by Gus Breiland
Stillwater Noise Issue; The Mayor Speaks
Ken Harycki, the Stillwater mayor, replied to MMM’s inquiry regarding the Pioneer Press article that claimed the city was going to crack down on loud motorcycles. Mayor Harycki stated that regarding the Stillwater city noise ordinance and enforcement, “This is not a change. We didn’t change anything.” The issue came up when the Washington County Historic Courthouse Advisory Committee passed a resolution which asked the City Administration to enforce noise regulations regarding motorcycles and cars. Resident complaints of excessive noise on Stillwater’s main drag spurred this resolution.
However, Mayor Harycki said the city “is not setting out a dragnet” for motorcycles. Stillwater police are “not going to have muffler inspections,” but Harycki asked “if you’re going to visit our city, make sure you exercise the same courtesy you would in your own neighborhood.” Stillwater police are attempting to interpret and enforce the Minnesota state noise statutes, which were clearly written by someone whose second language will some day, in the distant future, be English. Without usable guidance from the state, the Stillwater police will use a somewhat arbitrary trigger for an exhaust inspection and citation. “If someone is going out of their way to attract attention, they are going to attract attention,” said the mayor.
It’s apparent that many cities are fed up with motorcycle noise and that this is becoming a big issue for motorcycling. In the not so distant future (2010, if not sooner), federal EPA regulations will be applied at the state level across the country. When that happens, any alteration of the intake/exhaust system will be a major violation, with an equally major fine. We may as well get used to it, because it’s not going to go away.
Suzuki Keeps Winning at the 2007 AMA Superbike Series, Round Two, Barber Motorsports Park
Six-time champion, Mat Mladin, won both Superbike races in Leeds, Alabama. A record 58,500 fans gathered to watch Suzuki win four of the first five places in the Superbike class. Dunlop’s multi-compound N-Tec™ rear tire did pretty well, too. Of the top ten positions in each of the five races, including the two Superbike rounds, Dunlop-shod machines collected 39 out of a possible 50.
The defending Superbike champion, Yoshimura Suzuki’s Ben Spies, was prepared to go to war with teammate Mladin. Spies set a record qualifying run on his Suzuki GSX-R1000 with a 1:24.094 lap, .736 seconds off of his record time from last year. The race began with both riders at the front, with Mladin in the lead. For 28 laps, the two Suzuki riders sailed away from the pack while staying within a second of each other. Mladin hung on the lead with consistently fast last lap times and his 52nd career win. Mladin said, “We did what we had to do today. It was a good race and we’re really looking forward to tomorrow. It’s going to be a long battle this season.” Honda Racing’s Miguel Duhamel finished third, followed by Jordon Suzuki Motorsports Aaron Yates.
CBS Sports will Show MotoGP Races
MotoGP is big around the world and, finally, will have a chance to be big in the US when CBS Sports broadcasts 3 races on network television across the United States this summer. In 2007, CBS presents MotoGP; beginning with the huge crowds at the Grand Prix from Barcelona on June 10, followed by the TT Circuit in Assen, Netherlands on June 30, and third race from Sachsenring, Germany on July 15. The telecasts will include race coverage, on-board cameras, features, news interviews, and an information and graphics package.
“With the growth of this emerging sport, we are more than pleased to be bringing our viewers all the high-speed excitement of MotoGP,” said Rob Correa, Sr. Vice President, Programming, CBS Sports.
“We are proud to be associated with CBS Sports, a real home for American sports; and it just shows how far MotoGP has come in the last few years,” said Manel Arroyo, Managing Director, Dorna Sports. “The growth of the sport in the United States is one of Dorna’s key goals, and this deal will help us showcase the thrills and excitement of MotoGP to a mainstream audience right across the country.” MotoGP TV is found in 207 countries, 184 live or same day. Approximately 5.2 billion people tuned into MotoGP races last year.
