Motorcycles racing in snow

The Final Victory

Polaris Industries, the parent company of

Victory Motorcycles, made the semi-surprise announcement this winter that they will be ceasing production of the Victory line. A Polaris spokesperson, Megan Kathman, said there will be some job losses at the Spirit Lake, IA plant as a result of the Victory shutdown, but didn’t say how many jobs would be lost. Polaris will continue with the Indian brand motorcycles at the Spirit Lake plant. Polaris current plans are to focus on the

Indian brand and the three-wheeled Slingshot, both of which have been success lines for the company. Polaris Chairman and CEO Scott Wine in a press release said Indian has more potential to grow than the Victory brand.

Polaris is assisting dealers in liquidating their current inventories and will continue to supply parts for a period of 10 years, along with providing service and warranty coverage.

The Victory line was beginning its 18th year of production, but total sales were small at only 10,000 machines worldwide. With all patents and technology remaining with

Polaris, Indian will certainly benefit from any research and development work being done. Rumors out of Polaris have included many new models on deck for release, but it is unclear whether they would be rebadged as Indians or what Indian’s plans for their product line are. Additionally the company has given no official word how this will affect Polaris’s other motorcycle brand the all-electric Brammo, which had been being raced under the Victory Motorcycle banner.

Not Again

MMM is sad to report that the East Troy, WI EBR Motorcycles shut down production this winter. They have pledged to honor warranties and provide technical and parts support to current dealers and riders who bought motorcycles manufactured by EBR. A press release from the company stated, “EBR will continue to review strategic alternatives with interested investors regarding production operations.” Or stated another way, they ran out of cash and are looking for a buyer.

The release went on to say, “The decision was a tough one for EBR as it has been solely focused on the growth and building EBR for success… This difficult decision was based primarily on EBR facing significant headwinds with signing new dealers, which is key to sales and growth for a new company. In addition, EBR has had limited production in 2016 and 2017 that was under goal. The combination of slow sales and industry announcements of other major OEM brands closing or cutting production only magnified the challenges faced by EBR.”

Snow Bike Racing Now

Sanctioned by AMA

This winter, the American Motorcyclist Association began sanctioning the new sport of snow bike racing. Snow bikes for the uninitiated are competition off-road motorcycles modified with a ski up front and a track in the rear. They are similar to snowmobiles in many respects, but with handling more akin to a motorcycle.

“The AMA is excited to be getting involved in the new and innovative sport of snow bike racing,” said AMA Motocross Manager Kip Bigelow. “We have been watching it with interest for several years and decided that it makes sense to embrace this interesting new competition segment.”

The inaugural series sanctioned by the AMA will be the AMA Championship Snow Bike Series, with the first round of the AMA Championship Snow Bike Series held at ERX Motorpark in Elk River, MN this past December.

The nine race series featured three races in Minnesota this season, Elk River, Detroit Lakes, and Hill City. The racers compete on a snow covered MX style course in the race not unlike snow-cross.

“We have learned from past snow-bike events that when dirt, dust and rocks are eliminated, racing gets closer,” said Ron Dillon, the principal of Big Nasty Hillclimb LLC and the series director for the promoter. “Racers will be riding inches from each other, fighting for a spot in our main events, and it is an absolute blast to watch them go at it.”

Motorcyclists To Pay

for Beef Over Beef

The AMA launched a “bikes for beef” campaign opposing a trade tariff on motorcycles that trade officials proposed as part of an ongoing dispute with the European Union over hormones in U.S. beef. The Office of the United States Trade Representative requested comments in December regarding its proposal to include tariffs on motorcycles with an engine size between 51cc and 500cc imported from the European Union. The AMA was scheduled to testify in front of congress on the matter in mid-February. The AMA’s position is agricultural trade disputes should not be solved with sanctions against non-agricultural products. The tariff, which could be 100 percent or more, would affect US motorcycle buyers, as well as the dealerships and aftermarket suppliers of a laundry list of manufacturers including: Aprilla, Beta, BMW, Ducati, Fantic, Gas Gas, Husqvarna, KTM, Montesa, Piaggio, Scorpa, Sherco, TM and Vespa. The tariffs, if enacted, would not apply to Asian motorcycle makers.

No Profiling For Motorcyclists

Policies and education aimed at ending the profiling of motorcyclists would be required for all law enforcement agencies under a bill introduced in the Minnesota legislature, H.F. 164, by state Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Mazeppa). The bill would require the development of a statewide model policy by Oct. 1, covering what constitutes profiling and tactics for officers to avoid. By Nov. 1, each law enforcement agency in the state would have to adopt a written anti-profiling policy. You can follow on with the status of this and other bills via the legislatures website:

https://www.leg.state.mn.us/.

X-Games Come to Minnesota

What the what? Somehow Minnesota has been chosen to host the summer X-Games for 2017. This is the debut of the summer games here, which have been hosted in such cities as Austin, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Munich, Germany; and Barcelona, Spain. For those not up on the X-Games ,we will essentially be hosting the extreme sports summer Olympics. There are two motorcycle events that occur with X-Games. The freestyle MX competition is a semi-structured event where riders perform high-flying trick routines on MX bikes. It is always an incredible spectacle of high-flying, no bleepin’ way tricks. It is scheduled to happen inside US Bank Stadium. As is would be expected MMM (especially publisher Wanchena) is frenetically excited because flat track racing is now part of X-Games. Flat track debuted in the games 3 years ago in Austin Texas and has now become a staple of the games. Harley Davidson factory rider Jared Mees will be defending his number 1 X-Games number plate against 20 other riders in the invitational race. The X-Games are scheduled for July 13th – 16th. For more info and hard to navigate website (for those over 40) visit: http://xgames.espn.com/xgames/.

MMM

 

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