AMA: Roberts first two-series road racing champion in five years
4 October 2000
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- The youngest son of legendary World Champion Kenny Roberts took another step out from under the shadow cast by the Roberts name Sunday, winning the 2000 AMA Pro Honda Oils 600 SuperSport Championship in one of the most exciting races in AMA road racing history. "This has just been a great season all the way," said Roberts, son of Motorcycle Hall of Famer Roberts and brother of Kenny, Jr., the current 500cc World Road Racing Championship leader. "Defending the Formula Xtreme title was good, but I really wanted this 600 championship. All the teams and riders are so competitive in this series, it's a real credit to the Erion Racing Honda team that we were able to pull this off." Roberts made an all-or-nothing 130-mph pass on rivals Eric Bostrom and Jamie Hacking on the final lap of the 600 SuperSport finale at Willow Springs Raceway in Rosamond, Calif., to go from third to first. Roberts held on to the win and, more important for his championship, Hacking held off a drafting move by Bostrom to take second by a half-bike length, denying Bostrom the points he needed to win the championship himself. The end result was that Roberts and Bostrom ended the season tied in points, with Roberts earning the title by virtue of having three race wins to Bostrom's two. The AMA Pro Honda Oils 600 SuperSport championship was the second title for Roberts this year. In August, he wrapped up the eSportbike.com Formula Xtreme championship, making Roberts the first two-series AMA Pro road-racing champion in five years. Miguel Duhamel was the last rider to accomplish the feat in 1995, when he won both the Superbike and 600 SuperSport championships. As has become tradition, this year's 600 SuperSport championships were among the most hotly contested series in road racing. There were five winners in nine races, and Roberts led the way with three victories. He had perfect bookend wins on the season -- opening with a victory at Daytona and ending the year with the top spot at Willow Springs. His other win came at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Roberts began his road-racing career in Europe, competing in the European Championships and in the World Championship 250cc Grand Prix. His AMA debut came in the 250 Grand Prix event at Laguna Seca Raceway in 1996, where he finished fourth. Roberts returned to compete in the U.S. full time in 1998. In July of that year he earned his first professional victory in the 250 GP at Mid-Ohio. Roberts finished his first full year in America as the second-ranked rider in the 250 GP series. Roberts will return with Honda next year and will try to defend his 600 SuperSport title and also race a factory Honda RC51 in the premier AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Series.