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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 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.