by Thomas Day
Hoka Hey Death and Hokum
1,000 were accepted, $1,000 per entrant was collected, $500,000 prize money was promised. Hoka Hey, loosely translated, means “it is a good day to die.” From that point on, things went downhill.
Four riders crashed just hours after leaving Key West. Two motorcyclists died participating in the Hoka Hey Challenge, a 7,000 mile Harley-only race that started in Key West and ended in Homer, AK. 63-year-old Kenneth J. Greene missed a curve on the Glenn Highway in Alaska and went “straight off of the highway.” Earlier in the race, another competitor fell asleep and died in a Montana crash. The race ended on July 4th, but the first two riders crossed the finish line on June 28th, Frank Kelly of Prosperity, South Carolina and Will Barclay of Highland, Florida. As of this printing, no rider/riders has/have been officially declared the winner. The announcement was expected to come during the July 4th participant after-party, but that event came and went without an official decision. According to one report, the organizers are requiring the leading candidates to submit to FBI interviews. Most recently, the organization said the winners would be announced during the Sturgis Rally.
The Rapid City Journal reported that one participant’s wife, Jeri O’Barr, filed a complaint with the State of Florida’s attorney general against the event’s organizers. That complaint will be transferred to the South Dakota attorney general’s office. The Rapid City Journal article stated, “Participants and their family members have begun to question how legitimate the organization is and if any rider will actually win the $500,000 grand prize.” The event organizers, Beth and Jim “Red Cloud” Durham of Hot Springs, SD, told a reporter that “the terms and conditions and required rules are outlined in the applications.” Several participants are challenging everything from the rules to the results to the intentions of the promoters.
Catastrophe in the Highlands
Mounds, Oklahoma, a town of about 1200, is about 25 miles south of Tulsa and is the home of the only high tech US motorcycle manufacturer. For the past 12 years, Highland has built motors and chassis for other companies. Recently, the company began concentrating on their own product; American-made motocrossers for “someone probably in the 30-to-50-year-old range who have got some disposable income (expected to be $10,000-20,000, depending on the model)…” According to Randy Medlin, one of Highland USA’s owners.
July 12th, three of the company’s executives died when their Cessna 421A crashed near the Tulsa International Airport. The plane’s occupants were 41-year old President Mats Malmberg, 51-year old COO Chase Bales, and 37-year old CFO Damian Riddoch. The three were returning from a Detroit business trip. After requesting permission for an emergency landing at Tulsa International Airport, the plane crashed in a city park near the airport. Bales was the pilot and the owner of the plane.
In the company press release, Dr. Steven A. Moell, Chief Executive Officer of US Highland, Inc. said, “This is a human tragedy beyond imagination. Our hearts and prayers go out to their families. No words can describe the loss the families are experiencing. It was an honor to work with these three men and I know they would want us to continue to build US Highland into a leading U.S. powersports company. They were all true visionaries and will be deeply missed.”
US Highland hopes to go mainstream with a dealer network and a retail line this summer. The product line includes a 350 trail bike, 750 and 950 “desert” and street twins, a 950 sport bike with a 1050 in development, 405 and 507 motocrossers and supermotos, and a quad racer. The bikes feature Highland’s HyTens stainless steel frames combined with their single and v-twin motors, Marzocchi or Olins suspension components, Brembo or Beringer brakes, and the promise of a website “personal fitment system.” They moved into their new 30,000 foot facility earlier this year and began recruiting employees. The stock price fell 44 percent, to 75 cents on the announcement of the crash.
Freakout, German Style
A 26-year-old German drove up the a Munich area Hells Angel clubhouse, mooned a group of the bikers and tossed a puppy at them. Not long afterward, he stole a bulldozer and led police on a 5mph chase, jamming up traffic for 3-miles, and reminding other Germans of O.J. and the LAPD. The puppy is safe and at a local animal shelter. The young man is being treated for depression.
“What motivated him to throw a puppy at the Hell’s Angels is currently unclear,” said a spokesman for local police. [Come on. Isn’t that obvious?]
On June 27, Greg Tracy and his Multistrada 1200 S Ducati won the 1200cc class at the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, Davey Durelle took the 450cc class on a Kawasaki KX250, Joe Prussiano whipped up on the 450cc group on a Honda CRF 450, Leeland Sinclair and his Honda CRF was the top 450cc Supermoto rider, and the fastest motorcycle overall time and the 750cc class winner was Gary Trachy on another Ducati MultiStrada. Motorcycles were not the overall fastest vehicles this year. Two-wheels were beaten by four in the Open Wheel, Super Stock, and Time Attack 2WD four-wheeler classes.
Honda is back in racing, at least for the Moto2 2010 Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix series in Indianapolis on August 27. Kevin Schwantz is Honda’s team leader and Honda’s Moriwaki MD600 will be piloted by Hayden brother, Roger Lee; who is also competing in the World Superbike Championship series. Moto2 riders must be 28 or younger, so Roger is in his next-to-last year of eligibility for the series.
A new “youth class” (riders 12-16) has been added to the Indianapolis GP for this year, with all riders on the Honda-powered Moriwaki MD250H. The motor is a single-cylinder four-stroke engine based on the CRF250X powerplant. There will be two point-paying events at Indianapolis.
2010 NHTSA Recalls
Kawasaki 2010 ZR100DAF/L: Left front brake hose rubs on the causing a fluid leak and brake failure.
BMW 2007-2008 G 650 X Country, G 650 X Challenge, G650 X Moto made 11/29/06 to 05/19/08: Drive chain roll gear pin mounting attachment breaks and shrapnel jams the sprocket causing the rear wheel to lock up.
BMW 2008-2009 F650 GS, F 800 GS made 9/27/07 to 3/30/09: Faulty drive chain breaks and jams the sprocket causing the rear wheel to lock up.
BMW 2007-2009 R 1200 GS Adventure made 12/7/05 to 09/26/07: Front attachment bolts for the gas tanks come loose and jamb against the steering fork, interfering with steering.
BMW 2007-2009 R 1200, K 1200 made 08/06 to 05/09: The front brake lines leak from vibration causing front brake failure.
MV Agusta Motors 2010 F4 made 2/1- to 4/19/10: Air filter frame, P/N 8000b4061 fails to seal properly, allowing dirt and debris to bypass the filter and jamb the throttle body interfering with the throttle operation.
Bell Motorcycle helmet AG-8 Sizes XL AND XXL made 9/06 to 3/10: Helmets fail to conform to DOT impact attenuation requirements.