“King” Kenny Roberts was born on the 31st of December 1951 in Modesto, California. A true pioneer of American racing, Kenny won two Grand National dirt track championships prior to focusing on road racing. In 1978 he became the first American to win the 500cc World Championship, doing so in his Rookie season. He also won the 500cc title in 1979 and 1980. His dirt track roots forever changed the way grand prix bikes were ridden, and consequently opened the door for more Americans to follow him to the World Championship.