Chuck in the Moped_zps8c746294

"Desert Boy" Chuck Stearns

Maybe a few will remember the history of this American racecar driver, destined to become a great of Dakar, but adverse fate and bad luck we were deprived of knowing.

Born, the 6 November 1959 in North Carolina, Chuck Stearns is the son of an engineer who works at Boeing. Has only 8 years when you first climb up a-road bikes.

In 1978, He began seriously to run on two wheels, and in less than a year is recognized as one of the best specialists of racing in the desert. In this discipline, very popular in the States, Chuck WINS in four years well twenty-eight wins.

In 1982 the Yamaha USA hires him after his performance in Baja 1000. A French, Marie Do becomes his manager and allows him to try his luck in Europe.

He entered the 1984 the team with the Yamaha Sonauto and with IT490 He won the Montesblancos Baja Spain with Serge Bacou. In 1985 Gauloises Yamaha team is placed in Dakar Jean-Claude Olivier and Serge Bacou on Yamaha XT660 Ténéré.
His first participation in the world hardest rally is blazing, winning 6 stages – Nobody in that issue did better than him – and ended 6th overall.

He told the magazine Moto Verte: “Frankly, I am very happy. Finish 6° for the first participation has nothing dishonorable and I liked. To my surprise, I had no trouble navigating, I've always found my way in a natural way. Similarly the competition site was not surprised, being very similar to the desert of the United States (…) The Dakar is the most exciting off-road adventure in the world, but frankly, from what I was told, I was expecting worse … “

Talented, hard and very charismatic, Chuck has a bright sporting future waiting for him. After a brief stint in the United States where she contracted pneumonia, He returned to France to prepare the Enduro du Touquet in February and March in Tunisia Rally.

But without knowing it, Chuck is already seriously ill.

The mother will tell: “In 1983, Chuck had a motorcycle accident and had to undergo a blood transfusion. Blood that unfortunately will be infected with the HIV virus. In the early ' 80, No one knew much about this horrible disease.” His last race after the Paris-Dakar rally was the Tunisia Rally in March 1985 where you had to withdraw and was repatriated urgently with an airlift to Paris.

Unfortunately Chuck is already very serious, and the disease has undermined irreparably, so much so that the doctors diagnose only 6 months of life.

The 6 October 1985, one month before his 26 th birthday, the strong "Desert boy" turns off.

  • Jim Herrera

    He was a great person and still is missed..

  • “Baja Bill” Fuentes

    If there is any lingering doubt about Chuck’s charisma, his charm, talent and humble nature, here is a quick true personal story about the very first time I met Chuck – it had a permanent effect upon me:

    In 1983, I was pitting for the “Checkers Motorcycle Club’ in the Southern California desert, and Chuck was not only a member, but I recall his having earned a Factory Honda ride via his successes in both the United States, but also in Baja California (Mexico) – fast and smooth, sure enough, Chuck comes into our remote pit, we dump his fuel and off he went on to earn the Overall Win!

    We had time to run over and congratulate Chuck on his win, and when reporters asked for his comments upon the event he’d just won, Chuck looks at me and a couple other Pit Crew members and begins with…

    “Well, first thing I want to say is without these guys (gesturing to us members of the crew), I would not be sitting here answering your questions, so let me thank these volunteers, because without them, I would be lost!”

    I would hear almost the same thing coming from the mouth of the late Al Baker – also a Honda Factory rider and Baja 500 and Baja 1000 Champion (who also mentored Motocross Champion Johnny O’Mara); my point is I have pitted for the best of the best and the BEST always know they would not get to be winners if it weren’t for those who help them get to the Finish Line, and it was Chuck Stearns whom I had never met, who left that indelible impression upon me and now thirty-two (32) years after his untimely death, I still am active and helpful and give that credit to Chuck!