by Thomas Day
Evel Dies of Natural Causes
MMM is saddened to report the passing of motorcycle daredevil, showman and maverick, Robert “Evel” Knievel. Knievel rose to fame in the late 1960s with a series of daredevil motorcycle jumps. He earned the respect of millions and became a hero to a generation of future motorcycle riders, including everyone here at MMM.
A natural self-promoter, Knievel parlayed his bravado into great financial success. He was fond of saying “I earned 60 million dollars and spent 61.” Knievel was a uniquely American success story. (See the reprint of our interview with Evel Knievel from issue #42)
God speed, Evel.
Eden Prairie Fifth Grader Takes First in Minnesota Women’s Supercross
At the 2007 Motokazie Awards Banquet, in front of 350 people, 10-year-old, Jacqueline Riess, received the Minnesota Women’s Supercross first place trophy, a girls (age 9 to 13) motocross fifth place trophy, a second place motocross trophy, and an eighth place 7- to 9-year-old Supercross award. Riess is sponsored by Centennial Mortgage and Cities Edge Motor Sports.
The annual banquet is a celebration of the accomplishments of 175 racers. During the year, hundreds of Minnesota motocrossers, ages 4 to 50, from beginner to expert, raced all year for series points and the bragging rights of “best in the state.” Riess’ accomplishment is especially impressive considering her age. We expect to hear a lot more from her in the future.
Vancouver, B.C. Wants To Be A Quieter Place
Like many cities with high-rise buildings that reflect and echo noise, Vancouver is logging in on the battle against “loud and unnecessary” noise. In 2004, former Vancouver Councilman, Tim Stevenson, worked to ban leaf blowers. Now, the man who beat Stevenson in 2005, Lorne Mayencourt, is hoping to quiet loud motorcycles. Mayencourt’s bill, the Motorcycle Noise Control Act, will try to limit motorcycle noise to 85dB “when operated in an area where the posted or un-posted speed limit is 60 km/h or less.”
From the desk of the AMA “Rights – News & Notes” comes the following clever comparison, “Yet neither [leaf blowers or motorcycles] match one of the consistently loudest of all urban noises — the ambulance siren, at 120 decibels.” Our research shows that jet engines produce 135dB, earthquakes can generate 150dB, and, worst of all, the sperm whale produces sounds approaching 190dB when attempting to attract a mate. So what? Is it possible that the AMA does not know what “unnecessary” means?
Myrtle Beach City Council Waves Goodbye to Bikes
In this year’s Myrtle Beach City Council election, most of the candidates represented an anti-motorcycle attitude that has been expressed by a growing number of local citizens. At a public forum, the candidates took questions from citizens regarding their position toward reducing the number of bike rallies in that city. One candidate, incumbent Susan Grissom Means, said, “I would prefer we didn’t have any bike weeks at all.” She said the motorcycle noise is “not fair to the people who live here.” Challenger, Judy Rodman, stated that an enforced noise ordinance enforcement would make bikers feel less welcome; something she didn’t seem to feel was unfounded or unintended. Phil Render said, “Our folks are tired of motorcycles.” Only one candidate, John Easterling, seemed to want to accommodate bikers by moving events to the fairgrounds in Loris, to keep some of the money from motorcycle rallies in the city.
Puerto Rico Tightens Motorcycle Laws
Puerto Rico has gone from being one of the least-restrictive places to ride a motorcycle, to being one of the most strict. As of February, 2008, new laws will require riders to wear a helmet, gloves, boots, and long pants. After dark, a reflective vest will also be required. The new laws impose new age restrictions and new testing requirements. In the past, motorcyclists were not required to possess a motorcycle endorsement unless they were traveling on toll highways. The new law is a response to increased motorcycle fatalities.
Paying for Asphalt
In early 2008, the drivers of 6 states will be evaluating a new way to pay for pavement and transit. They will be charged for the miles they drive, instead of the fuel used to drive those miles. The University of Iowa Public Policy Center is installing computers and satellite equipment in 2,700 volunteer vehicles; in (450 in each area) Austin, Baltimore, Boise, San Diego, eastern Iowa, and North Carolina. During the two-year trial, drivers will get monthly sample bills for their mileage. The drivers and the university will compare the costs of the mileage tax to current fuel taxes during this trial period.
The purpose of this test is to allow states and the feds to assess the way roads and transit are financed. Obviously, they are looking for more money for these projects, and think the Highway Trust Fund and state gasoline taxes are claimed to be insufficient. In an age of rapidly depleting oil resources, this system of taxation penalizes high-mileage drivers, regardless of fuel efficiency or pollution emissions. This seems like yet another regressive tax scheme.
Mickey Drunk on a Scooter
November 08, 2007, at 9:30am, Sin City star Mickey Rourke was booked in Miami Beach for failing a field-sobriety test. A local paparazzo, Fred Montana, who witnessed the arrest said “He [Rourke] could not do the walk in a straight line.” Rourke was charged with DUI and was riding a Portofino-green Vespa GTV at the time.
Montana’s description of the incident was that Rourke visited a local club with a date and “They came back out two hours later and crossed Washington Avenue to go to his scooter” Montana said. “They both got on and he did a U-turn to go north. He was pulled over within a block.”
