2016 AIMExpo Champion – Kenny Roberts Jr.
The American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo) has announced that Kenny Roberts Jr. – the second-generation road-racing legend – has been named “AIMExpo Champion” for the 2016 event, which takes place October 13-16 from the North Hall of Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center (OCCC).
Roberts Jr. is the latest addition to the budding list of legendary American racers and industry influences who have served as the official event ambassador to North America’s largest powersports event.
Kenny Roberts Jr. is the son of Hall of Fame racer and American motorcycle racing icon, Kenny Roberts, who served as the inaugural AIMExpo Champion for the debut AIMExpo back in 2013. They share a unique distinction among racing – they’re the only father-son pair to successfully obtain the FIM 500cc World Grand Prix Championship, now known as MotoGP. Additionally, they are now the first father and son to serve as the AIMExpo Champion.
“It is an exciting privilege to be named AIMExpo Champion for this year’s event,” said Kenny Roberts Jr. “I’ve been out of racing and day-to-day contact with the industry for almost 10 years now while starting a family, so I’m definitely looking forward to reconnecting with the many people I’ve known from my racing days, and AIMExpo is the perfect place to do that!
“I’ve known Larry Little for a long time and watched from afar while he and the team worked on creating AIMExpo to mirror the longstanding industry shows in Italy and Germany that I often attended while racing. Just like those shows, I’m looking forward seeing a lot of familiar faces, being a part of all the festivities and seeing all the exciting new products from the industry while helping promote this year’s event.”
Roberts Jr’s professional road-racing career began in the 250cc class in the early 90s with the same Marlboro Yamaha team that his father helped build to greatness. After decent showings there, he eventually moved to the big leagues, as they say, and in 1996 made his debut in the 500cc division as a Factory Yamaha rider. In 1997, he joined his father’s upstart racing program.
It took two full racing seasons for Roberts Jr. to become situated with the 500cc bikes, dubbed “the unrideables” by many in the motorcycle community. It wasn’t until Roberts Jr. joined Factory Suzuki in 1999 when he took his first career victory, which quickly placed him in championship contention. During the ’99 racing seasons, Roberts Jr. became the runner up in the championship fight.
His legendary status was obtained and forever solidified during the 2000 season, which had fierce competition. Among the field was Alex Criville and a rookie named Valentino Rossi. Against an aggressive field, he would become the first second-generation 500cc World Champion in history. Roberts Jr. helped place Suzuki back in the spotlight in the global racing community, something that hadn’t happened since 1993 when Kevin Schwantz won the crown in 1993.
His commitment to racing has never been questioned and during his time, he accumulated 185 career FIM starts, with eight wins and 22 podium appearances.
“Kenny Jr.’s accomplishments as an American world champion are well-deserved in their own right, and it is fitting to be able to welcome him to the 2016 AIMExpo as an iconic representation of America’s long history of world champions,” said Larry Little, Vice President and General Manager of AIMExpo.
“I was fortunate to have attended a number of MotoGP’s while he raced and was always impressed with his very calculated approach to his craft. The singularity of being a part of the only father and son premier class championships is a distinction that will likely never be eclipsed, and we’re very proud of his association with this year’s show.”
Kenny Roberts Jr’s role, as “AIMExpo Champion” is to represent the event to the highest order, becoming the face of the event. Roberts Jr, along with his father are no stranger to this, they’ve represented American motorcycling with distinction for many years. He will play an integral role in pre-event publicity, promotion and will be garnering quite a bit of attention from the motorcycle community at large. AIMExpo festivities are set to begin October 13-14, which are trade exclusive days. Consumer days begin on October 15-16.
What is in store this year? Over 360 exhibitors will be on hand at this year’s AIMExpo. Trade shows of this nature mark the coming year’s new models, new products and excitement that will carry over well into the next seasons. With dealer networking opportunities, as well as seminars presented by many professionals in the powersports industry, it is an event that one would be wise not to miss. Powersports Business will be presenting Powersports DEALER Seminars during the two trade days of AIMExpo on October 13 & 14.
We’ll be covering all of the action coming out of the AIMExpo this year, so for all your news needs, keep your browsers open to Ultimate MotorCycling.