*Buell Announces Voluntary Recall
*Helmet Law Violates Religious Rights?
*Ford’s Hopper Ad is in Hot Water
*Hell’s Angels On Screen
*Ragnar’s Ride Implicated in Pre-game Assault
*New Financial News from Excelsior-Henderson
by Troy Johnson
Crash Sidelines Doohan. But the GP Star Will Return.
Five-time world champion Michael Doohan was badly injured while qualifying for the Spanish 500cc Gran Prix. Apparently the 33-year-old Australian was thrown from his Repsol Honda on a quick left-hand turn while traveling in excess of 100mph. Reports varied as to the exact cause of the crash, but the track was still damp from a morning rain. A spokesman for the Repsol team, Jose Aznar, said that Doohan had broken his left wrist, right knee, and left collar bone and is expected to be out for at least three months. The right knee was the same one he broke in the Dutch Gran Prix of 1992, costing him the championship that year.
After being stabilized in Seville, Spain, Doohan was transported to California for surgery. He was operated on by several trauma experts in a 3.5 hour procedure and now has a variety of hardware in his arm and leg holding him together. The doctors are confident that Doohan will be back on the track within three months. Doohan has stated that this will not end his racing career. “I’m definitely not retiring. I realize that I can’t race forever, but I don’t want to leave gran prix racing riding in the back of an ambulance.” About the crash he said, “I was probably doing close to 200kph at the time. The bike wobbled and I was flipped off into a barrier.”
This most likely will mean the end of Doohan’s hope for the championship this year. Before the crash he was trailing Kenny Roberts Jr. in the point standings. Doohan’s Repsol team mate, Alex Criville, went on after the crash to take the pole for the race and then won the race for the third straight year.
Buell Announces Voluntary Recall of 1994-1999 Models.
Buell Motorcycles, now a division of Harley-Davidson, has announced a voluntary recall of 18,637 motorcycles built between 1994 and 1999. According to a company spokesman, Buell/H-D became aware of the problems after reviewing information on the warranty work that was being performed and they were not aware of any injuries resulting from the defects. The recall is part of a quality control initiative within Buell that was started after H-D acquired full control of Buell in the fall of 1998. Five million dollars have been set aside to pay for the repairs. Buell doesn’t expect this to affect their current production goals for 1999 of 8000 bikes. H-D stock suffered slightly after the news and it is far to soon to see what impact this may have Buell’s sales figures.
The following is a list of the affected models and components: Front motor mount System in all 1997-1998 models. Negative battery cable in 1996-1998 S1 Lightning and 1998 White Lighting models. Rear brake line in 1999 X1 Lightning models. Side stand switch in all 1996-1999 models, except S2 and S2 Thunderbolt models. Fuel tank retention system in all 1995-1999 models, except X1 Lightning models. Fuel tank vent in all 1995- 1999 models. Swing arm in all 1995-1999 models. Shock eye in all 1995-1999 models.
Owners of the bikes qualifying are being contacted by mail. If you own one of the listed Buells and are not notified by mail of the recall contact your local Buell dealer.
Helmet Law Violates Religious Rights?
The mandatory helmet law of British Columbia, Canada has recently been challenged on religious grounds. The B.C. Human Rights tribunal ruled in May that the helmet law violates the right of a baptized Sikh to wear a turban.
The issue arose in 1995 when Vancouver resident, Avtar Dhillon, complained of being refused a motorcycle license test because he is a baptized Sikh and therefore can’t remove his turban to wear a helmet. Now the provincial government must decide how it will proceed, but in the end they have only two options, appeal the tribunal’s decision or change the Motor Vehicle Code. Dhillon and Sikh community leaders were obviously very pleased with the decision of the tribunal.
Ford’s Hopper Ad is in Hot Water in Denmark.
A Danish environmental lobby group feels that the “Born to be Wild” campaign for Ford’s new Cougar is irresponsible because it encourages middle aged people to drive too fast. The newspaper and television ads feature actor Dennis Hopper driving a Cougar side-by-side with a younger self on a Harley-Davidson ala Easy Rider.
“We don’t think that Ford’s unveiled call on middle-aged drivers to relive the youthful rush of adrenaline is an expression of decent marketing in light of the many traffic deaths and injuries caused by excessive speed and wild driving” Said NOAH, a Danish wing of the Friends of the Earth International.
Ford has not heard any other such complaints of people being unable to control their driving habits nor has the ad agency that created the campaign. The quote from NOAH sounds suspiciously like something my mother would say. Mom, leave those nice Dutch people alone.
Hell’s Angels On Screen. Sonny Barger’s Tale.
The Hell’s Angels are headed for Hollywood once again. This with the announcement that director Tony Scott, best known for directing “Enemy of the State”, has signed on to develop and direct a new film on the Hell’s Angels. The movie will be based on the unpublished autobiography of Ralph “Sonny” Barger. For those unfamiliar with Barger, he was the out spoken and infamous president of the Oakland chapter of the Angels during the 1960s. His leadership of such a vilified group as the Angels made Barger a symbol of the counter-culture of the era and also made him a lightning rod for controversy.
Producers for the movie include Fritz Clapp, the long time attorney for both the Angels and Barger. “Sonny’s life story is essentially the story of the club,” said Clapp. “Through his personal charisma and leadership, the Oakland chapter became the mother chapter in the late ’50s and early ’60s for the club, which has expanded to 100 chapters in 13 countries.” The script is currently being shopped around to different studios.
Ragnar’s Ride Implicated in Pre-game Assault.
On a local front a reporter from the Star-Tribune is suing former Fox Sports broadcaster Jerry Glanville and Fox Sports Inc. Paul Levy claims he suffered arm and shoulder injuries when Glanville hit him while riding a motorcycle at the November 8 Vikings game in the Metrodome.
According to the suit filed in Hennepin County District Court Glanville borrowed the bike from Ragnar, the Viking’s mascot, 40 minutes before the game. While riding along the sideline Glanville hit Levy in the arm with the motorcycle’s handlebar. Then later in the broadcast of the game the incident was replayed on national television. During the replay Glanville said, “What I did was ran into a sportswriter. I’ve been trying to kill one of those guys for years.” There is no word on what sort of damages are being sought by Levy since all parties involved have declined to comment thus far.
New Financial News from Excelsior-Henderson.
In spite of gloomy predictions from Wall Street analysts Excelsior-Henderson has emerged from their first quarter of production posting losses less than expected. Revenues for the bikes built so far kept the total loss for that period to 7.7 million dollars. This has positioned them well for the coming year as production increases to the level of full production.
“We now look forward to the balance of 1999 during which we transition from a ‘development stage’ company to an operating company.” Stated Co-Founders Dave, Dan, and Jennie Hanlon. “Production is increasing on a planned, steady pace and the motorcycle is being well received by the motorcycle community, and we are happy to welcome our new customers to the Excelsior-Henderson family.”