every fan wanted a ZXR and a Gobert replica AGV. It was crazy… and exciting, and that was just one shop of hundreds around the globe that would have been experiencing the Go Show hype…
I first saw Anthony face to face in a somewhat disappointing experience, but it was a reality check for me as a dreamer. I was in the 250cc Production support race at the 1996 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix. We had to pit on the dirt and grass, where the skid pan is now. I had a very old L300 van, a blue tarp, and my bike. But I was in awe of the GP paddock and had access to it… it was a dream.
On the Sunday night as I was packing my van, I heard a loud engine revving. It was a Porsche doing donuts in the paddock. Crazy… I don’t know if it was Anthony, but I think he had a Porsche by then. Not long later, I finished packing and went for one last look along the back of the garages.
There I saw Anthony at the back of the Lucky Strike Suzuki garage holding a stubby of VB beer in each hand, getting spoken to by a security guard. I was shocked… I am not sure what was going on but news had only just recently broken that he had signed with the team to race 500 in 1997…
I remember driving home in my old van that night, just thinking how two worlds could be so different. I was hanging for a beer but I didn’t even have enough money after the weekend to buy a longneck! I also had trouble getting the max out of an RGV250, let alone a 500! I realised I had to make some other career out of my racing, which worked out OK. I was still stoked to have seen Gobert in the flesh!
The thousands of posts and comments about Anthony’s passing already on social media really say something about this man…
Over the years ahead, I would become a publisher and meet Anthony many times at a professional level and at various race meetings, and he would always say hi and have a chat. I only saw his troubled side out in the open two more times after that GP, and aside from that, it was always a really positive experience. I even had the pleasure of sharing a track with him when I rode the Joe Rocket Honda superbike in an ASBK round one year and Anthony was also on a Honda for the weekend… I kept racing (actually for 23 years funnily enough) and I was lucky to witness Alex and Aaron Gobert come through the ranks here then go on to stellar International careers.
Because he is an independent publisher like me, Alex and I had a few years there collaborating and helping each other out in various ways. Alex and I have travelled together and ridden together a lot. He is successful and a great guy, and I’ve met Aaron many times through my media work. Like Anthony, they are humble, polite, and freakishly talented on motorcycles, but Anthony was next level, next level to anyone in the world, even Rossi says ‘Gobert’ was the most gifted rider… I know his brothers and family tried to help him beat his demons over the years. I really feel for them all.
The thousands of posts and comments about Anthony’s passing already on social media really say something about this man. He was only on the scene at the very peak of his career for a short period in the scheme of things, but he made more of an impact than any rider in our generation… I do wish he could read all of the comments of love and support. Maybe he can. Hopefully he is up there ripping a massive wheelie! Rip #23. Once a hero, always a hero. Thanks for the memories, you put thousands of people onto two wheels and inspired hundreds of thousands of people….
Note: If we have published an image of Anthony that you own, please contact us to discuss…
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Early Life and Career
- Born March 5th 1975 in Greenarce, NSW
- Begins his career in dirt racing aged 10
- 1989 – Wins the New Zealand Supercross Championships 12-13 years old category
- 1990 – Wins the New Zealand Supercross Championships 14-15 years old category
- 1990 – Wins the Australian Restricted License Holders title
- 1991 – He becomes the youngest ever rider to win both the 1991 125cc Australian Supercross Championship and 250cc National Supercross titles
- 1992 – Leads from the start and wins the premier 250cc class against names like Glen Bell, Craig Dack and Eddie Warren
- 1993 – Anthony leaves dirt racing to pursue road racing
Early WorldSBK Career
- 1993 – Gobert races in the Australian Superbikes quickly climbing the ranks of 250 Proddie and Superbike Class riding an RGV250 and Honda RC30
- 1994 – Gobert wins the Australian Superbike Championship on a Honda RC45
- 1994 – He makes his debut in World Superbikes on a Honda for one round at Sugo, Japan
- 1994 – Gobert switches to Kawasaki for the Australian round, gets a podium in Race 1 before winning Race 2… On his Kawasaki debut at 19 years old.
- 1995 – Anthony signs with Kawasaki for a full WorldSBK season under the management of the legendary Rob Muzzy.
- 1995 – The Go-Show wins three races and scores three podiums in his first full time season
- 1995 – He finishes the season in fourth behind the WSBK regulars – Carl Fogarty, Troy Corser and Aaron Slight.
- 1996 – Gobert wins three more races on the Kawasaki including a clean sweep at his home race of Phillip Island
Gobert Goes To 500GP!
- 1997 – Gobert replaces Scott Russell on the factory Lucky Strike Suzuki team
- 1997 – Scores a best finish of seventh at the Austrian GP
- 1997 – Dismissed from the team mid-season
AMA Superbikes And Success A Wildcard
- 1998 – Signs with the Vance & Hines Ducati Team
- 1998 – See’s success aboard the Ducati, proving he can ride anything given to him
- 1999 – Gobert wins a WorldSBK Race at Laguna Seca as a Wildcard! A clean sweep was in sight before he came off and his teammate won Race 2
- 1999 – Back to 500GP for three rounds with MuZ Walker Team
The Final Years Of Gobert’s Career
- 2000 – Signs to Bimota for a full season
- 2000 – Gobert proves he’s unbeatable at Phillip Island by scoring a win on the SB8R
- 2000 – The Bimota team folds but they name a streetbike after the Go Show, the SB8K
- 2000 – He hits the BSB championship for three rounds on the Virgin Mobile Yamaha, no wins but shows promise on a bike he was new to
- 2000 – The final time Gobert throws a leg over a 500GP machine, Kenny Roberts’ KR3 Modenas Team.
- 2001 – 2003 – The Go Show heads back to the USA for AMA to ride the YZF-R7 in the premier class and the YZF-R6 in the Supersport class. Before moving to a Ducati for 2003
- 2006 – Gobert replaces David Checa for a few rounds on the World Supersport Yamaha for two rounds.
- 2007 – Anthony’s final season on a motorcycle, racing a Kawasaki in the Australia Superbike series.