Archive for the ‘motorcycle rally’ Category

Rally support during a recession?

June 29, 2010

I got the following e-mail from David Grant, the newsletter editor for an Arkansas chapter of the Green Knights motorcycle club:

I am on the committee organizing a rally for the military, police and firefighter (Green, Blue, and Red Knights) motorcycle clubs this coming October in Harrison, Ark. I was wondering if you could give me some advice on how to approach dealers, manufacturers and aftermarket companies for support in these economically challenging times. We would accept monetary donations toward the charities we’re supporting, products for door prizes, or just an on-site display setup. The three clubs are about community service, hence this theme is a friendly competition with support for local economy.

I replied to David that I didn’t know much about organizing rallies. But this didn’t stop me from offering some advice: (more…)

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Off-Road Star Blais Still Passionate About Cycles

June 12, 2009

Chris Blais has a passion for motorcycles.

Off-road motorcycle enthusiasts no doubt recognize Blais’ name from the stellar riding career he carved out for himself in the sport of desert racing.

Chris Blais

Chris Blais

Check out his scorecard:
2003 – 2nd overall at the Baja 1000
2005 – 4th overall at the Nevada 1000
2005 – 2nd place at the Terrible’s Town 250
2005 – 2nd place at the Parker 250
2005 – 4th overall at the Baja 500
2005 – 1st overall at the San Felipe 250
2005 – 4th overall at the Tunisia Rally
2005 – 9th overall at the Dakar Rally
2006 – 4th overall at the Dakar Rally
2007 – 3rd overall at the Dakar Rally

Blais, who started his career in 2001 atop a Honda, ultimately turned to riding for KTM and quickly became among the most promising riders in the United States. Then, in August 2007, Blais’ riding career came to an end when he damaged his vertebrae as the result of a motorcycle crash in the desert near Tonapah, Nev., while pre-running the Best in the Desert (BITD) Vegas to Reno race.

What is he doing now? Click here to find out.

Ride The Mountain with Big Bear Choppers

May 27, 2009

The custom V-twin industry might be comatose at the moment, but that’s no excuse to hang up your party hat. For business may be down, but there’s always them there motorcycles to ride. If you’re so inclined (that’s good mountain humor) why not ride them up to enjoy Big Bear Choppers‘ 7th Annual Ride the Mountain festivities.

The only thing missing are little people. No, wait, there will be little people! The Shorty's Kiss Band is playing.

The only thing missing are little people. No, wait, there will be little people! The Shorty's Kiss Band is playing.

V-twins and other rides will own the mountain resort village of Big Bear, Calif., and the Snow Summit Mountain Resort on Saturday, June 6. This year’s sky-high shindig features the Freak Show Deluxe featuring glass eating, glass walking, sword swallowing and the bed of nails. Also, San Francisco-area rock-a-billy rebels, the Chop Tops, will be kicking some musical ass.

As a nod to its customers, BBC (website here) is hosting a VIP lounge under an exclusive tent next to the factory big rig, with preferred parking, refreshments and a special shirt and VIP badge. On Sunday, June 7, the Mindfreak himself, Criss Angel, will be at the Big Bear Choppers facility signing autographs and flogging his magic.

Lest this seem like a commercial, I’ll add this about Big Bear Choppers: the business is really down in the dumps across all segments so it’s pretty cool to see one of the big boys holding strong with a rally/event aimed squarely at its customers, and riders in general. Knowing how cost-cutting works I’d imagine that this is the kind of event that often appears on the chopping block when looking for cost savings. I tip my helmet to Kevin, Mona and Andy up at BBC for keeping the mountain open for everyone.

Rally Hero Scot Harden Featured on Scorpion TV

April 29, 2009

Motorcycle rally champion Scot Harden blazed a trail to Scorpion Sports HQ last week to talk about the helmet and apparel supplier’s new XDR Collection.

Scot Harden

Scot Harden

XDR stands for “Xtreme Distance Riding” so nobody is more qualified to talk about what goes into great riding gear than Harden. During his trip to Scorpion, he took the time to point out some of the many features and benefits that differentiate the XDR Collection from ordinary gear. Fortunately, the cameras were rolling and a short video clip now appears at Scorpion’s home page, while a longer version where Scot discusses rallying with Scorpion VP Eric Anderson appears at the ScorpionNation YouTube site .

