Bob Champion was born in Guisborough, Yorkshire, England. At the height of his career as a jockey, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in July 1979. He was treated with an orchidectomy and with the chemotherapeutic drugs bleomycin, vinblastine and cisplatin, and also had an exploratory operation to identify cancer in his lymph nodes.
His victory on Aldaniti was viewed by many as a great triumph, following his previous adversity. Their victory earned them that year's BBC Sports Personality of the Year Team Award and was chosen as one of the 100 Greatest Sporting Moments by Channel 4 viewers in 2002.