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MotoGP, That's a take, Kenny Roberts in Europe: the king's speech

VIDEO He arrived in the Circus with two motor homes, with former world champion Kel Carruthers to assist him, as he thought of winning three championships: 250, 500, and F.750. He only won one, the 500, but that was enough to mark the beginning of a legend.

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When Kenny Roberts arrived in Europe, he wasn't the first American. He had been preceded by Pat Hennen who had already won a Grand Prix in 1976 in Finland, repeating the following year at Silverstone.

But Kenny used a different approach: his was an actual landing. He showed up with two huge (huge at the time) motor homes. Former world champion Kel Carruthers lived in one with his family and Roberts and his family in the other.

At the time, the paddock was made up of tents. The luckier ones had a caravan. It was still what everyone called the "Continental Circus". A traveling caravan of speed-loving adventurers. A Dakar ante litteram. Not much technology, but many sacrifices. Yet, something was changing. Michelin 's radial tires had already replaced the dominion of the Dunlop "Trigonic" with its "pear-shaped" profile for several years, opening up new frontiers.

The Modesto champion, who was already king at home despite being defeated in 1974 by Giacomo Agostini in the Daytona 200, brought with him a van with Good Year tires and a technician, Tim Miller, to advise him.

It was his trump card. But without experience, on completely new tracks for him, since he had learned them racing with the Yamaha 250 - two wins, seven podiums, certainly not going slowly, and the title going to Kork Ballington with the Kawasaki - it was not easy. Also because the second bike only arrived for Silverstone: Yamaha hastily sent tester Ikujiro Takai's bike instead.

It was probably this that brought about a change in the championship. But there would be so much more to tell: Barry Sheene hadn't been well due to a virus, but he was recovering. That year, I was moving from one circuit of the world championship to another with a Fiat 500 and a Canadian tent.

Those were the years in which, all of us, were very poor and very happy.

Ha, I'm not a Youtuber. I get more results with a beer or a whiskey in my hand.


Translated by Leila Myftija

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