Minichamps MIN122793001 1979 Yamaha YZR500 (OW45) GP Motorcycle - Kenny Roberts, World Champion (1:12 Scale)
"They don't pay me enough to ride that thing..."
- Kenny Roberts, discussing taking the Yamaha TZ 750 on the 1 mile dirt track
Born on December 31st, 1951, in Modesto, California, Kenny Roberts is a former motorcycle racer and the first American to win the 500cc Road Racing World Championship.
Roberts won two AMA Grand National Championships in 1973-1974, three consecutive 500cc World Championships in 1978-1980 and three victories at the Daytona 200. He is the father of Kenny Roberts Jr and Kurtis Roberts, both also champion motorcycle racers.
Roberts is regarded as being one of the first riders to use his knee to balance the bike on the track in corners, and the first to use engine power to spin the rear tyre exiting bends to help steer the bike (a technique known as "throttle steering", common among U.S. flat track racers). These techniques are used everywhere in the top levels of motorcycle road racing, though they are much less exaggerated with today's improvements in tire technology.
Pictured here is a 1:12 scale replica of a 1979 Yamaha YZR500 (OW45) GP Motorcycle driven by Kenny Roberts. Comes packaged in a handsome presentation case. Sold Out!
Length: 7 inches
Height: 3.50 inches
Release Date: October 2008
Historical Account: "Safety First" - Roberts is remembered for being one of the first riders to take up the cause of rider safety. When Roberts arrived on the Grand Prix scene, motorcycle racers were competing at venues like Imatra in Finland that featured railroad crossings and hay bales wrapped around telephone poles. Roberts adopted a confrontational, sometimes belligerent stance with race promoters, challenging the previously accepted poor treatment that motorcycle racers of the day were accustomed to receiving. He organized a rider's revolt and threatened to start a competing race series called the World Series to challenge the FIM's monopoly on championship caliber motorcycle races. Though the competing series failed to take off, it forced the FIM to take the riders seriously and make changes regarding their safety.