Yamaha 50th Anniversary R1 Auction
Motorcycle enthusiasts around the world will have a special opportunity to bid on a one-of-a-kind YZF-R1 as ridden by "King" Kenny Roberts around the famed Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca circuit, Yamaha Motor Corp. USA, announced Tuesday.
Roberts TZ750 Ride
Click video to see Kenny Roberts. Back in 1975, Kenny Roberts rode a fearsomely fast Yamaha TZ750 flat-tracker motorcycle to a stunning victory at the Indy Mile. After just three races, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) banned the motorcycle from further racing competition-because it was too fast. In 2009, King Kenny Roberts rode this famous Yamaha TZ750 flat-tracker race motorcycle once again, at the Indy Mile.
There are few paint schemes in motorcycling as iconic as Yamaha’s 1970s-era racing livery. Dubbed the "Bumble Bee" for its striking palette of black and yellow, it is perhaps best remembered in the hands of "King Kenny" Roberts, adorning his 1973 and ’74 AMA Grand National Championship-winning mounts. Anyone who was around at the time would be hard-pressed to look at Russ Somers’ custom 1978 Yamaha SR500 and not conjure an image of Roberts pitching it sideways on a half-mile dirt oval.
"King" Kenny Roberts looked me straight in the eye and unflinchingly said, "I’ve always tried to do things properly," and such was his earnest demeanor, I believed him. The KR Tuned system engineered by his team and fitted to our Suzuki GSX-R1000 test bike shows a gain of 12 hp and 7 ft lbs of torque at the rear wheel; with a weight savings of six lbs. The full length, titanium twin-sided pipe has short carbon mufflers, and I found the throaty sound addictive—especially at higher revs on the track.