Last week the BSH blog brought you news of America flat-track legend Chris Carr’s visit to this country at the beginning of October. Not content with winning the AMA Grand National Dirt Track championship seven times, Chris has also taken part in several speed record attempts, holding the world motorcycle land speed record from September 5th 2006 to September 28th 2008. Last week, he came back with a vengeance, piloting the BUB Racing Streamliner Seven to a new motorcycle land speed record of 367.382 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats at the Land Speed Shootout. Carr covered the salt at an average speed of 367 mph on his first pass over the recorded mile, with an astounding 372 mph exit speed. He was able to match that phenomenal pace on his return run to for his unofficial average of 367.382 mph (the record is still to be ratified by the FIM). In the course of the two runs, he clocked an incredible 380 mph top speed.
The BUB Streamliner Seven is powered by a three litre, turbocharged, 16-valve V4 engine that produces a claimed 500 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque @ 8500 rpm. Even more impressive is the fact that the ‘big bang’ engine has to fit in an 18” x 28” space.
Don’t miss out on a chance to met a real legend of modern-day motorcycling – you can find out the dates of his short UK tour in the ‘FLAT TRACK LEGEND IN UK’ post on this blog on 22nd September 2009.
New MAG group Colne Valley MAG is already making its mark in the Yorkshire area, with a special tour around the local Air Ambulance last Saturday.
The MAG group had contacted the Yorkshire Air Ambulance regarding a donation, and were then invited over to see the helicopter and how everything works firsthand, before having a tour of the control tour. Sandra from Colne Valley MAG reports; “Of course, the crew could have been called away at any time, but nothing was too much trouble for them, and they spent an hour showing us around.”
Having handed over a cheque for £275, Colne Valley MAG is now determined to carry on as much fund-raising for the YAA as possible, from recycling old mobile phones and bras (yes, honest) to holding rock nights and a rally next July.
Norton has announced that it will be unveiling two new machines, the 961 Commando and the Cafe Racer Commando, at the International Motorcycle & Scooter Show at Birmingham’s NEC at the end of November. This Commando is based upon the modernised design produced by Kenny Dreer of Oregon in the early 2000s.
The iconic British marque was resurrected in 2008 by Stuart Garner, a British entrepreneur and bike enthusiast. Since then, Norton has embarked upon a vigorous marketing campaign which has included a return to the Isle of Man with its rotary-engined NRV588 race bike (which will also be on display at the NEC). Garner has recently speed-tested a Norton rotary NRV at Bonneville salt flats, clocking up to 180mph.
Incidentally, 'Dangerous' John Ashley went on to become the narrator in 'The A Team', while 'Laugh Loaded' Carl Switzer was shot dead in an argument over money just two years after this film was released in 1957.
Buell’s recent decision to cease production of the Blast (which, for some reason, was never imported into the UK in a woefully missed opportunity) has had a secondary effect on another potential motorcycle manufacturer.
As we reported some time ago, Mac Motorcycles had intended to base its models around Buell’s 500cc single engine, which (if the promo film featuring Mr Erik Buell himself is to be believed) are now being crushed into cube-shaped coffee tables. However, undaunted, the Mac team scratched their heads, had a think and came up with this new design, this time using a Yamaha XT660 engine. The XT motor means that the frame has had to be modified, and, while the lines might not be quite as neat as with the original Buell concept, the addition of an extra 14hp (taking output up to 49 ponies) more than compensates.
Mission Motors, a San Francisco-based company, has announced that its zero-emissions 'Mission One' electric superbike has claimed the AMA top speed record for an electric motorcycle, achieving a record 150.059 mph two-pass average run sustained for one mile at Bonneville Speedway on September 1st, 2009. Lead up to runs for the record saw one-way speeds across the mile stretch at 161mph.
The record-breaking top speed was achieved at the annual BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials on the Bonneville salt flats, and the Mission One achieved a top speed higher than 70% of the petrol-powered entrants, despite poor salt conditions and high cross winds. Even more remarkably, the Mission One wasn’t a bike built for Bonneville or speed record attempts, but the company’s production prototype bike.
Edward West, Mission Motors Founder and President, says; “We’ve all known what was possible for the Mission One for some time, and to set this record is very gratifying. It’s a watershed moment for electric vehicles and further proof that the era of the electric superbike has begun. Electric is no longer the future of high-performance motorcycling; it is the present.”
