There was a double cause for celebration for Stefan Everts and the Yamaha L&M Motocross Team at Teutschenthal near Halle in the German province of Sachsen Anhalt on Sunday, April 28. The reigning World 500cc MX champion not only scored his first victory of his '02 campaign in search of a record 6th world title, Stefan also became the most successful rider in Motocross Grand Prix history with the 51st GP win of his truly astounding career.

This was the latest high point of a remarkable return to the top since the 29-year-old Belgian climbed aboard the Yamaha factory's fabulous YZ500FM four-stroke machine, the flagship of their off-road fleet, last year following two injury-hit seasons which had threatened to end his career prematurely.

A total eight victories in one of the most competitive motocross championship in the world since Everts joined the Rinaldi Yamaha team are a tribute not only to the personal perseverance to overcome the odds in the face of adversity, but also to the warm and highly successful relationship between rider, team and Yamaha.

It was way back in June 1972 that the legendary Joel Robert had set the seal on an heroic career in motocross. In front of a huge crowd at Kishinev, in the Moldavian Republic of the then Soviet Union, Robert hammered to the 50th GP victory of his illustrious career and clinched his 6th World champion title.

Robert was destined never to win either a GP or a World title again as a rider, but many felt at the time that his records might remain for eternity. They had been proved wrong! Five months after that heroic day, just over the Holland-Belgian border from Valkenswaard in the village of Bree, the wife of a promising young GP rider Harry Everts, himself to become a four-times World champion, gave birth to a son, named Stefan.

Now manager of the Belgian team for the Motocross des Nations, 58-year-old Robert paid glowing tribute to Everts nine months before the record-breaking win as he witnessed the present day giant of the sport equal his record of 29 years standing at the infamous Citadelle circuit in the southern Belgian city of Namur;"When Stefan got hurt for two years, a lot of people thought that he was finished. I didn't agree, but even I didn't think it was possible for him to make such a comeback in the 500 GPs so quickly. At the beginning of 2001 I expected him to make it back to the first three, but he is again right at the top, back to the level he was before his injuries. "Stefan is a guy with a lot of talent, but he will also work, work, work until he achieves his aims. He told me many years ago his biggest ambition was to beat my records. I have known Stefan since he was a little kid, and I remember him asking me as a teenager if I would be angry if he beats my records one day. I still have to smile about that.

"Stefan is a nice guy, a Belgian guy, a friend, a great rider, and I cannot think of anybody I would rather see take my records. I have had them for long enough, and he still has time to beat my other remaining record and he can do it. He still has three, four years at the top at least."

Stefan confirms that he has devoted a lifetime to becoming the most successful motocrosser the world has ever known: "The biggest incentive for me was Joel Robert. He was the one who put the records there, and I always looked up to him. I have been counting the GP's for years. Even when I was only halfway to equalling Joel's record, I was thinking to myself, only 25 to go. I was so focused."