Coming from an era when a Grand National Champion had to be versed in dirt track and road racing, Kenny Roberts was the master of all disciplines. He burst onto the scene by winning the AMA Grand National Championship title in 1973 and 1974. He then went on to become the first American to win the 500cc Grand Prix World Championship in 1978, repeating as World 500cc GP champ in 1979 and 1980, earning his nickname “King Kenny” in the process. Now the reigning monarch reprises his royal role as the inaugural AIMExpo Champion.
“As much as anything else, Kenny Roberts’ history aligns perfectly with what AIMExpo is doing,” explains Larry Little, AIMExpo vice president and general manager. “He’s an American with a large presence on the world stage, which is what we are striving to attain with AIMExpo. The U.S. market is one of the world’s largest, and we’ll finally have a platform — like America finally had a champion in Roberts — to take America’s rightful place on the world stage.”
Roberts was named AMA Pro Athlete of the Year in 1973, 1974 and 1979 and inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame in 1998. When he was enshrined into the Hall of Fame, AMA proclaimed: “A man of talent, courage and vision, Kenny Roberts has had great influence on the shape of motorcycle racing, both at home and around the globe. As a rider, and then as a team owner, the American legend has always had the ability to see to the next level.”
These are exactly the same qualities that make him the ideal inaugural AIMExpo Champion. “We’re looking forward to bringing that same energy to bear and creating a world championship event,” says Little.
Show producer Marketplace Events Motorcycle Group has commissioned a Star Bolt by Yamaha in Roberts’ famous yellow livery, which will be given away at AIMExpo in recognition of his significance to the event and to pay tribute to his American dirt-track roots.