“The cop says to him,‘You swerved right in front of me.’ And Mickey answered, ‘No, no, dude. I’m all right.’”
The police report included the following quote from Rourke, “I’m not drunk. I didn’t even drink that much.”
In Mickey’s defense, he wasn’t drunk on a Harley. So we can’t accuse him of being stereotyped.
Andrew Hines Falls Short of 4-in-a-Row
Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines Motorsports rider, Andrew Hines, was just short of a record-breaking fourth NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Motorcycle championship Sunday at the Pomona, California Auto Club NHRA Finals. Hines lost the second round and the 2007 Pro Stock Motorcycle championship to Matt Smith. Hines lost the second round to the U.S. Army team, Antron Brown, when he fouled at the starting line. Hines hoped to be the first rider in NHRA history to win four straight titles.
“I’m extremely disappointed,” Hines said. “This is very tough to swallow. I had the championship at my fingertips and I let it slip away. The whole day went through my head once I saw the win-light flashing in the other lane. I had seven seconds to think about the worst possible scenarios and those fears came true.”
“Matt Smith and the entire Torco Racing team provided some great competition this season and they absolutely deserved to be in the championship chase. I just wish it had gone our way, but they worked very hard to earn the title this season.”
BMW in a GS Fever
Last year’s new BMW, the F800, is now a member of the GS series. For 2008, BMW is introducing the chain-driven F 800 GS adventure-touring twin into the lineup. In a more traditional bike, BMW also adds the R 1200 GS drive-shafter to the GS series. This all started with the 1980 R 80 G/S and has become the most popular series of motorcycles in BMW’s history. On a more radical side of adventure, the new BMW G 450 X (also chain-driven) made its first U.S. appearance at the Grand National Cross Country in Crawfordsville, Indiana, on October 27-28. However, the debut didn’t go well. BMW rider Simo Kirrsi crashed on the first lap and injured his collarbone. The day ended early for BMW’s new off-road venture.
A New 125cc World Champ
A Hungarian rider who started racing when he was four-years-old at his father’s mini-bike school, Gabor Talmacsi, is the 2007 125cc World Champion. The ex-boxerturned-racer was the national 125cc champ in 1997, moved on to the European Championship, before going after the world championship. Talmacsi is the first Hungarian in 20 years to race an entire Grand Prix season. Riding for Aprilia, he had three victories, ten podium finishes, five pole positions and fourteen front row starts.
A New Bike and A Party
November 1, the Buell Motorcycle Company passed a benchmark and began a new age of sportbikes with the introduction of the Buell 1125R. The first bikes are expected to arrive at Buell dealers in November. Serial number one will be installed in the Harley-Davidson Museum. The liquid-cooled, 146 crankshaft horsepower, 1125cc DOHC V-Twin is the first all-new, street-legal Buell engine.
2008 marks Buell’s 25th Anniversary and they are going to celebrate with a party July 2-6, 2008 in Wisconsin. (see www.buell.com for more details)
MotoGP Season Ends in Valencia
132,500 fans watched home hero Dani Pedrosa win the day on his factory Honda. That finish put him in second for the championship, behind the day’s runner-up and the 2007 World Champion, Aussie Casey Stoner (Ducati). Valentino Rossi had his run for second dashed with a DNF. After breaking three bones in his hand during a qualifying race the day before, Rossi went for it anyway. Starting from 17th place, he raced well until the 18th lap, when his Yamaha faltered. American John Hopkins finished in third place, passing the 2006 World Champ, Nicky Hayden, on the way.
The First Neandander Product Diesel Is Here
Neandander’s first production model is on the road, after seven years in development. “The first and only Turbo diesel motorcycle in the world is ready to clatter through the countryside.” The small, Kiel, North German company is hoping to make a splash with this new monster diesel bike. Claimed to be powered by a “completely new type of engine,” the Neandander’s engine is advertised to be economical, high-performance, compact, light-weight, and vibration-free. The twin crankshaft motor has a turbocharger that spins at 120,000 rpm and produces 1.5 bar turbo pressure in the 1340cc, 112 hp motor. The twin-telescopic fork is just one aspect of the Neandander that sets it apart from other motorcycles.
Polaris. 2008 Victory Vision: Voltage regulator/rectifier assembly may cause overcharging and in conjunction with the loose battery connection could cause stalling.
Suzuki. 2002-2007 GZ-250; 2004-2007 GS-500: The rear and side reflectors have a reflected light output less than the DOT minimum standard.
BMW. 2005-2007 K1200-R Sport: Vibration from long periods of riding at sustained high rpm can cause brake fluid in the reservoir to foam and loss of braking capability. Dealers will install a damper weight in the reservoir to reduce the foaming.
Ducati. 2007 Monster S4RS: Failure of the water pump impeller can cause engine overheating and engine seizure.
Ducati. 2008 Hypermotard: Battery can move around inside the mounting compartment damaging the main wiring harness at the battery terminal which causes an electrical short.
Kawasaki. 2002-2007 KL-650A; 2008 KL650E: Loose muffler mounting bolts allow the muffler to come loose.