Motor cycle racing - and in Britain, the World 500 cc Champion ship race at Silverstone on Sunday (6 August) resulted in a controversial win for Kenny Roberts of the United States.
Motor cycle racing - and in Britain, the World 500 cc Champion ship race at Silverstone on Sunday (6 August) resulted in a controversial win for Kenny Roberts of the United States. The race was disrupted by rain and all the riders, including roberts, were uncertain who had won. After the results were declared several entrants lodged official complaints. The race was crucially important, placing Roberts in the lad of the final round of the world championships.
SYNOPSIS: At the start of the race, Roberts had a three point lead in the world championship ratings over last year's champion, Britain's Barry Sheene. Roberts led the pack for the first few laps, wearing number one, and riding a Yamaha. The battle between Sheene and Roberts was suddenly interrupted when the fine drizzle turned into a torrential down-pour. The riders were entering the ninth lap when the rain radically reduced visibility and slowed the race down.
Most of the riders, including Roberts and Sheene, decided it was to risky to continue without a change of tyres. After the race Roberts said it should have been stopped when it rained, so that all the riders could have fitted the correct tyres for the conditions. He describes the official decision to allow the race to continue as `stupid".
The few riders who did not pull into the pits, caused further problems for the track officials. Roberts and Sheene did not know how many laps they had missed by stopping and when they re-entered the race joining up with those who had carried on, there as an enormous mix-up over race positions. As the riders went into the final laps, Britain's steve Manship, wearing number 43 and riding a Susuki was in the lead. In the end, he was declared second, although Barry Sheene angrily maintained that the race had been won by either Manship or the Italian, Marco Lucchinalli, riding a Cagiva, who was finally placed fourth.
It took four hours for the results to be announced, after fierce arguments between riders, their managers and track officials. Roberts was still confused after being declared the winner.
Following Sunday's race, Sheene, placed third, enters the last round of the championship eight points behind Roberts.