Bobby Sullivan: 5/29/1962 – 1/26/2014
Former motocross racer Bob Sullivan passed away Sunday, January 26, following a three-week fight for his life that began with a pair of cardiac arrests on January 2.
Born and raised in the San Diego suburb of Lakeside, California, Sullivan was a rising star on the ultra-competitive So Cal motocross scene in the late 1970s. While riding for the iconic hop-up shop R&D Suzuki he battled through the mini-bike ranks and into the 125cc pro class alongside fellow San Diego county riders Ricky Johnson, Ron Lechien and Scott Burnworth. Sadly, Sullivan’s promising career as a professional motocross racer was cut short in 1979, when debilitating injuries from a crash while practicing left him confined to a wheelchair.
Johnson spoke fondly of his lifelong friend, saying, “Bob was a couple of years older than me, so when I was around 14 years old, we would throw our bikes in his truck and he’d drive us out to go riding. Bob was a great rider, and smooth as silk with the ladies, too. He was a racer at heart and a real man… after he got hurt, he was determined to make it on his own. I’m going to miss him.”
An early adopter of computer technology, Sullivan forged a successful career as a graphic designer and was doing calendar work for the San Diego Chargers organization at the time of his passing. Sullivan loved fast cars, whether it was driving his custom Corvette, or cheering for his boyhood friend and neighbor, NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson.
Scott Burnworth was looking forward to cheering Bob up with a get well poster, but never got a chance to deliver it. “I had planned on giving him this poster I made that all of our moto friends signed yesterday at our Glen Helen VMX race, to try to lift his spirits. He’d been making progress in his recovery and I thought he would pull through. I will always carry some great memories of the good times we had. Bob, I hope to bang bars with you again upstairs. R.I.P. Buddy!”
Bob Sullivan was 51 years old.