Georges Jobe and the Hawkstone double
This Nick Haskell photo of Georges Jobe jumping over the head of Andre Malherbe is arguably one of the greatest GP photographs of all time.
Taken at the British 500 Grand Prix in 1984, Jobe’s amazing pass in front of electrified crowds immortalised the Belgian, and equally secured a place in history for the obstacle itself.
The Hawkstone double jump was never conceived as such. Riders used to race down from the famous bombhole and head full bore for the finish, with only a flat out ski jump, known for many years as the ‘Girling Leap’, to interrupt their progress. As suspension improved and speeds rose, the Salop club needed to slow the riders down and so built two huge mounds, with a deep chasm in between.
I think the jump had been in existence for a while before anybody really considered having a go at the two. As a potential double it was way bigger than anything seen before on the GP circuit, and was a difficult obstacle to judge. The approach was blind, with no view of the second jump and no indication therefore of how fast and how far you needed to jump. The straight before was rough and rutted, as was all of Hawkstone, and the back side to the jump was steep and a tiny target. Overjumping wasn’t really a good idea either as it would mean flat landing from a huge height. All in all a nasty, scary obstacle.
At the ’84 British GP a team of three American riders came over, sponsored by French clothing and accessory firm Motocross Marketing. Eric McKenna, Eric Eaton and Phil Larson were all riding Honda’s I believe. The exact details seem to have been lost in the cloudiness of time, but one of these guys was the first to attempt and clear the jump, and Phil Larson can be seen executing the deed comfortably in the photos on the right.
Georges Jobe was soon to follow, and subsequently several other riders had a crack, with differering levels of success. Eric Geboers was the most noticeable casualty, when he overjumped, flat landed it and broke his tib/fib in the resulting impact!
David Thorpe attempted it too, casing it hard. He chose to not jump it again, but still went on to win both motos!
Jobe meanwhile, jumped confidently and consistently, and used the jump on and off throughout the races, passing Belgian championship rival Malherbe in moto 2.
In the twelve months or so following the GP a few other domestic riders successfully cleared the Hawkstone double. Scotsman Paul Chiappa was the first Brit I believe, as well as Scott Gardner. However, following pressure from the ACU and FIM, who had implemented a blanket ban on double jumps on safety grounds, Hawkstone’s most famous obstacle was converted into a tabletop soon after.
The collection of photos are courtesy of various members of the UK based MXTrax vintage forum who collectively brought this historic moment back to life recently with these never-before-seen snapshots from those who were there and witnessed it first hand. Thanks guys.
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Images: Nick Haskell, Dave King, Andy Wickham, Notsomellowyellow