Archive for the ‘racing’ Category

Erpelding, Europe’s Keeper of Classic Race Bikes

September 29, 2009

Are you a racebike enthusiast? Happen to be planning a trip to the Nuerburgring in Germany?

erpeldingIf so, you may want to visit former motorcycle and auto dealer and racer Frithjor Erpelding, a man who claims to have the second largest private museum in Europe dedicated to race motorcycles. Located in the Eifel mountain hamlet of Jammelshofen, near the ‘Ring, the museum houses 200-some bikes and a half-dozen of his championship-winning race cars.

Among the units on display: AJS, Aprilia, Ariel, Bimota, BSA, CZ, Egli, Gilera, NSU, Koenig, Moto Parilla, Moto Guzzi, MV Agusta, Matchless, Maico, Triumph, Norton, Greeves, Jawa, Puch, Wanderer, Harris, BSS, Benelli, Laverda, Royal-Enfield, Harley-Davidson, Horex, Honda, Gilera, Kawasaki, Kreidler, Linto, Suzuki, Scott, Seley, Yamaha, Rickman, KTM, Ducati, Montessa, NSU, Vincent, Velocette and Zuendapp, etc.

I asked Erpelding which of the 200 units is his favorite. “The Norton,” he replied without pause. Erpelding has two Norton Manx. “The chairman of Cambridge University recently contacted me, asking if I would sell one of my Manx. I told him ‘No’. He offered Euro 100,000 and I declined. Then he offered Euro 200,000 and I again declined. Finally, I cut to the chase and told him I wouldn’t be selling the bike no matter what the price.”

MuseumBut, Erpelding is willing to sell certain units. He says he recently sold a Vincent to a collector in the United States for Euro 80,000. “He deposited the check in my bank account before even receiving the bike. I called and asked him why he trusted me, and he said, ‘I’ve heard you’re a trustworthy guy’.”

Erpelding is a fella who loves telling his stories. If you’re planning a visit, be sure to leave time to have beer at his Race Museum Bar. He’ll tell you about his run-ins with racer Agostini and Yamaha bosses; his thoughts on Triumph, MZ and KTM; his trips to Goodwood; and his days of racing Honda motorcycles and cars.

Check out Erpelding’s website, which features the full line-up of the museum’s bikes on display.

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Race Replica Scoots We’re Not Getting

September 27, 2009

File this under cool stuff we’re not getting in the U.S.: Three 50cc scooters wrapped in race livery that are sure to be a hit with sportbike enthusiasts looking for alternative surface street transportation.

Inspired by Valentino Rossi and the Fiat Yamaha MotoGP racing team, the Aerox Team Yamaha Race Replica (top), powered by a liquid-cooled two-stroke 50cc engine, is wrapped in the new-for-2009 paint and graphics to match the racing livery of the YZR-M1 MotoGP bike.

The Gilera Runner Marco Simoncelli Replica (middle) is powered by a 50cc liquid-cooled two-stroke engine delivering 5.4hp and features livery similar to that of the 250cc MotoGP World Champion’s factory racebike.

The Malaguti Phantom F12R Ducati Corse Superbike (bottom), available in 50cc liquid or air-cooled two-stroke versions, is the latest in a line of scoots made available via a licensing agreement between Ducati and Malaguti. Also available: the Phantom F12R Bayliss Limited Edition and the Phantom F12R Ducati Team version.

I saw all three of these units during a recent trip to the Nuerburgring in Germany. The bikes depicted in the photos were for sale at motorcycle dealerships adjacent to the world-famous racetrack.
Yamaha_ScooterGilera_ScooterDucati_Adenau-copy

Aprilia Fastest Bike at Pikes Peak … Again

July 30, 2009

The formal results are in: Piloting a 2009 Aprilia SXV550, Davey Durelle was the fastest motorcycle up the hill at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on July 19.PikesPeak_logo

The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, first held in 1916, features a course that climbs 12.42 miles, has 156 turns and starts at 9,390 ft. climbing to over 14,000 ft. Durelle completed the treacherous run in an astounding 11:48.649 minutes. It was his 13th personal victory at the event and the second year in a row he took the title of fastest motorcycle on the mountain.

Durelle finished a split second ahead of Gary Trachy aboard a 2008 KTM SMX. Both raced in the 750cc class.

PikesPeak1Durelle grabbed the hole shot and lead for the first two miles before Trachy made a pass for the lead. Trachy stretched his lead to five seconds before Durelle used the power of the SXV to close the gap in the wide open dirt section and re-passed him for the lead less then a mile from the summit. Durelle and Trachy battled side by side to the top finishing a mere .094 seconds apart – one of the closest finishes in the history of the event.

Davey Durelle is sponsored by Aprilia USA, Dunlop Tire, Arai, Spider Grips, Scotts Performance, Victory Circle Graphixs and Erico Motorsports (a Dealernews Top 100 dealer).

The fastest ATV on the mountain was a 2008 Honda 450 piloted by Michael Coburn with a time of 12:18.858 minutes.

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.

