by Thomas Day


2008 Dakar Rally Cancelled Amid Safety Concerns According to Yamaha’s press release, the 2008 Dakar Rally (still more popularly known as Paris-to-Dakar) was cancelled the day before the 30th annual race was to start. “Security concerns” were cited as the reason, since eight of the fifteen stages (all in Mauritania, western Africa) have been hotbeds of “international political tension.” In late December, a branch of Al-Qaeda in Maghreb murdered four French tourists and direct threats were issued regarding the Dakar race. A.S.O., the event organizers, stated that “no other decision but the cancellation of the sporting event could be taken by A.S.O.”

“A.S.O.’s first responsibility is to guarantee the safety of all: that of the populations in the countries visited, of the amateur and professional competitors, of the technical assistance personnel, of the journalists, partners and rally collaborators.”

250 riders were ready to start the race at the time of the cancellation. A.S.O. claims that the future of the race is not at risk. “The Dakar is a symbol and nothing can destroy symbols. The cancellation of the 2008 edition does not endanger the future of the Dakar.”

The AMA in Turmoil The web is boiling with rumors about the AMA. Back in October, AMA CEO Rob Dingman fired two employees and the AMA’s legal counsel. AMA legal counsel, Tim Owen, had served the association for 17 years. Greg Harrison, senior vice president of membership and marketing, and Bill Wood, senior director of communications, were escorted from AMA headquarters December 7. Harrison had been an AMA employee for 28 years.  Wood was the editor of the AMA’s “American Motorcyclist,” and had been with the organization for 25 years.

In early December, Ed Youngblood—a past AMA President and the Chairman of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Ambassadors and Promoters Committee, and member of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Pioneers Committee, resigned from all of those positions in protest.

Youngblood’s opinion of the current leadership was expressed clearly when he wrote (to Don Rosene, the Chairman, Motorcycle Hall of Fame Committee) “Furthermore, with the firm belief that the current AMA leadership will apply any resources provided it toward the destruction of the Association, and eventually the destruction of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, I will make no further financial or in-kind contributions until a more caring, conscientious, and responsible leadership is established at the levels of both the administration and the Board of Directors of the AMA.”

Power Commander Meets CARB The AMA reported that the California Air Resources Board has found DynoJet Research’s Power Commander ignition module to be in violation of the state’s emissions standards. CARB’s tests determined these devices would “adversely affect the emissions control systems of vehicles that were certified by the original equipment manufacturers to comply with the agency’s emissions standards.” Dynojet will pay $1,000,000 in penalties and will offer a certified California version of the “Power Commander.”

Three US riders on the 2008 MotoGP Entry List The FIM announced their 2008 entry list for the MotoGP world championship and three US riders made the cut: #5 Colin Edwards riding for Team Yamaha Tech 3, # 21 John Hopkins riding for Kawasaki Racing Team, and # 69 2007 World Champ Nicky Hayden on a Repsol Honda.

As usual, no US riders are competing for the 250cc world championship.

Riders University Offers Free Training Riders University, a public motorcycle based charity, is working to bridge the gaps between rider training resources and the riders most in need of this training. We are striving towards safer streets, a safer sport, and an industry in which the potential of every rider is maximized. “ Riders University is offering vouchers for free motorcycle training. Simply log on to their website, , and apply for the “Riding Scholarships.” Based on their analysis of your application, you may get a full or partial cost voucher for safety or racing training. For the well-heeled among our readers, you can make a tax deductible contribution to Riders U.

Speed in Florida, Lose Your Bike Florida’s Reckless Motorcycle Bill, House Bill 137,  a vehicle seizure bill proposed by state congressman, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, will be put off for later consideration. The original law, allowing police to seize a motorcycle if the rider was speeding more than 30mph above the posted limits, was revised to 50mph.

Bruce Arnold, of the online publication, spoke to the state congressional committee, as did a representative from ABATE, and a motorcycle dealer. The motorcycling representatives opposed the bill, stating that such a law should include all vehicle owners, rather than singling out motorcyclists.

H-D in Daytona March 2-8, 2008, ears will be deafened in Daytona. Harley Davidson will be there to “bring the heart and soul” to Daytona Bike Week.  H-D’s New Product Show will be on site all week along with Women’s Day activities (March 4), the Muscular Dystrophy Association Live Auction (March 7) and MDA Bike Raffle (March 8), the Harley-Davidson Traveling Museum, the Ride-In Custom Motorcycle Show Contest (March 5) and the Harley-Davidson Festival Stage.

Katherine Prumm Joins Yamaha In a press release issued by Yamaha Racing (February 1, 2008) the current FIM Motocross Women’s World Cup winner, Katherine Prumm, will be riding a YZ250F for the 2008 series. The 19 year old New Zealander is going for the FIM female world championship, to add to her two World Cup titles (2006 and 2007).

“The move to Yamaha is really exciting for me. It will be a whole new bike and new team and I am really looking forward to being part of the Yamaha environment. Yamaha is behind me 100% and I feel that they can give me the best chance of success in 2008.”

Rattlesnakes and Motorcycles Don’t Mix In early December, a New Orleans biker was critically injured Wednesday afternoon when a dead 5-foot rattlesnake that was tied to the back of his 650cc BMW came loose. According to a witness, the rider was “distracted” by the loose snake carcass and tried to rearrange it as he entered a curve. “It was one of the strangest accidents I’ve responded to in my 37 years on the New Orleans Police Department,” said Traffic Division Assistant Commander Lt. Melvin Howard. The man lost control of his motorcycle, hit a curb, and was thrown across the median into the opposite lane. He was listed in “very critical” condition. The lone witness, Matt Rutan, said, “At first I thought it was a piece of rope dragging behind the motorcycle.” The “rope” turned out to be the dead rattlesnake. Rutan saw the cyclist “lift up a little and twist around in his seat like he was attending to something on the back of his bike.” Note to self, “If the snake won’t stay tied to the bike, it probably isn’t worth keeping.”

Vietnam Needs The MSF If you think we crash a lot, Vietnam is really scary. Due to the high number of crashes, a new Vietnam law makes crash helmets compulsory for motorcycle riders. Motorcycles are 65% of urban vehicle traffic in Vietnam and are involved in 75% of all traffic accidents. Historically, Vietnamese riders have insisted on going helmetless. Violators will be fined 150,000 Vietnamese dong (about $60US) which is more expensive than a cheap helmet.

Recalls Big Dog 2005-2007 Bulldog, Chopper; 2005-2008 Mastiff; 2006-2008 K-9; 2008 Mutt. Broken rear fender strut attaching bolts allow the rear fender to detach from the motorcycle.

Honda 2006-2007 CBR1000RR: Improper welded vent pipe in the bottom of the fuel tank may crack and drip fuel.

Triumph 2005-2008 Sprint; 2004-2008 Tiger: Lateral movement of the optional accessory luggage rack can cause loss of control at high speeds.


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