Kenny Roberts. “So Woefully Underpaid” By Artist Tom Fritz

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

16 Responses to “Kenny Roberts. “So Woefully Underpaid” By Artist Tom Fritz”

  1. 1 Dale Dec 4th, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Wow!!! That is a great work of art of a great champion.

  2. 2 Boss Hawg Dec 4th, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Wow…I would love to see a punched out VROD run flat-track.

    Boss Hawg

  3. 3 deadwod1783 Dec 4th, 2011 at 10:02 am

    KR has earned his place in motorcycle history and is one of the best riders/racers ever to hit the track. Great rendering of a true American Icon.

  4. 4 Uhl Dec 4th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    WOW TOM, so dam cool! Hat’s off again sir.

  5. 5 fuji Dec 4th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Great painting. Kudos . This painting is credit long overdue.

    I was fortunate to be at this race. Never assumed it would become the most important “all time” flat track race . Never missed the Indy mile for years.

    Little side notes.

    The TZ 750 was a beast of an engine to control the power band was very narrow
    My understanding a kill switch was installed on one cylinder to help keep the rear wheel from spinning to gain traction in the turns.

    As I recall Roberts litterly layed this bike down as he diamond the coerners sliding into the straw bales and powerd out.

  6. 6 morpion Dec 4th, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    i am not sure but i think after that race they change the rules in class c ,,,,, v-twin and push-rod engine only

  7. 7 fuji Dec 4th, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    morpion ,,,,,
    Reserch reserch your statements. Just saying.

  8. 8 nicker Dec 4th, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    Ya, i’m with fuji on this one;

    “…change the rules in class c ,,,,, v-twin and push-rod engine only…”

    As i recall, the Yamaha upright twins were OHC, not push-rod.
    And i recall seeing them running the San Jose Mile, in like 1978-1998.

    Anyway, the only Pro-HD rule i can remember for calss-C was in the early days when side valve motors could be 750 while the OHV motoer were limited to 500. And about the time the KR sportsters were OBE by the OHV sportsters the triumphs were allowed to increase their displacement ,,,, making the tried and true BSA Gold Star 500 less competitive than they had been.


  9. 9 morpion Dec 5th, 2011 at 9:08 am

    it,s good to see some people who knows more about that ,,like i said i was not sure

  10. 10 Mike corbin Dec 5th, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Absolutely awesome, a great artist and one of the best motorcycle guys that ever lived.

    Kenny is one of the most important industry corner stones..

  11. 11 burnout Dec 5th, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Totally agree with above post! peace

  12. 12 M Kidd Dec 5th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    What an amazing piece of art.. Truly captures a very special time in history. I wold love to have that up above my fireplace. Tearing up the track. . I can almost hear the scream of that tearing down the straight away..

  13. 13 fuji Dec 5th, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    M Kidd of Ft worth ? I wont elaborate just aknowledge.

  14. 14 john Dec 5th, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    how much

  15. 15 live2rideaglide Dec 5th, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Kenny was the best all round racer I ever saw. We raced against him in the 70s. He was good in all phases of AMA racing. Back then to get national points you had to run flat track ,roadrace and TT.
    One of the hardest things to do is capture the speed , intensity and ragged edge ride of a flat tracker with a still life potrait , but Tom you have done it..

  16. 16 Martin Twofeather Dec 5th, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Tom, great work you feel like your right there when it happened….

Comments are currently closed.
Cyril Huze