Jesse James is … a TV Star

May 31, 2009

Sure enough, I have a friend who has gone 7-odd seconds in the quarter mile on a bike, and I have friends who’ve rode in a temperature of -50 degrees, and I have a friend who has jumped a structure with a monster truck, and I have friends who have figure-eight raced, and I even have a friend who has been on fire. But, only one of my friends – a Facebook friend – has done it all: Jesse James.
JesseJames
Jesse James’ “ Jesse James Is A Dead Man” is entertaining as a lesson in odds and a flirtation with mortality.

Entertaining? Yes. Should it be more than that? No. It’s a stunt show.

Remember how many people stopped their lives to watch Evil Knievel jump the Snake River? You don’t? Talk with someone older than 35 years of age. Why did they watch it? For the excitement. The spectacle of doom.

Even so, nowadays, while all the stunts are prepped for safety, we continue to watch, for the possibility of catastrophe. Of course there’s no way in hell Spike TV or Jesse James’ dependents are going to allow his demise to be televised, and it’s obvious to any powersport enthusiast with a pulse who watches or listens to, or who frequents websites, that Mr. James is not dead.

Yet people watch.

You can, too, 9 p.m. CST, Sunday, on Spike TV.

AGV Protects Jordan’s Skull

May 19, 2009

Michael Jordan showed up at last weekend’s fifth round of the AMA Superbike series at Infineon Raceway to support his team, as is usual for the motorcycle fan.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

Jordan, after watching qualifications on Friday, jumped on a bike (a Ducati Multistrada) and went for a ride in the beautiful countryside of Sonoma protected with an AGV helmet.

The helmet on Jordan’s bean was one of the many helmets from the National Guard Jordan Suzuki Racing Experience: the 2-Up program sponsored by Dainese and AGV.

The 2-Up program, during which all riders participating are protected head-to-toe with Dainese leathers, gloves, boots and AGV helmets, provides an exclusive on-track experience for members of the media and other selected guests at each round of the AMA National Guard Pro Racing Superbike Series.

Learn more about Dainese and AGV here.

Brammo Tests TTXGP Racer

May 12, 2009

Brammo, a privately held start-up manufacturer of electric vehicles, plans to take part in the upcoming TTXGP – a time trial competition open only to two-wheelers powered by clean emissions technologies – with a bike named the Enertia.

Scheduled for June 12, following the traditional Isle of Man TT, the TTXGP (Time Trials Xtreme Grand Prix) is to be held on the legendary Isle of Man Mountain Course, a 37.733-mile circuit with over 200 corner.

The TTXGP was concocted by British entrepreneur Azhar Hussain. Hussain says the event offers an opportunity for leading global innovators in racing and clean emission technologies to compete and prove to the world that being green does not mean being slow. The planned TTXGP will showcase a diverse range of vehicles capable of reaching race speeds. Teams are likely to be backed by international corporations, universities and high tech institutions, but all eager to prove their credentials in clean emission transportation.

“TTXGP is about competitive innovation – pushing the frontier and making the next leap,” Hussain says. Certainly a look, and listen, of Brammo’s test sessions suggest these bikes could indeed represent the future of motorcycling.

Brammo, founded in Ashland, Ore., in 2002, has said it plans to begin sales of the $11,995 Enertia at five Best Buy stores on the West Coast.

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.

KTM 450 Beats Citroën C4 WRC in Hillclimb

April 2, 2009

British TV show Fifth Gear first showed that a Ducati 999 was a tick quicker than a Lamborghini Gallardo around a track, and now ten time world motocross champion Stefan Everts, riding a KTM 450, beat five-time rally champion Sébastien Loeb and his Citroën C4 WRC car up the Geraardsbergen Wall in Belgium.

OK, so Everts was only one tenth of a second ahead – traversing a slippery cobblestone-laden street to reach the top of the hill in 49:07 seconds compared to 49:17 for Loeb.

Still, what started as an innocent competition (a gentleman’s bet, if you will) between two top athletes turned into an exceptional duel. It was Everts who challenged Loeb a few weeks ago. Then the marketing wizkids at Red Bull turned it into an event, the Red Bull Motorclash.

The loser of the duel had to do some labor: clean the vehicle of his opponent. Loeb put up no resistance at all to carrying out his assignment and showed no sign of disappointment afterwards: “I thought this duel was a tremendous idea and I have no problems with Stefan winning it,” he said. “The difference is so small, it could have gone either way.”

Vehicles are not usually allowed on the Wall, but with the permission and co-operation of the town of Geraardsbergen and the police, everything ran seamlessly and safely.

Check out the video HERE

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Aprilia’s dirt-chugging V-twin: the MXV 450

March 26, 2009

Aprilia has introduced the MXV 450, the Italian company’s first-ever motocross bike.

Powered by Aprilia’s spooky little — get this — V-twin, I can only guess how this thing screams over track and trail. The 452cc, fuel-injected beast comes with two ignition settings that you

You might want to strap yourself in.

You might want to strap yourself in.

control by poking the handlebar switch. The “Big Bang” setting throttles things down a bit and gives an easier rideability, control and traction by closing the firing gap. Hit the “Screamer” setting and you can guess what happens — the firing gap changes back to standard and the motor wants to zip up to its 12,500 rpm limit. (So says the company.)

Speaking from some experience, Aprilia knows what it is doing with these V-twin-powered dirtbikes. I had the SXV 5.5 for a while last year (it’s the one dressed up in supermoto clothing) and that damn thing was (more…)