INTRODUCTION American rider Kenny Roberts won both heats of the John Player Transatlantic motor cycle trophy at Brands Hatch yesterday (8 April) to put the U.
INTRODUCTION American rider Kenny Roberts won both heats of the John Player Transatlantic motor cycle trophy at Brands Hatch yesterday (8 April) to put the U.S. team level with Britain.
SYNOPSIS: Kenny Roberts is captaining the strongest American team to contest the trophy series yet. Heading the British team is Barry Sheene, currently the World 500 c.c. champion.
At the start of the second race, Sheene was determined to equalise, having lost the first race to Roberts. Sheene led both 13-lap heats of the 2.61 mile (4.2 kilometre) Brands Hatch circuit on his Suzuki but in this race and the first, he was forced into second place by Roberts' Yamaha. At one stage river No. 32, Steve Baker, took the initiative for the American side but only came home third.
It wasn't long before the riders started pushing hard at the front.
It soon became obvious that the fight was directly between Sheene and Roberts. The Briton and the American took it in turns to lead the race, at the end of the first of a three-Test annual Easter series.
Delays in transporting the American team's bikes from the United States held up the two races, but failed to halt Roberts in his duel with Sheene. Although Sheene set a new lap record of one minute 35.8 seconds in the first heat.
The Americans were somewhat saddened before the tough contest even started. Two of their team, Randy Cleek and Pat Evans were killed last week during racing. But Roberts determined to keep America in a good position as the U.S. is trailing five to one in the overall series.
He achieved this with each team going with 134 points into the second day of racing.