The historic re-ignition of the battle between Harley Davidson and Indian began in earnest late March with the American Flat Track (AFT) season opener at the all-new Daytona TT. The race held in conjunction with Daytona Bike Week featured an all-new 0.6-mile TT course built in the infield portion of the Daytona Speedway. The AFT Twins race was the stage for the first H-D vs. Indian showdown in over 50 years and the return of twin cylinder bikes to the top class of the TT race.
Indian factory rider Jared Mees got off to a great start and led the entire race on the all-new Indian Scout FTR 750. He beat his teammate Bryan Smith, also on a factory Indian FTR750, by a 9 second margin for a convincing win. He also made history by being the first Indian to win at Daytona since Floyd Emde won the Daytona 200 in 1948. The top Harley-Davidson in the field was piloted by factory rider Jake Johnson to a respectable fourth aboard the all-new Harley-Davidson XG750R, the replacement to the venerable XR750. With the gauntlet now thrown by Indian, we expect the race season to produce some excellent racing action.
The local connection to the race was Nick Mataya (Go Moto) and Andrew Hook (Honda Town) represented Minnesota in the AFT Singles races. Both made it to the Semi-Final heat races, but didn’t place high enough to transfer to the main.
In what will inevitably cause some déjà vu, the Excelsior Henderson Motorcycles brand is up for sale again. For those who weren’t around or don’t remember, the brand was revived by brothers, Dave and Dan Hanlon, and based out of Belle Plaine, MN in the 1990s. They produced a new version Excelsior Henderson Super X motorcycle, which tried to capitalize on the booming heavyweight cruiser market of the time. The $18,500 Super X was aimed as a shot across the bow of Harley-Davidson during heady times of the mid 1990’s. But a little less than 2,000 were produced before the company went out of business in 1999. As part of the bankruptcy the facilities and intellectual property were sold off. The failure of the brand remains a sore spot with many investors and enthusiasts. A Florida investment group, the suspiciously named E-H Partners, bought much of the Excelsior Henderson assets including the trademark, but bike production never resumed. That corporation was dissolved in 2006, and details are sparse on how the current owners came to own the trademark. The current owner Aaron, Bell International is offering the brand’s intellectual property for sale as an “opportunity” to revive the brand.
1st Fatality of the Year
Minnesota saw the first motorcyclist fatality of the year on March 5th in Redwood County. According to the Redwood County Sheriff’s Department the crash happened Sunday, March 5th around 6 p.m. in Sanborn. Redwood County is located in the Southwest portion of the state and is best know as the home of Walnut Grove of Little House on the Prairie fame. Sanborn in located along Highway 14.
The 60-year-old rider was on a curve when he crashed into the ditch. The rider was not wearing a helmet, according to authorities. No details further details as to the cause were released at this time. This is the second earliest motorcycle fatality ever in Minnesota. The earliest motorcycle death ever in Minnesota happened Feb. 23, 2002. The first motorcycle fatality last season happened March 7. The total fatalities for 2015 were 61 for the year. 2016 crash statistics have not yet been released as of yet.
Go Big or Go Home
A video of a rider jumping a California freeway made the rounds on social media recently. The video was originally posted to Instagram showed an unidentified rider jumping Highway 60 in Riverside County California. The rider, while not confirmed, is linked to person identified as Kyle Katsandris. The video shows some prep work with the freestyle MX riders favorite weapon, the flat spade, a couple previews of the approach to the jump, and the rider airing it out over the roughly 60 foot gap in the between hills along Highway 60.
The California Department of Transportation put out a statement that a highway crew identified the location of the jump in the video. They dismantled the ramp and blocked access to the area to prevent others from attempting copycat stunts. “We want to impress upon people that this was a dangerous stunt and somebody could have lost their life on that highway,” CalTrans spokeswoman Terri Kasinga told the Los Angeles Times. “This could have turned into a tragic situation and we hope never to see this again.” The California Highway Patrol and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said they are investigating the incident, but they felt it is unlikely that anyone will be prosecuted due to the rider’s face being obscured by a helmet.
If you want to see it for yourself, it’s easily found on online by searching Kyle Katsandris.
Another Wacky Video
A recent video of an Indian rider’s refusal to relinquish his bike to a tow truck went viral on social media. The rider, identified as Mohammad Nouman, was being cited by traffic enforcement in the Indian city of Kanpur, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, was incensed by the citation and refused to pay the fine. He had parked in a restricted parking area. A traffic police spokesman told the Times of India, “The cops then warned him that if he will not pay the fine his motorbike would be towed away and taken to the traffic police lines. The cops chained his bike with the traffic crane and were about to tow the vehicle, Nouman jumped and sat on the bike.” The truck pulls away with Nouman perched on his bike as it dangled from the back of the tow truck. The video captures Nouman hanging on the bike as the two truck heads towards impound. It appears to have been captured on a cell phone by another motorist. Police said Nouman later apologized and paid the fine to get his motorcycle released.
This is another video easily found online if you want to see it for yourself by searching Mohammad Nouman + motorcycle in your search engine of choice.
NUVIZ Heads Up Display
NUVIZ announced that the company has raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Pierer Industrie AG.
The latest investment brings NUVIZ’s funding total to over $9M in equity financing and venture debt ahead of the launch of the company’s head-up display technology and connected riding solutions in the first half of 2017.
NUVIZ is innovating the future of connected motorcycle riding and will soon unveil the first helmet mounted HUD to offer a seamless and intuitive experience for riders to navigate, communicate, and capture videos or photos – all while keeping their focus on the road.
It‘s a solution that is long overdue, making the NUVIZ HUD one of the most anticipated motorcycle products of the year.
MMM will be covering Nuviz soon! Stay Tuned!