Friday, September 16, 2011

‘King’ Kenny Roberts takes us back to 1980


Kenny Roberts was King in 1980. He still is.
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A lot was happening back in 1980. Ronald Reagan was running a Presidential campaign in the US, NASA’s Voyager I space probe was getting close to Saturn, Pink Floyd, Olivia Newton-John, Michael Jackson, Lipps Inc., Elton John, Diana Ross, Billy Joel and Queen were making music, John Lennon was shot dead and Yoda and pals took on Darth Vader as The Empire Struck Back.

In other significant developments, in 1980, Brooke Shields was frolicking around in the Blue Lagoon, Robert De Niro was a Raging Bull, Bj√∂rn Borg beat John McEnroe and Kristen Bell and Gisele Bundchen were born. Average annual incomes in the US were a bit less than $20,000, petrol cost about 30 cents a litre, an average new car cost $7,000, Iran and Iraq started fighting (and have been at it ever since...), Japan became the world’s largest automobile producing nation, Pac-Man made its first appearance, CNN became the first 24-hour TV news station and the first fax machines and domestic camcorders were launched in Japan.

In that same year, the 500cc motorcycle grand prix roadracing world championship was won by ‘King’ Kenny Roberts. Now approaching 60 years of age, The King still hasn’t slowed down much. The video here (above), where Kenny rides his 1980 Yamaha YZR500 at Laguna Seca, makes us want to stand up and cheer for him all over again. The 1980s. Man, those were the days.
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