Roberts chases Smart at Brands Hatch

American team captain Kenny Roberts chases British team member Paul Smart at Brands Hatch during the 1974 Transatlantic Match Races. That year was one of the closest Match Race in the history of the popular racing series. The Brits beat the Yanks by just 15 points after six races. (The Jim Greening Collection)

American team captain Kenny Roberts chases British team member Paul Smart at Brands Hatch during the 1974 Transatlantic Match Races. That year was one of the closest Match Races in the history of the popular racing series. The Brits beat the Yanks by just 15 points after six races. (The Jim Greening Collection)

Another in the Jim Greening Match Race Series showing American team captain Kenny Roberts chasing British team member Paul Smart at Brands Hatch during the 1974 Transatlantic Match Races. That year was one of the closest Match Race meetings in the history of the popular racing series. The Brits beat the Yanks by just 15 points after six races.

The British squad was made up of Barry Sheene/Suzuki 750, Paul Smart/Suzuki 750, Stan Woods/Suzuki 750, Peter Williams/Norton 750, Percy Tait/Triumph 750, Mick Grant/Yamaha 700, Barry Ditchburn/Yamaha 700 – reserve: Ron Chandler/Triumph 750.

The Yanks were Kenny Roberts/Yamaha 700, Gene Romero/Yamaha 700, Gary Fisher/Yamaha 700, John Long/Yamaha 700, Yvon DuHamel/Kawasaki 750, Art Baumann/Kawasaki 750, Gary Nixon/Suzuki 750, Dave Aldana/Norton 750 – reserve: Jim Evans/Yamaha 700.

For years Paul Smart was the local hero of Brands Hatch. In the race pictured Smart got the early lead, but Roberts chased him down to take the victory. Roberts won four of the six rounds, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the depth of the British squad.

This was Roberts’ introduction to European fans. Kel Carruthers, who was tuning for Roberts, said Brands Hatch marshals were horrified to find Roberts’ Yamaha had tires with no tread. The bike featured some of the earliest Goodyear motorcycle slicks.

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