• Sole Ascendance // Joe Roberts
  • Shaik Ridzwan
  • 35mmcalifiornianfilmJoeRobertsMoto2MotoGPRacerSoleAcendancevintage
Sole Ascendance // Joe Roberts

We had the opportunity to sit and talk with Joe Roberts during the winter break in his home in Los Angeles.

Joe is currently the only American rider in 75th FIM Road RacingWold Championship. I was very curious about his story and was fortunate to get to know him in a more relaxed setting.

As he was telling me the story of his father introducing him to motorcycling at age 3, I pointed over to the Ducati behind his left shoulder. "Whose bike is that?" Explaining to him before he could answer about my personal passion for the Tamburini-designed bikes. "That's my dad's old race bike. It's a 748RS. I would love to rebuild and ride it someday," he said. "I hope you do... I mean, you must!" I said. The bike was dusty and sits as raced. All the right period bits were there. Incredible.

The red RS we see was one of the very low production bikes factory built only for racing. During the time when Ducati was producing RS bikes in the '90s, it was usually seen used by privateer race teams. It was as close as you could get to a factory corse bike. It's still very rare, so running into an original one is always a treat.

Joe is as charming and humble as it come. He clearly loves motorcycles and describes riding his old Triumph and other bikes in his garage with so much joy that you almost forget he does it for a living, traveling the globe racing on some of the most advanced machines in the most competitive stage in the world. I asked about his other interests besides racing. He loves riding his road bike in the mountains around LA and also plays the bass in a band with his brother when he can.

We met a couple more times after this interview. Each time we talked, very little was about racing or plans for the future. I was surrounded by racing as a kid, and now as a father with two boys, I have more interest in knowing what makes racers tick. One thing that Joe said to me that I will keep locked in my head when I asked if he had advice for other dads out there pushing their kids to race at an early age, he said, "I try to tell them, It's not about you... It's about the kid. Don't make it about you."

My hope is that he becomes a MotoGP world champion someday. Not entirely because Americans desperately need one, but because he is the type of champion we all want to watch and cheer for.

The "Californian" some call him that. I think it fits very well.

Thank you, Joe, for being a perfect gentleman and genuinely a rad guy to be around. Here's to more podiums, good hangs, and great conversation in the future.

Special thanks to the Roberts family for their hospitality.  Also, could not have done this without the help of my team Melody and Cristian. You guys rock !

Cheers, SR

  • Shaik Ridzwan
  • 35mmcalifiornianfilmJoeRobertsMoto2MotoGPRacerSoleAcendancevintage