Kenny Roberts, part 2

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Dante d'Ambruoso from California is a good friend from Kenny Roberts (the 1980's man!) and promised to come with some nice stories about the Master.


The following is already from some years ago but nevertheless is it a very nice inside report about Kenny's life and events in which he participates. The race was held as a kind of reunion of old racers from the 1970's. The "competition" took place at the "Cow Palace Arena" in Brisbane, California, just a few miles south of San Francisco. This was also the site of KR's first Professional Race at the age of 18. This event took place in May 1999.

Kenny's father, "Buster" sits on my Champion framed 1973 MX360 Yamaha as Ray Abrams of A&A Racing (L) , one of Kenny's first Sponsors and a longtime friend, looks on. The race was held as a party for Ray's 60th birthday. The man on the right is Alan Barbic who was a Yamaha dealer in the 1970's and an ex AMA roadracer on TZ250's and TZ750's. Alan is the man who took me into his shop in 1972 and exposed me to all the great machines of the era. He is also the man to blame for all the craziness around my house these days. It is him I blame!!!

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Kenny is using a wood rasp to clean and prepare the tires. By removing the waste rubber from the track the bike gets much better grip.

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This shot shows Kenny's smooth but agressive style of leaning the bike over in the corner. His left foot has silver duct tape on it to slide better over the concrete. He later used this technique on his knees when they started to drag on his roadracer. He talks about this in the movie "Faster".

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Lap 2# and Kenny has already a big lead. he went on to lap 3/4 of the field before the race was over.

 

KR has a big lead
KR has a big lead

 


5) This picture shows Kenny lapping former Yamaha rider Keith Mashburn. In his defense, Keith did a fantastic job as he had not been on a race bike since 1974!

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6) Here Kenny does his Victory wheelie. If you have ever seen him race, you do know this is his trademark.

 

KR's Victory wheelie
KR's Victory wheelie

 


7) Kenny and myself enjoy the spoils of Victory with the Winners Cup and a huge ovation of the crowd. I keep this trophy in my front room to this day! It is one of my most treasured pieces of memorabilia.

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8) This photo shows the ignition cover and the foot peg ground from KR leaning the bike over so far. We had to lower the forks in the triple clamps and put spacers in the fork springs to keep from dragging the machine to the ground. kenny still rode hard and it showed....!

 

Case grinding
Case grinding

 


9) The remainder are photos of the bike the day after the race. You can see how the exhaust pipe was damaged from Kenny making contact with the other riders to clear a path for himself. This is how indoors MUST be ridden to win, and KR still had it in him at around 50 years old (in 1999). He showed up ready to win, and so it was. As you know he was a very fierce competitor, and is to this day. I think one must be born this way?

The Champion/Yamaha MX 360 1973 from the left

 

Yamaha/Champion MX360 1973
Yamaha/Champion MX360 1973

And from the right....

 

Yamaha/Champion MX360 1973
Yamaha/Champion MX 360 1973

More details..

 

Yamaha/Champion MX 360 1973
Yamaha/Champion MX 360, 1973

And more..

 

Yamaha/Champion MX 360 1973
Yamaha/Champion MX 360 1973

And the famous Number 1 # Number plate!

 

KR's famous number plate
KR's famous number plate

I do hope you all better understand the race day. If you need more information please ask. Thanks again for all your hard work on the website. It is one of the greatest around, and will only get better.

Caio, Dante

 

 

 

 

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