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Kel Carruthers

January 3, 2016 - Pilots
Kel Carruthers

Kelvin “Kel” Carruthers (born 3 January 1938) is an Australian former world champion Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. He went on to become a successful race team manager, particularly in the US and Europe with Kenny Roberts.

Kel Carruthers

Kel Carruthers

Carruthers, as the son of a motorcycle shop owner, learned how to work on bikes from a young age, started riding at 10, and entered his first race at 12. By the early 1960s he had won the Australian 125 cc, 250 cc, 350 cc and 500 cc National Championships.

In early 1966, he moved to Europe with his family to compete in UK and International short-circuit races, including Grand Prix World Championship series riding a Drixton Aermacchi, and for early 1969 season riding bikes for the Aermacchi factory. Halfway through the 1969 season, he was offered a ride with the Benelli factory and won the Isle of Man 250 cc TT race, after which Aermacchi released him from their contract to continue as a factory rider with Benelli, winning the FIM 250cc road racing world championship after a tight points battle with Santiago Herrero and Kent Andersson.

After the 1970 Grand Prix season, he accepted an offer from Yamaha to race in America. Yamaha asked him to tutor a young American dirt track racer named Kenny Roberts. In 1973, Carruthers became the manager of Yamaha’s American racing team. Under Carruther’s guidance, Roberts would win the 1973 and 1974 Grand National Championship for Yamaha. When it became apparent that Yamaha didn’t have a bike able to compete with the dominant Harley Davidson dirt track team, they decided to send Carruthers and Roberts to Europe to compete in the road racing world championships. With Carruthers tuning the bikes and offering guidance, Roberts went on to win three consecutive world championships. Carruthers also managed Eddie Lawson to a 500cc World Championship.

Kel Carruthers

Kel Carruthers

Carruthers went on to work for several Grand Prix teams through to the 1995 season. In 1996, he took a job with the Sea-Doo watercraft factory racing team, helping them win several national and world titles. He returned to motorcycling in 1998 running a Yamaha satellite motocross team.

In 1985, Carruthers was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.

 

 

 

Kel Carruthers

Kel Carruthers