MotoGP is the world’s premier motorcycle championship, with the best racers on multi-million dollar, 200 horsepower, 325lb, 200mph+ prototype machines. This is the glamorous circus depicted in the movie “Faster” on a major network budget. In 2006, the ‘Kentucky Kid,’ Nicky Hayden, on a Repsol Honda broke Valentino Rossi’s five-year MotoGP monopoly and became the first American world champ since Kenny Roberts, Jr. in 2000.
Apparently, you can live twice because the “motorcycle journey of a lifetime is back” for a second round. Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman are on the road again (“Long Way Round”) on the “Long Way Down.” Beginning in May, the duo are off on a 15,000-mile journey on two BMW R 1200 GS bikes beginning at John O’Groats, Scotland and ending at Cape Agulhas, the southern tip of Africa. They will explore 20 countries on the trip: Libya, the Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Botswana and the Namibian Skeleton coast.
“I can’t imagine not ever thinking about some adventure,” said Ewan McGregor. “‘Long Way Round’ changed us all – it bonded us all together and made our dreams come true – and it’s not often something like that happens. ‘Long Way Down’ is something you can not only daydream about, but actually do.”
McGregor and Boorman are supporting UNICEF, CHAS and Riders for Health and you can follow the adventure on www.longwaydown.com. If you’re so inclined, you can pre-order the book and DVD at that site. The BBC will broadcast the “Long Way Down” television series in Autumn/Winter 2007 television series and we’ll get it . . . eventually, in the US.
Loud Telephones Save Lives?
A whacky new company, SoundofMotion, has developed a strange application that turns your phone into what sounds like a little tiny motorcycle. This strange play on “can you hear me now” and irritating ringtones will run on “any Bluetooth- and Java-capable phone.” It is controlled by a “wireless BT sensor” mounted to one of your bicycle’s wheels. If you’re lucky enough to encounter cagers (or motorcyclists) who are paying attention to their environment and have spectacular hearing, this cell phone application will let them know you are sharing the road. Don’t whip out your credit card yet. The app is still in beta testing but may be out sometime this summer. Check out this link for a demo: www.engadget.com/2007/04/24/soundofmotion-keeps-cyclists-safe-morphs-phone-into-motorcycle/.
The Bikie Wars
Leave it to the Aussies to come up with a wimpy name for anything, including biker gangs. Sidney, Australia’s police are cracking down on the “bikie wars.” All 46 Sidney police commands, the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad, the Gangs Squad, the Firearms Squad, the Riot Squad, Traffic Services, the Police Air Wing and the Australian version of CSI are ramped up for “Operation Ranmore.” Police Minister, David Campbell announced that all of the city’s resources were being put into the war to resolve “the bikie gang problem.” Mr. Campbell said “the tit-for-tat arson and shooting attacks will not be tolerated.”
Commissioner Ken Moroney said, “Outlaw motorcycle gangs have been put on notice. The violence must stop and the NSW Police Force will stop it . . . “Enough is enough. We are fed up with bikie gangs launching retribution on the streets of Sydney, endangering the lives of innocent people.’’
Sounds like it’s time to put the Road Warrior back on the road. Mel, your country needs you.
No Helmets in Missouri
From the AMA’s news feed, “The Missouri Senate Transportation Committee endorsed a bill to repeal the requirement for anyone 21 or older to wear a helmet. Younger riders still would need helmets.” The bill’s supporters include Freedom Of Road Riders, ABATE for Missouri and the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). Their argument is “it’s an issue of personal freedom.”
Please ‘splain to me, again, how helmets are more an “issue of personal freedom” than seat belts are for cagers? If the AMA was in charge of Motorcycle Safety Training, would student riders be asked to wear flipflops, a do-rag, and sunglasses to the Basic Rider Course?
Risky Business Tax in Sweden
The Swedish government is proposing a new tax for all vehicle owners; a 32% addition to the vehicle insurance premium. The tax is supposed to pay for the cost of injuries and will be introduced in July 2007. In the future, all accident and injury costs will be moved to this premium, which could result in premium increases of 100%. The idea is to improve “road safety” by making motorists, like motorcyclists, pay for their “risky behavior.” The goal is that certain high risk bikes and their riders will simply go away because of the additional cost.