Big Kenny at Suzuka

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - News -


8-hour en­durance race cel­e­brated its 40th an­niver­sary in style this July, by re­unit­ing King Kenny Roberts with his 1985 Tech 21 spon­sored fac­tory Yamaha YZF750. Roberts, who re­tired from GP rac­ing at the end of the 1983 sea­son, made his Suzuka come­back in ’85 with a win in his sights; “I wouldn’t have both­ered if I didn’t think I could win,” he said at the time.

KR’S pre­dic­tion of a win looked to be on, too. Af­ter set­ting pole, he and co-pi­lot Tadahiko Taira had vic­tory in the bag un­til on lap 181, just 28 min­utes from the che­quered flag, their YZF lunched its mo­tor.

But that was 32 years ago. The pair­ing of KR and Taira were held in such high re­gard by Yamaha top brass they were re­ferred to as “The Golden Mix­ture”, and hav­ing Roberts lap the fa­mous Ja­panese cir­cuit aboard the li­lac fac­tory four this July as part of the track’s 40th proved the per­fect back­drop to the main event that was won by Yamaha for the third time on the bounce – brit WSB ace Alex Lowes tak­ing the win along­side Michael Van Der Mark and Kat­suyuki Naka­suga.

King Ken ready to rum­ble Back in 1985 on fac­tory YZF750

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