Sport, and in Britain, the British motorcyclist Barry Sheene may have just lost his world championship to United States rider Kenny Roberts, but he proved on Sunday (25 September) that he still has the ability to win major events.
Sport, and in Britain, the British motorcyclist Barry Sheene may have just lost his world championship to United States rider Kenny Roberts, but he proved on Sunday (25 September) that he still has the ability to win major events. Sheene and Roberts raced wheel-to-wheel for most of the 24-lap feature race at an international meeting at Donington.
SYNOPSIS: The British rider Barry Sheene was determined to prove he is still the best, even though United States rider Kenny Roberts now wears number one. Sheene, wearing number 7 and riding a Suzuki, was to be in luck, while some of his closest challengers during the race suffered mechanical trouble which ended their chances.
About 50,000 people in Sheene's home crowd mostly supported his efforts to get ahead of Roberts. But for much of the 24 laps the pair jointly dominated the race. Neither could make a convincing break on the other. Earlier in the day, Sheene had gained a psychological advantage by breaking Roberts' newly-won lap record at Donington. Here, Roberts holds a slender advantage. it was a race that many in the crowd took to be a grudge contest between the new world champion and the new holder of the lap record. Until the final two laps few other riders were given a chance of finishing in the first two places.
The duel lasted for most of the race, until ill-luck or bad management deprived Roberts of a place. The battle ended two laps from the finish, when the world champion ran out of petrol. Sheene cruised home.
British rider Dave Potter on a Yamaha rode consistently and came in second. Sheene's supporters rejoiced in the double success of the new lap record and the first place in the feature race. And Sheene's morale which had been flagging received a major boost.