Remembering Rob

My career as a moto journalist, which many people have pointed out repeatedly is a dream job, I owe largely to Rob Harris.

In the early years, Costa was part of Rob's fall tours and other moto extravaganzas. Later, he took on the Mad Bastard Scooter Rally, probably mainly because he wanted to see Rob dressed like this.
In the early years, Costa was part of Rob’s fall tours and other moto extravaganzas. Later, he took on the Mad Bastard Scooter Rally, probably mainly because he wanted to see Rob dressed like this.

Costa Mouzouris: Rob and I met 17 years ago at Mosport, where I was racing my Ducati, and he was racing a BMW for a story he was preparing for CMG. His wit, wide grin and jovial demeanour offset his tall, imposing stature. I, like everyone who got to know him, quickly figured out he was a good-natured, gentle, and really funny guy. We chatted, and when he’d heard I was a motorcycle mechanic and was also taking writing courses, he asked if I’d like to submit a story for CMG, which at that time had been online for just a couple of years.

That first writing gig Rob gave me led to more, and eventually to a career change. It also led to a friendship that I expected would last a lifetime. Unfortunately fate decided that the latter was not to be.

We also used to plan annual fall tours that included a variety of contributors, where for several days we’d ride test bikes in upstate New York, or one of Rob’s favourite riding areas, northern Pennsylvania. He’d always make it a point to find a motel within walking distance of a pub, where we’d spend a few post-ride hours just being friends. These are among my most memorable moments with Rob.

My heart still bleeds for Courtney, with whom Rob chose to settle down and start a family and the one who realigned his focus for the better, and for his daughters Chloe and Cate, who will grow up not knowing the great, warm human being who was their father.

I also feel deep sorrow for Jim Vernon, who was riding with Rob on that fateful Saturday last year. Having experienced a similar situation more than a dozen years ago when Piero Zambotti was killed while on a staff ride with Cycle Canada, I still can’t shake the feeling that we had abandoned a friend when we left his body behind at the hospital and rode home. I hope Jim has been spared such feelings of desolation.

I’m not sure if I ever told Rob just how grateful I was to him for taking me on so long ago, sticking with me over the years, and giving me work even when financially, times were tough for him.

I will forever miss Rob’s Yorkshire brogue, and the jubilant “Costaaa!” he’d greet me with every time we’d Skype in the morning to talk business. His loss remains hard to accept, and will be for many years to come.

Cheers mate. And thank you.

7 thoughts on “Remembering Rob”

  1. I’ve been thinking about the arrival of this anniversary for a while now. Rob’s death was a real wake up call for me to make sure I value what’s important. It’s a busy life – make time for family and friends. Rob was not only a big guy! He had a big impact on the lives of so many. Miss you Rob!

  2. Great stories, having lost my best friend a few years ago I can attest that the pain dulls after a while but that gap in your life always remains.

    I met Rob once at a pub night and instantly liked him, That rarely happens.

  3. He wrote such engaging articles. Technically sharp, funny as hell and self effacing. I always looked forward reading anything he wrote. All you guys that knew him personally were lucky.

  4. Always loved hosting Rob on his trips to the West Coast. Everyone in my family got a big hug whenever he arrived. Our riding adventures around Princeton and the Sunshine Coast were some of the best riding memories I have.

    Miss him a lot.

  5. Something’s in my eyes – again.
    I will never forget how he’d always remember my name even if we hadn’t seen each other in years, or his huge smile when I presented him with the Marvin the Martian helmet at MBSR.
    He gave me the tag name TK4 when we were contemplating a tech column that, alas, never came to fruition.
    Rob was blessed with the right mix of ability, enthusiasm and self-deprecating humour that is missed – terribly.
    Keep the faith CMG’ers, and never lose sight of his vision….

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