Kenny Roberts of the United States riding a Yamaha clinched is second successive 500cc World Motor Cycle championship on Sunday (2 September) after taking third place in the French Grand Prix at Le Mans.
Kenny Roberts of the United States riding a Yamaha clinched is second successive 500cc World Motor Cycle championship on Sunday (2 September) after taking third place in the French Grand Prix at Le Mans. The race was won by Britain's Barry Sheen on a Suzuki, but Roberts had gained enough points during the series to take the World Title.
SYNOPSIS: Thousands of spectators packed the grand stands as the 36 competitors lined up on the starting grid. Roberts and the only other rider with a chance of taking the title from him.. Italy's Virginio Ferrari, began from the front rank. Barry Sheen was another two rows behind.
But it was Wil Hartog of the Netherlands who got away to a flying start on his Suzuki and opened up and early lead.
Ferrari on another Suzuki took the lead on the fifth lap but by lap ten Sheen just managed to edge into first place. Ferrari's performance was worrying the Kenny Roberts team. If Roberts failed to finish and Ferrari took the chequered flag then he'd also take the world title. But it wasn't to be. Ferrari crashed heavily on the thirteenth lap and was taken to hospital.
Sheen held onto his lead until Hartog challenged again and overtook. As due's were fought out behind him Hartog appeared to be pulling away.
Then Roberts began to close on the leaders, taking Randy Mamola of the United State's with him. But it was Sheen who roared across the line in first place after a mishap forced Roberts onto the guard rail. He managed third place just behind Mamola's Suzuki. Good enough to win the title.