‘Papa’ Lejeune passes away

Pepe Lejeune
Jean ‘Pepe’ Lejeune riding one of his special Honda machines around 1966 – Photo courtesy of Lejeune family Dison, Belgium.

JEAN ‘Pepe’ LEJEUNE – 20 October 1926 – 6 July 2016 – “Thank You for Everything”

Jean ‘Papa’ Lejeune, known by the moniker ‘Papa’ by UK trials enthusiasts, but he was also known to all in Belgium as ‘Pepe’ the father of the three famous Belgian trials riders, Jean-Marie, Eddy and Eric Lejeune and daughter Chantelle, has passed away at the age of 89 years. He was the undisputed head of the Lejeune family.

2011 ssdt (1)
Eric; Jean ‘Papa’; Eddy; Jean-Marie and Mrs. Lejeune at the 2011 Scottish Six Days Trial – Photo courtesy: John Hulme/Trial Magazine UK

Lejeune was an enthusiastic competitor on home built Honda machines and was a passionate supporter of the sport of trials in his own country and world-wide effectively creating a trials dynasty. He ran the successful family plastics business in Dison, near Verviers which was called Plastiflac-Lejeune B.E, this helped to finance his middle son, Eddy to contest the world trials series. Eddy became world champion three times in 1982-1984 during a career riding for the mighty Honda Racing Corporation with whom he signed in 1979 at the age of sixteen. Eddy was also Belgian national champion seven times and eldest son, Jean-Marie was Belgian national champion three times and was brother Eddy’s mentor.

1986 Eric Lejeune + Papa
1986 Scottish Six Days – ‘Pepe’ inspects the RTL250 of youngest son Eric Lejeune – Photo courtesy of Mark Lamplough

The ingenious Lejeune made Eddy his first trials machine based on an SS50 Honda. In fact he built many special Honda trials machines for himself and his sons over the years.

1986 Lejeune RTL
1986 Scottish Six Days, ‘Pepe’ Lejeune (Red sweater) in the middle of things with son Eddy’s factory RTL270S. Eddy Lejeune on the left, mechanic Derrick Edmondson in the Rothmans top facing away from camera – Photo courtesy, Mark Lamplough


2011 ssdt (2)
The three Lejeune brothers: From left, Jean-Marie; Eddy and Eric at the 2011 Scottish Six Days Trial – Photo courtesy: John Hulme/Trial Magazine UK

Former World Trials Champion, Yrjo Vesterinen paid tribute and said: “The first time I had the pleasure of meeting ‘Pepe’ Lejeune was in 1970 in a bar in Dison, where the organising committee was based for the European Championship. It didn’t matter to him that I was a seventeen year old unknown youngster, who was struggling to understand where our Hotel was situated. Pepe straight away offered to take us there. It was the first time in my life I had sat in the back seat of a big Mercedes car. What a nice start for a memorable week-end in Belgium. ‘Pepe’ Lejeune was a larger than life character, a great ambassador for Belgium and the world of trials”.

Trials Guru will surely not be alone in sending sincere condolences to the Lejeune family at their loss.

13/07/2016 – Sadly, only seven days after the death of her husband, Mrs Lejeune slipped away.

Lejeune - EL
Mr. & Mrs. Lejeune – Photo courtesy of Eric Lejeune, Dison

Photos: John Hulme/Trial Magazine UK

: Mark Lamplough, Scarborough

: Lejeune Family, Dison, Belgium

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s