by Thomas Day
The Angels Invade and Abandon Minnesota
Starting in mid-July, the local police and media geared up for a visit from an expected 1,000 Hells Angels on their way to Sturgis. The number turned out to be closer to 300, but the police presence made up for the lower Angel turnout. A local bar, Lost Isle, near Black Bear Casino, was the rented host for their stay. Approximately 33 of the 1,100 police citations issued during the period were assessed to the bikers. One of the Angels, New Yorker Jeffrey Paul Amato, was charged with motorcycle theft and “possession of a controlled substance.” The Angels left town on Sunday, August 2, without leaving a path of anything more terrible than a trail of an “untold number of law enforcement officials”and a lot of frayed nerves.
St. Louis County Sheriff Ross Litman said the police protection wasn’t just there for the sake of the public, but to act as a buffer between the Angels and Wisconsin’s rival biker gang, the Outlaws. “We’re monitoring all of their movements; I don’t think that’s any big secret. We’re aware of which gang or group some of these people belong to, and if necessary we’ll follow them to make sure that nothing happens when they do get together.”
Although the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally event organizers are actively courting younger bikers with acts like the Star Boyz Sport Bike Show, the average age of Sturgis participants continues to increase. This year, as in past events, the market-critical 18 and 25 crowd only amounted to 1.8% of the participants. Harley displayed their new brand of Tri Glide trikes which is supposed to appeal to the aging demographic of riders who don’t want to learn how to ride two wheels and current riders in physical decline. As Ken Hines, the executive vice president of Lehman Trikes, said, “The knees go out. The back goes out. We’re a toy for mature [and well-heeled] riders.”
Possibly as a symbolic gesture of solidarity with the Sturgis geezers, four songs into the set, Aerosmith’s 61-year-old lead singer, Steven Tyler, fell backwards from the stage into the crowd and injured himself. He was airlifted to the Rapid City Regional Hospital where he was released with a broken shoulder and stitches to his head. The non-refundable tickets for the show cost $80-120.
Attendance was down this year. Rapid City motels reported “an exceptionally large number of rooms available during the rally.” Reportedly, bikers were resisting the premium prices and minimum stay requirements many facilities have attached to reservations during the event. The total event attendance has dropped from a peak of 630,000 visitors in 2000 to 350,000-400,000 this year.
Weather was a problem, too. Baseball sized hail ripped through the campgrounds on the last day, damaging tents, campers, trailers, and bikes. A massive thunderstorm cancelled the AMA Grand National Twins race scheduled for August 4 in Rapid City. The event made it through qualifiers and the first 3 heat races before the sky fell and wreaked the racing surface. This would have been the first AMA Grand National Twins event in five years at the Black Hills Speedway half-mile. Although the race didn’t happen, one point was awarded to all qualifying riders and Chris Carr was declared the unofficial winner, based on his heat race lap time. Screamin’ Eagle’s Kenny Coolbeth, the defending AMA Grand National Twins champion, is still the series points leader. Coolbeth and the entire Wreaking Crew team had qualified for the main event, the Dash for Cash, on their XR-750s.
Blasted Buell Blast
Not only did Eric Buell decide to can production of the Buell blast, he crushed the can. Eric says, “Hey, there’s no denying the Blast’s aforementioned cuteness. But there’s nothing cute about racing or riding a sportbike the way it was meant to be ridden.” Harley will continue using the Blast for its Rider’s Edge training programs, but the Buell logo will be removed from the bikes. You can watch Eric smash a Blast on the 2010 Buell Blast “product launch” page: http://www.buell.com/en_us/bikes/blast/.
Round the World from Minnesota
A local rider, Dave Reinhold, is attempting a round-the-world motorcycle adventure. He left for his first stop, Wausau, WI, on May 13th, arrived in Toronto, Ontario on the 19th, and his next post was shipped after he arrived in London on the 20th. By late July, he was in eastern Russia. You can follow his adventure at daverRTW2009.blogspot.com.
Rider’s Workshop in Minnesota
Jim Ford is doing five two-day Rider’s Workshop sessions (on September 8, 10, 12, & 14th) along the Upper Mississippi Valley starting in Hampton, MN with a 2nd day wrap-up in Nelson, WI. The workshops include classroom and approximately 400 miles of road work in Minnesota and Wisconsin with Jim’s voice hot-wired to your helmet. “Each Workshop has a minimum of three riders, and a maximum of five riders.” You can find more information here: http://www.ridersworkshop.com/mss_valley.html or call 866-767-6900.
Harley Davidson 2009 FLTRSE3: Blade rear wheel accessory kits can crack resulting in wheel failure.
Harley Davidson 2008-09 FLSTSB, FXSTSSE2, FXSTSSE3: The acorn stud at the brake reaction link comes off allowing the front brake and fender assembly to come loose.
BMW 2009 K1300 S, K1300 GT: Foaming brake fluid in the front reservoir causes loss of front brakes.
Classic Motorworks 2009 Bullet Electra E-5, G5 Classic, Military, Deluxe: Lubrication problems caused by a tight fit result in the 3rd gear galling on the clutch shaft and seizing the shaft causing rear wheel lock up.