*Joey Dunlop Dies in Motorcycle Crash
*World’s Fastest Ural
*Excelsior-Henderson the Second Verse
by Victor Wanchena
Joey Dunlop Dies in Motorcycle Crash
A great tragedy has occurred in motorsports with the passing of a true legend, Joey Dunlop. Tens of thousands of people were in attendance for his funeral earlier this month in Belfast, Ireland. Often called “The King of the Road” by his fans the Irish racer had a very prolific career spanning several decades. Dunlop, who had won at the Isle of Man TT races 26 times and was the Formula One world champion five times, was killed while competing in a road race in Estonia. His bike slid off the track in a heavy rainstorm during the race. The mourning of the entire nation evidenced the true scope of this loss for Ireland. Businesses were closed and even religious groups suspended protests out of respect for Dunlop and all he meant for Ireland. Joey Dunlop was 48 and is survived by his wife and five children.
World’s Fastest Ural
If you read MMM’s road test of the Ural sidecar rig last spring you know that speed is one of the things Ural doesn’t have. So it came as a bit of a shock when I saw that a group calling itself the “Siberian Speed Team” or SST is going to attempt to set the world speed record for 650 cc, pushrod, gasoline fueled, stock sidecar class on a Ural. For those who aren’t familiar with the Ural, it is essentially is a clone of a 1930’s vintage BMW with a sidecar attached. Built in Russia, their design has changed little in the past sixty years. Known for their reliability not for speed, the Ural has makes roughly 35 horsepower in stock trim and has a terminal velocity of 65 mph. The funny thing is that 65 mph will be enough to take the record because there is no record. The 650 cc, pushrod, gasoline fueled, stock sidecar class is empty meaning the team will only have to make a their run and the record is theirs. The pilot of the Ural speedster will be Freeda Cole, a 53-year corporate executive. SST is very confident that will not only will they set the record but also that it will high enough to prevent anyone from beating it for sometime. According to team sources they have a tuned machine already running at 90 mph. After they conquer the stock class their next goal is to go after the modified streamliner sidecar record currently held by a Triumph at 101 mph. To follow their progress check SST’s website www.narma.org.
Excelsior-Henderson the Second Verse
There is a bit of news out of the now long dormant Excelsior-Henderson plant, it was announced last month that the Bankruptcy Court has approved the reorganization plan filed by E-H earlier this year. The plan basically sets forth how the secured and unsecured creditors would be repaid and also has no provision for any current stockholder to retain or obtain any future equity in E-H. “We believe the proposed plan of reorganization represents the best available alternative for the Company and it’s creditors.” said Dave and Dan Hanlon, co-founders and co-CEOs of Excelsior-Henderson, “It is also a good alternative for the surrounding community as we expect manufacturing operations will resume in Belle Plaine. However it is highly unfortunate that all equity shareholders, common and preferred including ourselves, lost our entire equity stake. There are a lot of shareholders and motorcyclists who have believed in us and the Company, and it is unfortunate that we are all sacrificing. We regret that a plan could not be developed by the Company and E H Partners which provided for continued participation by the Company’s equity holders. Regardless of these short-term setbacks, we remain steadfastly committed to the future of Excelsior-Henderson, and we hope others will also.” You can see a copy of the disclosure statement and the plan of reorganization online at www.mnb.uscourts.gov. Go to the “High Profile Section” and click on case # 99-46679.
Buell Motorcycle Company, Harley-Davidson’s sport and sport-touring motorcycle division, has announced a voluntary recall of several ’99 and ’00 models. The models affected are the 1999 and 2000 Cyclone M2, the 2000 Lightning X1 and the 2000 Thunderbolt S3/Touring. All total 11,000 machines are affected by the recall. The problem is related to the rear shock absorber. If you own an affected machine and have not received a recall notice from Buell contact your local dealer to schedule the service. Despite the recall company officials say they are on track for their production of 10,000 bikes.