Tom Fritz is pleased to announce the release of his recently completed artwork “So Woefully Underpaid”, featuring Kenny Roberts broad-sliding and tagging hay bales in the final turn of the 1975 Indy Mile.
In a desperate attempt to find a faster dirt-track bike to run down the booming XR Harleys, Yamaha stuffed a TZ750 four-cylinder, two stroke, road-racing engine into a dirt-track frame. The engine pumped out 125 hp, 50 more than a Yamaha twin dirt-tracker. Roberts was asked to race it – a ride that has since become part of AMA Grand National lore. The TZ could hit about 150 mph at the end of each straight, but balancing throttle and traction in the corners wasn’t easy. Coming from nearly a dead-last start, Kenny managed to wrangle the intimidating beast and win the event. When he got off the bike after sliding and spinning to one of the most famous wins in American dirt-track racing history, Roberts was quoted as saying, “They don’t pay me enough to ride that thing” – hence the painting’s title.
After winning Indy, the bike was reconfigured and raced twice more before it was banned by the AMA. To ensure historical accuracy pertinent to the Indy event, Fritz researched what little photographic and film records are obtainable of that nighttime event, and visited the restored bike for reference. Substantial effort was spent on specific details that were confirmed by Kenny himself.
Tom’s spectacular interpretation debuted at the 2011 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legends Induction Ceremony in Las Vegas this past weekend. Prints are available. Get yours at Fritz Art, or call Tom at 805-499-1630