AMA: Kenny Roberts to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award at AMA National Champions Banquet
8 November 1998WESTERVILLE, Ohio -- Internationally recognized as one of the all-time greats in motorcycle racing, "King" Kenny Roberts has been selected to receive the first-ever American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Lifetime Achievement Award. The award will be presented at the Nov. 21, AMA National Champions Awards Banquet at the Flamingo Hilton Las Vegas.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the first of two AMA Grand National Championships Roberts won. He earned the 1973 and 1974 Grand National titles -- in the pre-Superbike era -- when riders competed for the coveted Grand National trophy on a mixed series of paved road courses, oval dirt-tracks, short-tracks and tourist-trophy courses.
Roberts went on to win the 1977 AMA Formula One roadracing championship before storming into the Federation Internationale Motocycliste (FIM) World 500cc Grand Prix Championship series. In 1978 he garnered world-wide respect -- and stirred the pride of U.S. riders and fans -- by becoming the first American to win a World 500 Grand Prix title. In the following years Roberts dominated the World Grand Prix circuit, and by 1980, he had captured three consecutive World 500 Grand Prix titles.
Roberts hung up his riding leathers at the end of the 1983 season, and he formed his own World 500 Grand Prix team. In 1990, Team Roberts' rider Wayne Rainey won the World 500 Grand Prix title, and teammate John Kocinski took the World 250 Championship -- bringing the team a rare 500 and 250 championship season. By the end of 1993 season, Rainey had matched Robert's earlier accomplishment, securing three successive World 500 crowns for Marlboro Team Roberts.
In 1996 Roberts embarked on a different challenge. Believing that motorcycle racing needed its own engineering infrastructure, he took it upon himself to build and develop a model engine program for use by World 500 Grand Prix teams. In 1997, Roberts partnered with Malaysian motorcycle manufacturer Modenas, and created his own Grand Prix machine -- the Modenas KR3. The arrival of the Modenas was significant not only because the bike is one of the few to challenge the traditional equipment sources for Grand Prix racing, but also because it signals a new potential for the sport.
Roberts' sons, Kenny Jr. and Kurtis, continue in their father's footsteps. Kenny Jr. competes in World 500cc Grand Prix, and Kurtis contests the 250cc Grand Prix and 600cc SuperSport series of the AMA Superbike Tour.
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.
For more information about the AMA National Champions Awards Banquet, contact Dee White at AMA Pro Racing.