Bob was born in 1948 into a hunting family. His father was huntsman to the Cleveland in Yorkshire where he started riding at an early age hunting with his sister and father.
At the age of 15 he rode his first point to point winner then went into National Hunt racing with Toby Balding at Weyhill eventually riding for many top trainers including Josh Gifford.
Bobs racing career took him to America where he rode several winners. In 1979 he was diagnosed to have cancer and was given 6 months to live. After several months of chemotherapy he returned to race riding coming back with several winners both in England and America.
In 1981 Bob won the Grand National on Aldaniti trained by Josh Gifford. He finally retired from racing in 1983 having won some 500 races. Other major races that Bob won during his career were the Tote Ider Chase – The Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup – The Black and White Hurdle – The SGB Chase – The SGB Hurdle and the Whitbread Trial Chase.
In 1983 he received the MBE and also formed the Bob Champion Cancer Trust which to date has raised some ten million pounds towards cancer research.
Bob had his life story portrayed in the book Champions Story which was made into a feature film starring John Hurt.
In August 1996 Bob undertook Ride for Life which was a ride on several horses from Hollyrood Palace in Edinburgh to Buckingham Palace in London where he was greeted by Her Majesty the Queen. This was to raise a million pounds towards o new research unit at the Royal Marsden Hospital. This sum has now been achieved and the Institute of Cancer have also donated a further million pounds towards the project. The new research unit was opened in September 2000.
Bob retired from training horses in 1999 having achieved many winners and continues to live in Newmarket in Suffolk. In April 2000 Bob commenced a pilot scheme with Northern Racing College to encourage school leavers to have a career as stable staff and apprentice jockeys.
Bob is an accomplished After Dinner and Corporate Motivational Speaker.