Harden is a member of the American Motorcyclist Association Motorcycle Hall of Fame. He has served as African Rally champion, two-time Dakar Rally veteran, three-time Baja 500 and Baja 1000 Overall champion, three-time ISDE medalist, U.S. Trophy Team member and two-time AMA Amateur National Off-road champion.

Scorpion XDR Commander

Scorpion XDR Commander

Last August, Harden was hired as national sales and marketing manager of Husqvarna Motorcycles NA, LLC. Prior to that he spearheaded corporate marketing strategies, product development and sales for KTM North America.

During his Hall Of Fame racing career, Harden has logged more than 200,000 off road miles that is enough to circumnavigate the entire planet eight times. I suggest anyone having a chance to talk with Scot jump at the opportunity.

LeoVince Hosts Benefit Street Ride, May 14

April 20, 2009

LeoVince’s 4th Annual Grape Crusher ride, benefiting Speedway Children’s Charities, takes place Thursday, May 14.4-7-09grapecrusherflyer

The ride, 100 to 120 miles in length, follows the California coastline northward then cuts inland through the wine country back to Infineon Speedway. Riders will gather at LeoVince USA’s Richmond, Calif. headquarters starting at 9:30am with the ride leaving promptly at 11 am. A gourmet lunch served along the way, and Jason Britton will be one of the celebrity guests joining the ride. The ride ends at Infineon Raceway at 5 pm with a catered reception including LeoVince athletes, celebrities and team crews.

Cost is $40 per entry and includes a takeaway gift and raffle. All benefits from the ride go to the Speedway Children’s Charities fund.

For more information and to register for the ride, go to leovinceusa.com.

Myrtle Beach is NOT DEAD

January 19, 2009

It only smells like it within the city limits. We may have been a bit rash in declaring the area dead to the historic May rallies. If you’ve paid attention to the comments for our blog post here you might know that there are several options outside the MB city limits. The comments over at the Cyril Huze Blog show the same.

welcomebikers1

In fact, Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson wants you all to know that the rest of Horry County (where MB is located) is wide open and welcoming to bikers. From Murrells Inlet to Little River, there are options, activities and places to hang out.

“Many tourists wrongly believe that Myrtle Beach is synonymous with the 60-mile-long ‘Grand Strand’ that is visited by more than 14 million tourists annually,” said Mike Shank, marketing director for Myrtle Beach Harley-Davidson. “In reality, the City of Myrtle Beach is just a small town inside of Horry County. It only has 25,000 residents. To the north, south and west of Myrtle Beach is the much-larger Grand Strand community where there are many restaurants, bars, recreational facilities and accommodations. Horry County has more than 250,000 residents and they are preparing their businesses to welcome bikers.
“Unfortunately, information being sent out by Myrtle Beach and its Chamber of Commerce paints good, law-abiding motorcycle riders with the same broad brush as those who have broken laws in the past. In addition, their misinformation does not accurately portray the views of Horry County residents. The majority of people and businesses look forward to biker tourism and many rely on Bike Week to provide a significant portion of their yearly income.”

If you’re headed to South Carolina May 8-17 go to Myrtle Beach Harley’s Web site here or to this site about MB Bike Week here to get the skinny. The sites spell out the difference between Horry County and the city of Myrtle Beach and includes maps of alternative routes to avoid the city limits.

“We want bikers to know the facts so they can make an informed decision about visiting our area,” adds Shank. “Grand Strand businesses want your business. The City of Myrtle Beach has never played a significant role in either the spring or fall bike weeks and has made it clear for many years that it doesn’t want to play a role. They’ve raised taxes to eliminate biker tourism, but no other municipality in Horry County has done so. And the City of Myrtle Beach passed new ordinances designed to scare bikers away. No other local municipality or the county has done so. So we hope that bikers won’t be discouraged by this campaign of misinformation. We want you to come to Horry County and have a great time this May.”

You’ve got to love the biker spirit.

