Even the nearby Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the largest spectator sports venue in the world, couldn't hold all the people who claim to have seen Kenny Roberts' legendary flat-track victory the at the Indianapolis State Fairgrounds in 1975. Like The Beatles at Shea Stadium or Obama's inauguration, that race has become one of those epic moments in history that everyone wants to claim as their own-whether their participation was real or imagined.
This past summer Yamaha gave another 25,000 motorcycle racing fans the opportunity to participate in this shared history by arranging for Roberts to make a series of exhibition laps aboard a replica TZ750 flat-tracker at the 2009 Indy Mile. Before a crowd that included the best grand prix racers past and present-including Wayne Rainey and Valentino Rossi, as well as Roberts' former tuner Kel Carruthers-The King ripped off three glorious laps on the wicked, two-stroke TZ750.
For those of you who weren't there for the first ride or the second, Yamaha just released an amazing, five-minute video commemorating the memorable event, complete with archival film footage of the 1975 ride from the feature film, "Take It To The Limit." Roberts remembers that first ride 34 years ago in his own words, and also discusses his preparations-and trepidations-surrounding the comeback ride. "I had my bone doctor on standby," he says. Interviews with Carruthers and Colin Edwards fill out the short film, which culminates with footage of Roberts' fast-and-furious three laps.
Here's the video-consider it an early X-mas gift from Yamaha to you: