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.
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.
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.
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.
During the ninteen-seventies, Honda Motor Company decided to create a purely ‘Racing’ division, separate from their normal motorcycle production activities and core businesses. This saw the advent of Racing Service Center Corporation or ‘RSC‘ for short. Later, in September 1982, they developed from RSC, Honda Racing Corporation or HRC for short, which exists to this day and controls the racing activites of Honda. HRC produce and sell racing/competition motorcycles and spare parts. The parts, although well made and of high specification, are by their nature, not warranted for street use as they are for ‘racing applications only’. HRC European headquarters are based in Aalst in Belgium. The world HQ is at Asaka, Saitama, Japan. Below we can see some of RSC & HRC’s creations over the years.
The RTL250SW was for factory Honda riders only, not available for general sale and had the single down tube frame with offset exhaust port.
The 1982 Honda/HRC RTL360 shown above was once the factory machine of World Champion, Belgian, Eddy Lejeune.
Jean Caillou, a French trials enthusiast who has a passion for the Honda brand was fortunate enough to meet with Lejeune at his home in Belgium. It was during this meeting that Eddy revealed that he still had the 1982 ex-factory machine in his possession. The RTL360 was disassembled, but all the parts were there at Eddy’s house.
Jean Caillou: “I met with Eddy Lejuene at his home and he explained that he had just bought his daughter a horse. So he presented me with the invoice for the horse and said that if I paid him the same figure that he had just recently paid for the horse, then I could have the Honda. I did not hesitate further and the deal was agreed. I had effectively paid for Eddy’s daughter’s horse, but I now owned the Eddy Lejeune 360!”
Eddy Lejeune from Verviers, Belgium was three times FIM World Trials Champion (1982-1984) and seven times Belgian National Champion (1980-1986). He rode Honda for the majority of his trials career, switching to the Spanish Merlin in 1988 and then to the Honda owned Montesa for 1989/90 when he retired from top flight trials.
Team HRC Trial – Repsol Honda Team continues to reinforce its roster of world-class riders with the incorporation of young gun Jaime Busto into the team for the 2015 season.
Repsol Honda Team Trial gets a boost in 2015 with the arrival of Jaime Busto. The Spanish rider will line up alongside Toni Bou and Takahisa Fujinami in all events on the 2015 FIM World Championship calendar in Trial Outdoor, as well as taking part in the 2015 Spanish Trial Championship. Busto will compete in all top-level competitions on the Montesa Cota 4RT.
Jaime Busto is one of the brightest lights in the Trial discipline. In 2014 he scored an impressive win in the FIM World Cup (the former World Junior Championship), winning seven of the thirteen races disputed. In 2012 he had become Youth 125 category champion, a competition in which he had previously debuted in 2011 at thirteen years of age. At a Spanish national level, the Basque rider has clinched just about every possible title in the lower categories, this year even finishing eighth in spite of carrying an injury throughout the latter part of the season.
Jaime: “I’m really pleased to be able to form a part of the HRC Team, the best team in the world. For me, it really is an honour to be in a team with such great champions as Toni Bou and Takahisa Fujinami. I hope to be able to learn a lot from them. The Montesa Cota 4RT has surprised me. I will have to get used to the four-stroke, but I think that I’ll adapt to it quickly.”
Miquel Cirera Lamarca, Team Manager said: “At Repsol Honda Team we have the best riders in the world, and we want to continue that way for many years, to keep on winning races and titles. We had the chance to sign up Jaime Busto, one of the most promising young talents currently around. He will serve as a fine complement to our champions Toni Bou and Takahisa Fujinami.”