Dakar Winners – KTM’s Coma, Yamaha’s Machacek

January 17, 2009

Spanish rider Marc Coma (KTM) has won this 31st Dakar Rally, the first one to be held in

Marc Coma

Marc Coma

Argentina and Chile, with an overall time of 52hr14min33. Coma finished the rally 1hr25min38 ahead of French defending champion Cyril Despres (KTM), and 1hr38min56 ahead of France’s David Frétigné (Yamaha).

Riding a KTM 690 Rallye, Coma, 33, won the first stage and kept the overall lead through every one of the following 14 stages.

In the ATV race, Czech rider Josef Machacek (Yamaha) won the very first general standings for the quad category in history of the Dakar, 2hr34min00 ahead of Argentina’s Marcos Patronelli (Can-Am), and 7hr42min34 ahead of Polish rider Rafal Sonik (Yamaha).

Josef Machacek

Josef Machacek

The 52-year-old Machacek rode his self-built Raptor to four stage wins for the overall honors.

Stage One of Dakar 2009 began in Buenos Aires on Jan. 3. Teams and riders from 49 countries then traveled 5,903 miles over the legendary Argentina Pampas, into Patagonia, across the Andes mountains, and across hundreds of miles of desert and sand dunes to the completion of Stage 14 back in the Argentinean capital on Jan. 17.

OEMs participating in the motorcycle division included KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Gas-Gas, BMW, Kawasaki, Sherco, Beta, Husqvarna, Suzuki and China’s Jincheng.

KTM puts a lot of effort, and funding, into the Dakar competition. More than 55 percent of the 235 motorcycle competitors that started rode atop KTM.

About 30 quads started the rally. Brands competing in the ATV division included Yamaha, Suzuki, Polaris, BRP’s Can-Am and KTM.

MOTORCYCLE FINAL STANDINGS
Coma (ESP)…KTM…52hr14min33
Despres (FRA)…KTM…+1hr25min38
Frétigné (FRA)…Yamaha…+1hr38min56
Casteu (FRA)…KTM…+2hr17min54
Rodrigues (PRT)…KTM…+2hr22min11
Ullevalseter (NRT)…KTM…+2hr25min02
Viladoms (ESP)…KTM…+2hr28min29
Verhoeven (NLD)…KTM…+2hr50min39
Knuiman (NLD)…KTM…+3hr22min41
Goncalves (PRT)…KTM…+4hr12min42

ATV FINAL STANDINGS
Machacek (CZE)…Yamaha…68hr22min06
Patronelli (ARG)…Can-Am…+2hr34min00
Sonik (POL)…Yamaha…+7hr42min34
Deltrieu (FRA)…Polaris…+11hr13min31
Brazina (CZE)…Yamaha…+15hr59min51
Avendano (ESP)…Suzuki…+16hr44min15
Carlini (FRA)…Polaris…+25hr10min45
Kraft (FRA)…Polaris…+26hr12min39
Pottier (FRA)…Can-Am+…40hr20min38
Pena (ESP)…Yamaha…+46hr46min05

Coma and Despres show their final positions in the 2009 Dakar Rally / Chaco

Coma and Despres show their final positions in the 2009 Dakar Rally / Chaco

DAKAR – Riders Return to Argentina

January 15, 2009

Today’s Dakar Stage 12 brought competitors 312 miles from Fiambala to La Rioja, Argentina. The distance included a 157-mile special stage and miles of tough to navigate

Coma navigates the dunes / Chaco

Coma navigates the dunes / Chaco

white sand dunes. You’ll recall from Tuesday’s post that Wednesday’s Stage 11 was cancelled due to fog in the Andes.

In motorcycles, Frenchman Cyril Desprès (KTM) crossed the finish 1min23 ahead of Spain’s Marc Coma (KTM), and 9min47 ahead of Spaniard Gerard Farres Guell (KTM). Coma (KTM) still has an overall lead in the rally, 1hr29min48 ahead of Cyril Desprès.

In the ATV race, Argentine Marcos Patronelli (Can-Am) won his third special stage of this Dakar, 35min56 ahead of Czech rider Josef Machacek (Yamaha), and 36min02 ahead of Frenchman Hubert

Patronelli's 800cc Can-Am

Patronelli's 800cc Can-Am

Deltrieu (Polaris). However, Machacek is still in the lead in the overall standings 1hr54min38 ahead of Patronelli and 7hr06min17 ahead of Poland’s Rafal Sonik (Yamaha).

