Minnesotan Jim Underdahl and his Suzuki are in a top-10 points position in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class of the NHRA Mellow Yellow Drag Racing Series and well on their way to the final championship rounds.
Performing in front of his hometown fans, Underdahl, of Forest Lake, clinched a 5th-place finish at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals held at Brainerd International Raceway in late August. That result put him in 7th place for the season.
Jim’s father, Greg, is himself a former Pro Stock Motorcycle racer and serves as crew chief for the 29-year-old’s Bad Boy Buggies-sponsored Suzuki.
The 16-event NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock Motorcycle Drag Racing Series season is divided into two distinct sections: the 10-race regular season and the six-race playoffs. After the first 10 races, only the top 10 drivers advance into the final six races. The remaining four races of this season take racers to Pennsylvania on Oct. 1, Texas, Nevada and California on Nov. 12.
MN Cycle Deaths Exceed 2014
The number of people who died in motorcycle crashes during the first eight months of the year surpassed the number of people who died in motorcycle crashes in all of 2014.
Minnesota Department of Public Safety officials say 47 motorcyclists had died to Aug. 31, compared to 46 in all of last year. Thirty-two motorcyclists had died on MN roads during the first eight months of 2014.
Across the border, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) says 54 motorcycle drivers and two motorcycle passengers died in crashes during the first eight months of the year – up more than 15% from 2014.
NHTSA Fines Triumph $2.9 Million
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently imposed a $2.9 million penalty against Triumph Motorcycles for violations in reporting requirements and failure to fully respond to communications from NHTSA.
Triumph must pay a $1.4 million cash penalty and must spend at least $500,000 meeting a series of requirements to improve its safety practices. An additional $1 million in penalties could become due if the company violates the consent order or if additional Safety Act violations emerge.
The penalty stems from Triumph’s September 2014 recall of more than 1,300 motorcycles for a defect that could reduce steering capability and increase the risk of a crash. This April, NHTSA began an investigation into whether Triumph had violated the requirement to report the defect in a timely manner, and into other potential violations, including failure to submit quarterly reports on recall completion rates; failure to supply copies of technical service bulletins; and failure to file early warning data reports on death and injury claims, warranty data and other information.
Full Throttle Burns
The Full Throttle Saloon, a bar near Sturgis, S.D., popularized via a reality TV show, was nearly completely destroyed by fire Sept. 8.
The fire was reported just after midnight local time, and first responders saw smoke coming from the 5,000-square-foot saloon building’s roof. The entire main structure was fully aflame shortly after, with the blaze spreading to nearby buildings.
Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the fire, but published reports suggest it was further stoked by what was reported to be 500 gallons of grain alcohol in the building.
Owner Michael Ballard said he doesn’t know if he will rebuild the popular watering hole.
Locals now wonder whether lax regulation and primitive infrastructure makes some of the Sturgis-area venues especially dangerous when thousands are in attendance. At the Full Throttle, the nearest hydrants were almost a mile away and more than 100,000 gallons of water had to be hauled in using a rotation of six trucks from multiple fire departments.
No MotoGP in the U.S. in 2016
The Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix will not be on the 2016 event schedule for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The MotoGP event was first hosted at IMS in partnership with Dorna Sports in September of 2008. The cancellation of the race is said to be a mutual decision by both parties.
However, according to the IMS: “Following the removal of the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca from the MotoGP schedule in 2014, the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix became the only summer MotoGP event in North America for the last two seasons. This caused both financial and logistical challenges that no longer made the event viable for the foreseeable future. Ultimately, removing the Indianapolis race became key to Dorna’s efforts to expand both the number of events it hosts and the geographic diversity of its schedule.”
MotoAmerica Finishes First Year
The inaugural year of MotoAmerica, the new home of the AMA Superbike Championship, wrapped up in mid September following a final race at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J.
Cameron Beaubier and his Yamaha R1 won the 2015 AMA Superbike Championship, Jake Gagne won the 2015 AMA Superstock 1000 Championship on his R1, J.D. Beach is the 2015 AMA Supersport champion on his Yamaha R6, and Joe Roberts won the 2015 AMA Superstock 600 title aboard his Yamaha R6.
The 2015 MotoAmerica schedule included rounds at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas; Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.; Virginia International Raceway in Danville, Va.; Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.; Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.; Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah; Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.; Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Ind.; and the finale at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Many of the best off-road riders in the world took part in the 90th International Six Days Enduro, Sept. 7-12 in Kosice, Slovakia.
France won the World Trophy division, Australia won the Junior Trophy division and the Women’s World Trophy divisions. The U.S. Trophy Team finished 22nd, the U.S. Junior Trophy Team finished 13th, and the U.S. Women’s World Trophy Team was 5th overall.
A U.S. team has never won the World Trophy, although it has brought home the Junior Trophy four times: in 1973, 1991, 2006 and 2014.
The Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, Ala., already home of the world’s largest motorcycle collection, is undertaking a major expansion.
The current facility, which opened in October 2003, is 144,000 sq. ft. Guinness World Records last year named it as the world’s largest motorcycle collection, with 1,398 motorcycles.
The addition will add 84,650 sq. ft., resulting in a five-story museum about a quarter-million square feet in size. Project completion is scheduled for Fall 2016.
“This expansion will help keep us as the benchmark for motorcycle collections worldwide,” said George Barber, the Barber Museum and Park founder. “People visit Birmingham from all over the world to see this museum and its collection, and we want to continue to ‘wow’ them with what they see.”
Mission Zapped, Files Bankruptcy
Last month we told you about Mission Motorcycles’ attempt to bring out a mass-produced electric motorcycle and its failure to deliver product in a timely manner. Well, the company’s current situation became clear in mid September when it filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Watch for Deer
This fall, as you’re taking your “fall colors” ride, be extra wary of the possibility of deer crossing the road.
Minnesota is ranked seventh in the country for the most deer collisions. According to State Farm, the odds MN drivers will hit a deer in Minnesota are one in 81 compared to the national odds of one in 169.
Evidently, vehicle operators are most likely to collide with deer in Minnesota in the fall due to mating and hunting seasons.