Runner and childhood friend Skip Aksland on King Kenny Roberts’ 70th birthday
Happy Birthday Kenny! Who would have thought that we would have become old men?
We met when you were 15 sweeping the floor in my brother Bud’s shop and I was barely 10. The hundreds of laps we cut on the short track my dad built for us are moments that I will never forget. You on your Suzuki 50cc and I on my Hodaka had a tight race, but not really. You always managed to beat me.
Thank you for all the first hand leathers throughout my days as a hobbyist. Also for building me a Champion Framed Yamaha Twin to be competitive at Ascot my novice year and having Shell Thu and for building me a 750 Yamaha twin my Junior year.
I knew you were going to do special things when you competed in your first pro race as a novice at Cow Palace in San Francisco and finished third against all expert and junior riders. Then you won two Grand National Championships on the less competitive Yamaha against the factory Harleys; you continued to impress.
When the TZ750 Earth Trackers were built, you said the powers were “Skip Needs It Too”. When the bikes got to Indy, we looked at each other without saying anything and thought, ‘What did we get into? “. When you got your bike back and came back to me in the practice line and said, “Watch out, we don’t know if they’re going to turn left!” I started to worry. After giving up because my gas was sticking, I was able to watch the journey that marked history.
You always made me feel like I was part of the Yamaha team, maybe not as an official teammate, but you made sure I was taken care of.
After winning my first national race at Loudon, you called me up to congratulate me, sort of. âJust because you won at Loudon doesn’t mean you are a road racer. Â»Point taken.
When you broke your back in Japan during testing for Season 79, I was honored that you told Yamaha you wanted me to replace you at Daytona.
Thank you for loaning Linda and I $ 5,000 to buy our first home, and yes we still live there as much as you are laughing at us today.
Thank you for always having bikes for Dustin when we came to the ranch. Above all, thank you for always being our friend. Happy Birthday Kenny; we love you.
Skip, Linda and Dustin.
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