OVERALL MOTORCYCLE STANDINGS
Coma (ESP)…KTM…47hr51min30
Desprès (FRA)…KTM…+1hr29min48
Fretigne (FRA)…Yamaha…+1hr33min55
Casteu (FRA)…KTM…+2hr16min13
Rodrigues (PRT)…KTM…+2hr24min04
Ullevalseter (NOR)…KTM…+2hr24min07
Viladoms (ESP)…KTM…+2hr27min57
Verhoeven (NLD)…KTM…+2hr45min14
Knuiman (NLD)…KTM…+3hr14min49
Goncalves (PRT)…Honda…+3hr53min16

OVERALL ATV STANDINGS
Machacek (CZE)…Yamaha…63hr12min11
Patronelli (ARG)…Can-Am…+1hr54min38
Sonik (POL)…Yamaha…+7hr06min17
Deltrieu (FRA)…Polaris…+11hr11min12
Brazina (CZE)…Yamaha…+15hr41min57
Avendano (ESP)…Suzuki…+16hr44min18
Carlini (FRA)…Polaris…+24hr37min31
Kraft (FRA)…Polaris…+25hr05min29
Pottier (FRA)…Can-Am…+39hr44min00
Van Gastel (NLD)…Yamaha…+45hr30min31

Dakar – Out of the Andes, Into the Desert

January 13, 2009

Dakar participants spent Monday (Stage 9) and Tuesday (Stage 10) traversing sand dunes, rock-strewn high desert and shooting through valleys along fast dirt tracks. KTM motorcycles and Yamaha quads continue to set the pace.

Jordi Viladoms / Papp

Jordi Viladoms / Papp

The weather forecast for Wednesday (Stage 11) announces heavy fog on the whole route, and since the timing of the stage cannot be altered due to the crossing of the Andes and the crossing of the border between Chile and Argentina, the organizers of the Dakar have decided to cancel the special stage between Copiapo and Fiambala. The participants will travel to the Fiambala bivouac in liaison.

STAGE 9
On Monday, competitors traveled an 55-mile connection and 279-mile special stage from La Serena to Copiapo, Chile.

In the motorcycle race, Dutchman Frans Verhoeven (KTM) picked up his second stage victory of the rally, 3min09 ahead of Frenchman David Frétigné on his 450cc Yamaha, and 3min40 in front of local star, Chilean Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez (KTM). Spaniard Marc Coma (KTM) arrived in fourth.

In the ATV race, Czech Josef Machacek (Yamaha) achieved his fourth stage victory on this Dakar, arriving 39 seconds ahead of Argentine Marcos Patronelli (Can-Am) and 17min26 ahead of Frenchman Hubert Deltrieu (Polaris).

Jonah Street

Jonah Street

U.S.-based KTM rider Jonah Street was forced to withdraw from the rally at Stage 9 after injuring his wrist during Sunday’s Stage 8. Street had a stellar run going, winning Stage 5 and never slower than fifth position in the overall standings during the first eight stages.

STAGE 10
Today riders braved a 296-mile special stage and 12-mile connection route that led them out of and back into Copiapo. It was a route that had them traversing a low altitude of 2,133 feet and a high altitude of 7,874 feet.

Spanish motorcyclist Jordi Viladoms (KTM) won the stage, finishing 1hr06min ahead of Franco-Malian rider Alain Duclos (KTM) and 2hr07min ahead of Norway’s Pal Anders Ullevalseter (KTM). Overall rally leader Marc Coma (KTM) was seventh in today’s stage.

In quads, Argentina’s Marcos Patronelli (Can-Am) won his second stage victory on this Dakar, 28min ahead of the solid leader in the general rankings, Czech Republic’s Josef Machacek (Yamaha). Only six quads crossed the finish line as of 10pm local time.

