Gobert Story # 1
Rob Muzzy always had a good eye for talent. He saw Anthony Gobert ride for the first time in Japan and was deeply impressed. He spoke to Gobert after that and found the Australian to be just a sweet and polite young man. It was all “yes, sir” and “no, sir,” handshakes, and endearing smiles from Goey.

So, he hired him, and Goey simply exploded in terms of being able to take a Muzzy Kawasaki and go straight to the front. The rest is history. Anthony’s talent could swallow anything Team Muzzy Kawasaki fed him for horsepower. He just went faster.

However, long, long before Goey ever failed an FIM drug test, Muzzy recognized the signs. He had lived in California in the 1960s and, you know, could tell when a person was high or was coming down from a marijuana high.

Rob didn’t confront Anthony when he became aware that his star rider was endangering everything the team worked for by smoking marijuana. He talked to Anthony’s mom, Sue, about his concern, and she admitted that Anthony had a problem with marijuana. They agreed to get Anthony into a treatment program. It was all very above board. Rob was relieved there wasn’t a long, difficult period of denial that would have just made him very angry. Anthony wanted to get clean and stay clean.

During the off-season, an invitation was extended to Anthony to stay at Rob’s place in Bend, Oregon so they could get to know each other better without the pressure of a race weekend bearing down on them. I believe this occurred after Rob had sent Anthony for treatment. The reason for the visit was two-fold: Rob wanted to show Anthony how hard the team worked for him to have the equipment that enabled him to win world championship races.

Anthony flew over and stayed with Rob and his wife Ruby at the house, sleeping in the guest bedroom. He ate with them, lived with them, and was just a joy to be around and have around. Anthony was on his best behavior; Ruby really liked him because he was so easy to talk to, respectful, and funny. They took him to their favorite Mexican restaurant in Bend, and it was just a wonderful time with good company. Ruby really liked Anthony. He was a pleasure to be around.

Here’s how much Ruby, God rest her soul, liked Tony G: she named one of her dogs after him. In the entire history of Rob Muzzy racing, only two riders had their names affixed to one of Ruby’s terriers. Did Ruby name a dog after Wayne Rainey? No. Doug Chandler? No. It was a very special designation, and it was Ruby’s decision alone. When Scott Russell blew up the Muzzy WSBK team by joining Suzuki’s GP team mid-season, Ruby’s other dog was re-named in an hour. He had a new dog tag hanging from his collar, his vet records were changed to a new name. He was never again called “Scottie.” A betrayal like that meant that dog learned a new name right now.

Rob’s late wife Ruby smoked cigarettes. She was trying to quit but hadn’t. She had cut back but was still having a few cigarettes a day. She kept the carton and the open pack she was currently picking away at when she needed one on top of the fridge.

A couple of days into the Gobert visit, Ruby reached up for a cigarette and found the current open pack gone. The next day, the same thing. Hmmm.

Ruby was no fool. She had raised her own boys into men and had a good idea where the cigarettes were going. Since Anthony was sitting in her living room not 35 feet away from the fridge when she made this discovery, she walked over to Anthony and asked him, "Anthony, are you taking my cigarettes, honey?"

Anthony admitted that he was, that he’d always wanted to try them, and seeing her smoke made him want to smoke. He had grabbed some each night and snuck outside to smoke them one after another.

I wish I could describe the laugh Ruby cackled before she told me the final chapter of this story. She chuckled and smiled and then told it.

She told him, “Anthony, I don’t think Robbie (her pet name for Rob) wants you smoking cigarettes, sweetie. I don’t think he wants you smoking anything, honey.”

Goey, in that loveable, charming imp-of-a-man-child way he had, explained that it was no problem because, see, he didn’t smoke.

“Oh, I don’t smoke,” he said emphatically. “It’s just that if someone has some cigarettes, I take them and smoke them.”

Ruby rolled her eyes in response. She said she was moving her cigarettes to her bedroom, and if he wanted one, he could ask and smoke it right in front of her, right in the house.

He asked for one right away and smoked it in Rob’s chair in the living room. After that, he didn’t ask and didn’t smoke for the rest of his stay.

True story.
— ends —
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