Rider: Danny Roberts
Then: CCS racer and soon-to-be CBR900RR Challenge Champion
Now: Dunlop Test Manager

“I spent years racing motocross, but then I got tired of getting banged up so I decided to give road racing a try. I started out on GSX-Rs in the late 80s and did pretty well, but it wasn’t until I raced a CBR900RR that things really took off for me.

“The Honda was the size of a 600, weighed less than my GSX-R and made way more power. I got one when they came out in 1993 with help from a dealer in Palm Beach, Florida, and raced it in the CBR900RR Challenge that Honda put together to promote the bike. It ran as a support class for AMA races and I won every Southeast event and then the series final at Daytona, taking the championship. The win in ’93 led to another new 900RR, this one owned by a local businessman that offered to sponsor me. We literally converted his streetbike into a racer!

“At the time the CBR900RR—they called it the Fireblade everywhere but here in America—was the only bike with a 16-inch front wheel, so [former Dunlop Test Manager] Jim Allen started sending me 16-inch front tires to test. I think that was really the very beginning of me testing for Dunlop, though it wasn’t in an official capacity. Not only did the CBR accelerate my racing career, it was also the very bike that may have prompted Jim to eventually approach me about becoming a Dunlop test rider, which has been my job for the past 17 years.”