Before he was King: It Was Cowboy Kenny Roberts

Before he was King Kenny he was Cowboy Kenny


Kenny Roberts, at Spa, 1978.

When he came on the scene, the European racing media considered him a bit of a cowboy. Hailing from the American West, extremely confident of his abilities, able to win with a bucking bronco early Yamaha V-4 GP machine that left other riders shaking their heads in dismay and last but not least, the mysterious muted pop in the paddock just might have been from a .22 Kenny kept in his motorhome.

Years later Roberts admitted to taking careful aim and shooting from the window of his motorhome, slowly deflating a giant Michelin man in the paddock at one event (KR was after all running Goodyear’s at the time, so you can understand.)

So it’s easy to appreciate why cameras went through a lot of film when Roberts showed up at a race, playing up his wild reputation by wearing this cowboy hat. You can tell by his smile, that he enjoyed the razzing the media with this type of antic.


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