Indian Continues Flat Track Roll
Indian Motorcycle is off to an impressive start in their first season in the American Flat Track racing series capturing 1st place in the first three races, and sweeping the podium at the Atlanta race March 25th. The Indian Factory riders Jared Mees and Bryan Smith sit atop the standings with a commanding lead over the closest competitor. All indications are the Indian FTR750 is a seriously competitive machine. The factory Indian team did a stack the deck in their favor pulling in two former Grand National Champions in Jared Mees and Brad Baker, as well as the current Grand National Champion Bryan Smith to ride for the factory team.
Harley-Davidson by contrast is not off to a stellar start with their new XG750R. Their best finish thus far has been 4th for Jake Johnson riding for the factory H-D team at Daytona. The XG750R is intended to be a replacement for the venerable XR750, but the initial results aren’t encouraging, but the season has a long way to go with only three out the eighteen rounds complete.
Minnesota’s own Jake Mataya, sponsored by MMM supporter Go Moto, is also off to an excellent start with two starts in main events thus far and a best finish of 9th at Atlanta. This puts Mataya in 14th place overall in the standings. Ride fast and take chances Jake!
Dungey/Reed Supercross Skirmish
Minnesota’s own Ryan Dungey, riding for the KTM factory team, has found himself in a feud with Chad Reed (Yamaha) during the 2017 Supercross season. The source of the friction between the two isn’t completely clear with neither side saying much, but earlier in the year Dungey and Reed banged bars at the start of the race in Detroit. The pair got into it during a heat race at St. Louis while battling for the lead. There was contact during the heat, but nothing serious seemed to have occurred.
Dungey, the reigning Supercross champion, has had a decent season. A couple wins and never finishing lower than 4th place. That gives him the overall lead points early in the season, but that lead has steadily shrank as the season has progressed. Eli Tomac (Kawasaki) has come on strong in the later half of the season with an impressive series of wins. As of this writing Dungey and Tomac were tied in points.
The situation with Reed flared up at the April 1st St. Louis Supercross, when Reed failed to yield to Dungey during the final laps of the 450SX main event. Dungey, running 2nd, was about to lap Reed in 16th. Reed failed to yield to Dungey as directed by race officials who gave Reed the blue flag. AMA rules require riders to obey all on track directions communicated via flags. A blue flag indicates you are about to be overtaken by a faster rider and must move out of the fast line and not impede the faster rider. Reed had let Tomac past the lap prior, but appeared to block Dungey for several laps allowing Tomac to pull away and cement the win. The block during the main appeared to be Reed’s payback for the previous incidents.
The decision of the AMA was to impose a fine of $5,000 on Reed and take five of his Championship points earned in the race. Reed has not appealed and the decision of the AMA is final. Given the current points standings the Supercross championship will likely be decided during the final round in Las Vegas May 3rd.
DNR Seeks Comment on Renville County OHV Area
The AMA hopes you’ll consider providing comments in support of the Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) that’s been published by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for the Minnesota Valley Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation area in Renville County.
The EAW reflects careful work completed by professional trail design consultants hired by the engineering firm for this project, as well as state employees considering environmental and historic priorities. Despite what the AMA believes is the thorough, accurate work in the EAW, local supporters believe it’s likely that opponents will find fault with it in an effort to stop the project.
The proposed project lies on 278 acres in Sacred Heart Township, which has a 60-year history of mining. The county has received grant-in-aid funds from the state DNR as a match to those received from the federal Recreational Trails Program for planning and design.
The EAW cites intentions for mining to be phased out during the next 20 years. The proposed trail system includes areas designed for every type of off-highway vehicle, including technical single track for experienced off-highway motorcyclists and training areas for youth and beginners.
Comments must be received by DNR by 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 10.
You can submit comments via email to email@example.com with “MNOHVRA in the subject line or via U.S. mail to Bill Johnson, Planning Director, MNDNR Division of Ecological and Water Resources, Box 25, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4025 For more information contact the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Ecological & Water Resources at (651) 259-5126. The EAW and supporting materials are also posted the MNDNR website (www.dnr.state.mn.us).
MV Agusta Not Dead?
A business-restructuring plan was approved by an Italian court for MV Agusta, allowing the motorcycle manufacturer to avoid liquidation. This move opens the door for Mercedes-AMG to sell it holdings of the troubled Italian bike maker to the Black Ocean Group, an Anglo-Russian private equity firm. The Mercedes-AMG acquired a 25 percent stake in MV Agusta in 2014. The MV Agusta had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year and the latest restructuring allows them to freeze its large debt load at the expense of their suppliers. The company’s current plan is to now focus on existing models with a goal of producing 5,000 motorcycles a year while reducing its workforce by about 200 employees. Rumors continue to swirl about Minnesota’s own Polaris being interested in acquiring a stake in the company as well. This would be an interesting development as Harley-Davidson owned the brand in 2008, but sold it a year later.
Hybrid GS? Sure.
April 1st is a day when the motorcycling press is typically flooded with “fake news”. MMM being no exception, has put out it’s share of hoaxes on April 1, my favorite still being our reporting on our consultation of the V-8 powered Valdez (MMM April 1997). So it was with much skepticism that we read a press release from BMW on April 1 announcing, “BMW Motorrad launches the R1200GS xDrive Hybrid,” proclaiming it, “World premiere of the first travel enduro featuring Hybrid All-Wheel Drive.” The release described the system as adding 45 hp to the front wheel giving the GS a claimed 170 hp combined between conventional gasoline and the electric motors. They filled us with promises of regenerative braking and no additional weight.
Many outlets took the bait. The release had enough plausible details to be taken at face value. The real bait if you did a little Google research was the revelation that German tuner/aftermarket supplier Wunderlich had actually produced a two-wheel drive GS back in 2015 as a concept vehicle. Very convincing. The story unravels when they described a testing that included a ride from Nordkapp, Norway to the North Pole and back. That’s only 2600 miles on motorcycle over sea ice in literally Arctic conditions. Then it goes on to talk about BMW gear being good down to -70˚ F and the bike being capable of riding through snow 4 feet deep. This isn’t a first for BMW, which regularly fires off April Fools press releases and ads.