OVERALL MOTORCYCLE STANDINGS
Coma (ESP)…KTM…43hr52min30
Fretigne (FRA)…Yamaha…+1hr24min50
Despres (FRA)…KTM…+1hr31min11
Viladoms (ESP)…KTM…+1hr56min40
Rodrigues (PRT)…KTM…+2hr05min38
Casteu (FRA)…KTM…+2hr07min45
Lopez (CHL)…KTM…+2hr22min23
Verhoeven (NLD)…KTM…+2hr25min34
Ullevalseter (NOR)…KTM…+2hr25min51
Knuiman (NLD)…KTM…+3hr04min25

Marcos Patronelli / La Calle

Marcos Patronelli / La Calle

Duclos (FRA)…KTM…+12hr44min17

OVERALL ATV STANDINGS
Machacek (CZE)…Yamaha…57hr53min17
Patronelli (ARG)…Can-Am…+2hr30min34
Sonik (POL)…Yamaha…+5hr14min46
Brazina (CZE)…Yamaha…+10hr03min14
Deltrieu (FRA)…Polaris…+11hr11min06
Kraft (FRA)…Polaris…+19hr38min50

So far, 86 motorcyclists and 11 ATV riders have withdrawn from the rally.

Myrtle Beach is Dead

January 13, 2009

To motorcycle rallies. It’s now official the city known for its May rallies that cater to all niches of the motorcycling world is shutting its doors and hanging up a c-l-o-s-e-d sign for big bike events.

mb1
In the latest of a saga that began in May 2008 (here) when Myrtle Beach officials starting looking for a way to end the rallies following a shooting over the Memorial Day holiday rally. Since then there have been lawsuits and hearings (here) and a myriad stories coming out about the possible ban.

This month the city and the area Chamber of Commerce launched a Web site detailing a long list of new laws and regulations (check ’em out here) aimed at motorcyclists and the bikes they ride in on. Mayor John Rhodes writes in a letter posted on the site:

This was a difficult decision. Myrtle Beach welcomes visitors year-round, but the giant motorcycle rallies simply grew too large. Our staff, residents and businesses strained to keep up with these huge single-focus events. It may surprise you, but our economy is much healthier with a fully diversified visitor base, instead of a concentration on one or two extremely large events.

Please know that Myrtle Beach is not anti-biker or anti-motorcycle. We want folks to come on the vehicle of their choice and enjoy all of the things Myrtle Beach has to offer. We are ending the motorcycle-related rallies because they grew too big and lasted too long. The huge rallies even kept visitors away from Myrtle Beach, and that’s not good.

Over at the custom builder Cyril Huze’s blog — where Huze has been following the MB fiasco pretty closely — the comments have been pouring fast and furious, with the overwhelming consensus being Eff Myrtle Beach. Despite the city’s claims that it’s not anti-biker most of the comments I’ve read on various Internet forums and comment sections (where there’s nothing but facts) center on the idea that if the city is going to ban rallies, it might as well kiss goodbye to all motorcycle tourism year-round.

One reader on Huze’s blog, with the tag of “Florida Biker,” says:

Let Myrtle Beach have it their way. I can promise you, in a few short years we will be reading where the city now is “Re-Opening” the “Spring Bike Fest”. Well i can assure you they will be hard pressed to get anywhere near the turn out as in the past events. The city will be looking at the budget and see a decrease in sales tax income and wonder what happend [sic].

Another from a reader named HWGTHNG:

I said this before when Myrtle Beach talked about this. Let em suffer. Bikers have no need to beg for places that want our business. Chattanooga TN opened its doors to the biker community not once but twice hosting the State and the National HOG rallys. The “Choo Choo” city is located in the middle of all of this mess and can handle the size crowd this generates.

My main thing about questioning the logic of making a sweeping move like this is the repercussions for non-motorcycling businesses. Myrtle Beach is a beautiful place and I’m sure tourism will still thrive, but from what I know about towns that host large yearly events, the local businesses often rely on those annual crowds to make their yearly nut. For some tourist destinations, small mom-and-pop operations often run in the red for most of the year right up until the returning swarms get their cash registers ringing again.

And then there are the local motorcycle shops and related stores. I can only imagine the pain they’re going to feel from the lost business. Oh well, for those affected by such things in a very real way, remember that most city council members and mayors govern for four-year terms. Voting anyone?