Anthony Gobert commenced his racing career at 10 years of age. His first events were of the dirt track variety where he was immediately successful before turning his hand to motocross at age 11.
His run of success in Australian Motocross has been heralded as perhaps the most amazing ever. His achievements on the dirt over the following teenage years resulted in 17 Australian Motocross and short circuit Championships, a New Zealand Championship and 32 State Titles.
By the age of 16 Anthony had won everything there was to win in Australian Junior Motocross and joined the Senior scene where his domination continued. He convincingly won the Australian 125 Supercross Championship. He also raced in the 250 class which made for a hectic schedule at each round, but he managed to add a 3rd place in the 250 Supercross Championship to his outright 125 Championship win.
Anthony also excelled on the motocross circuit and in the same year as his Supercross Championship win he also finished 2nd in the Australian 125 Motocross Championship, 3rd on the 250 and 4th in 500. Never had a young rider made such an instant impact with what was an incredible debut year on the senior scene.
At 17 Anthony won the Peter Jackson Supercross Masters Series and the Queensland Supercross Championship. He also had his first foray on to the tar with a 2nd place finish at a Lakeside round of the 250 Production Championship. He then went on to win the AGV Cup and also won the 250 Production events staged in conjunction with the Australian round of the World SuperBike Championship.
He then stepped on to a Superbike and was victorious on debut at the Phillip Island ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ meeting. His talent was obvious and he was contracted to Honda Racing Australia for the 1993 season. At 17, he became the youngest ever rider to secure a factory-backed superbike ride.
Anthony recorded three top-ten finishes from four starts in the 1993 Australian Superbike Championship. His best placed finish was 5th in Tasmania. A fall cost him a chance at 4th place in the championship. Nevertheless this was quite an achievement against much more experienced racers like Robbie Phillis, Michael Dowson and Scott Doohan in what was his first full year of road racing.
1994 saw Anthony get access to the new RC45 Honda which he used to great effect by beating Marty Craggill and Mat Mladin to the 1994 Australian Superbike Championship.
HRC invited Anthony to compete in the Sugo round of the World Superbike Championship, here he was the highest qualifying Honda and recorded 8th and 6th place finishes. All eyes were on the young Australian.
Kawasaki was impressed and contracted Anthony to ride for them in the coming 1995 World Superbike Championship.
But he got an even earlier chance to ride the ZX-7RR at the Australian round of the World Championship in 1994. What happened next is firmly etched into the minds of motorcycle racing fans around the world. Anthony smashed the superbike lap record to qualify on pole, ahead of championship leader and team-mate Scott Russell. Race 1 saw Anthony bow to race orders and allow Scott Russell to finish in front of him. Anthony was let off the leash in race 2 and comprehensively dominated the event to win the race by 14 seconds over Carl Fogarty. One of the largest winning margins ever recorded in World Superbike history at that stage of the game.
1995 was Anthony’s first full season in the World Championship and he put in some fantastic performances to take race wins, including another memorable Phillip Island victory, and was fourth overall at the end of the 1995 season. The next best placed Kawasaki was tenth in the championship that year.
Anthony suffered some injuries in 1996 and missed nearly half the season. When fit enough to ride Anthony took pole positions and race wins to secure 8th overall in the 1996 World Superbike Championship despite missing four rounds. Again Phillip Island was the highlight, Anthony scoring a double victory to close out the season.
Anthony secured a ride with the Lucky Strike Suzuki squad in World 500 Grand Prix for 1997. This was a particularly troublesome year for the RG500 Suzuki, with Anthony getting repeatedly thrown to the deck by a rash of engine seizures. A terrible year in what so far had been a truly stellar career. Then his career was put on hold as the result of a drug suspension.
‘The Go Show’, as he had been now affectionately dubbed, then headed to America. He campaigned a Ducati for the Vance & Hines Team in both 1998 and 1999. Only Miguel Duhamel scored more race wins than Anthony during 1998.
Anthony then looked certain to win the 1999 Championship before some shoulder injuries put an early end to his season. His fantastic performances before that point still meant that Anthony only fell back to third place in the championship results after missing the final races. Nevertheless he still finished the 1999 season with more race wins than any other rider. A highlight of the year was a race win in the American round of the World SuperBike Championship at Laguna Seca after he was granted a wildcard entry to the event. Anthony had also set a new lap record during qualifying for Daytona earlier in the year.
2000 saw Anthony return to a full-time ride in the World Superbike Championship, this time with troubled Italian company Bimota. With no pre-season testing Anthony managed top-ten finishes during the season on a machine which nobody expected to be competitive against the now totally dominant machines from Ducati and Honda. But at Phillip Island Anthony took a fantastic race win in wet conditions. This extended Anthony’s Phillip Island record to five wins from eight World Superbike starts at the fast Australian circuit. An engine seizure caused a massive crash in Japan which left Anthony severely battered and bruised. Late in the 2000 season Anthony was told that Bimota was entering bankruptcy and the team folded.
American GP legend Kenny Roberts Senior then invited Anthony to ride for his Modenas GP squad at the Donington round of the championship. With no practice time on the bike Anthony managed to finish 15th. This was one of the highest placing finishes of the Modenas team during the whole season. Anthony was offered a further ride on the machine at the final round of the world championship. However Anthony decided that the machine was not competitive enough and instead accepted an offer to compete in the final three races of the British Superbike Championship with the Virgin Yamaha squad. Anthony also scored a wildcard ride on the Yamaha during the British round of the World Superbike Championship where he was heading for a podium finish before being taken out by another rider.
Anthony headed back to America in 2001, this time with the factory Yamaha squad to campaign in both the American Superbike and Supersport Championships. Anthony took some fantastic wins in both Superbike and Supersport but crashes and mechanical failures cost him any chance in the Superbike Championship. However Anthony did take 2nd place in 2001 AMA Supersport Championship on the much more competitive R6 machine.
2002 saw Anthony with Yamaha America again. His season was plagued with injuries sustained while trying to wring every last ounce of speed out of the R7 Yamaha, and his troubles off the track were really coming to a head.
Anthony signed with the Ducati Austin Racing Team for the 2003 American season. Things looked rosy at the opening round of the season when Anthony looked set for a win at Daytona before his machine expired. From there on mixed results followed, as Anthony’s struggles off the track once again got the better of him, and his career as a professional road racer was over.
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