Rich Oliver pictured during his days with the Marlboro/Team Roberts Yamaha squad. Rich never complained about it, but had Kenny Roberts not gotten into an argument with the AMA over stickers on his bike Oliver might have raced a couple of more years in AMA 250 Grand Prix competition.
Instead the Marlboro team went over and raced WERA Formula USA for a few seasons during the prime of Oliver’s career.
It seemed like a bad deal for Rich at the time. Can you imagine how many AMA 250GP wins and championships he would have amassed had he raced AMA those two seasons with such a strong team?
In the end Rich had the last laugh. The F-USA Series became wildly popular, largely because of Marlboro/Team Roberts’ participation with full-fledged 500cc Grand Prix bikes.
Rich made even more headlines for riding those bikes and he still went on and later obliterated every record known to man in AMA 250 Grand Prix anyway. He was also a hell of a Superbike rider, which many forget, both in his early days on a privateer Kawasaki and much later as a factory Yamaha pilot.
Oliver was one of the true greats in the history of American road racing. He is certain to be a future Hall of Famer.
You can keep up with Rich today via his Mystery School. It’s so top secret I still haven’t been able to figure out what he does there.