December 31, 2021, was New Year’s Eve, and the last day of a year many of us would very much like to leave behind. Incidentally, it was also the 70th birthday of King Kenny Roberts. Wait, what? You don’t know who he is? Well, you could definitely say that King Kenny Roberts was one of the trailblazers, not only of the American motorcycle racing scene, but two-wheeled racing in general.

Born on December 31, 1951, Kenneth Leroy Roberts made history in 1978 when he became the first American to win a Grand Prix motorcycle racing world championship. On top of that, he went on to become a two-time winner of the American Motorcyclist Association Grand National Championship. He’s also one of only four riders in racing history to win the AMA Grand Slam. Needless to say, the dude has quite the impressive track record, and at 70, he’s alive and kicking and still well into powersports.

Grand Prix World Champion King Kenny Roberts Turns 70

To celebrate his birthday, his family got him a totally awesome present. Wrapped in his iconic yellow with black speed blocks livery, King Kenny’s family, along with the help from the Yamaha Factory in Newnan, Georgia, created a one-off RMAX 1000 LE side-by-side for the retired racer. You may recognize this livery as one of the most iconic racing liveries in motorcycle racing, with many special-edition Yamaha models offered in this classic Speed Blocks motif over the years.

The RMAX 1000, meanwhile, is one hell of a machine. Equipped with a 999cc parallel-twin engine, the RMAX 1000 has 108 ponies on tap, and can blast through all sorts of terrains at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour. Surely, King Kenny will have a blast ripping around the trials in his ranch aboard this machine. Here’s wishing King Kenny Roberts an awesome birthday, and many, more to come.

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