The company is selling 300 Mission One electric motorcycles in the 2010 model year, with the first 50 Premier Limited Edition models available for reservation now.
Alas, after the last story about proposed zero tolerance on alcohol limits for bikers, this story shows that maybe it's not such a bad notion, after all.
A Florida deputy deputy was driving on Interstate 75 on 15th September when he spotted what appeared to be a naked man on a motorcycle. The deputy caught up with 45-year-old J Dante Krauss at a red light and stopped him.
Capt. Mike Rolls said Krauss could not explain where he was coming from or why he was naked.
Rolls said the deputy asked him if he had been drinking, and he answered that he had. Breathalyser tests revealed blood alcohol levels above .08, the state's legal limit to drive. Krauss was charged with what turned out to be his fifth DUI and was later released on $20,000 bail.
It’s not easy being a biker in Australia at the moment. As if the concerted efforts of South Australia Premier, Mike Rann, to completely outlaw and imprison not only backpatch bike clubs and anyone connected with them – in fact, anyone who might once have walked past a club member, served them in a sandwich shop or just been in the same town – were not enough, the state of Queensland is now considering a zero tolerance on alcohol.
In theory, not a bad idea I would normally say. Except for the fact that, should it become law, the Queenland government intends that it will only apply to motorcyclists. The rationale for this is that police say that motorbike riders are thirty times more likely to die on the roads than other road users. And this statistic would have nothing to do with drivers being pissed, then?
Seven times Grand National Flat Track Champion Chris Carr will be visiting England after a low-key visit last year that Bike magazine wrote was ‘like Rossi racing at Darley Moor’. Following that initial trip – which was all down to our friends at the very cool Sideburn magazine - Carr was keen to come back and help promote the burgeoning UK flat track scene.
Carr is internationally renowned as an all-time great. A professional dirt tracker for over 20 years, he still races at the very highest level in the USA, contesting both the Grand National twins and singles classes on his Harley-Davidson XR750 and Honda CRF450. Winner of numerous Indy and Springfield Miles, and the first man to travel over 350mph on two wheels, he will make personal appearances, give talks and teach at a special one-off dirt track school. On the last day of his visit, Carr will race 50 of Britain and Europe’s best flat track racers in an afternoon of no-holds-barred heats, semis and a grand final at Rye House Speedway track, Hoddesdon, Herts, competing on a specially modified 50bhp Honda with no front brakes.
Thursday October 8: An evening with Chris Carr at Peterborough Lions Rugby Club. The night is a celebration of dirt track (and land speed racing), with a talk from Carr, plus merchandise stalls, displays of new and historic flat track bikes AND an auction of the leathers Chris Carr wore when he won the historic 2008 Indianapolis Mile. Tickets £8 in advance, £10 on the door. For ticket details and directions go to Sideburn.
Friday October 9: Chris Carr flat track school at Rye House, Herts. Very few places left. £125 on your own bike. £225 including rental of CCM 450 flat tracker. FT Experience
Saturday October 10: Personal appearance at Stratstone Harley-Davidson.
Sunday October 11: Carr takes on Europe’s best flat track racers for a full day of racing at Rye House speedway, Herts. Racing starts at 1pm. Adults £10 on the gate. Details and directions can be found at Short Track UK
Brother Speed MC is a 1% club in Oregon (and, according to the state's Department of Justice, an identified outlaw biker gang) which has been in existence since 1969 when it was formed in Idaho. They build choppers and run their own drag racing team, but, on Friday 19th September, they achieved a new and probably considerably less welcome claim to fame when 26 members of the club were involved in a road accident on Interstate 5 in Oregon.
According to one account, when traffic slowed down, the lead bikes didn’t, and then nor did those behind them, sending bikes everywhere. The Interstate, one of Oregon’s main arterial routes, was closed for several hours, but fortunately no-one was killed in the massive wreck. You really don’t want to be the insurance assessor who has to sort that one out, though, do you?
The late, lamented American magazine, Life, recently filed its entire archive of photographs on Google Images. Along with iconic images of the 20th century, there's a huge amount of historic photos, and those chronicling motorcycling will keep you happy for hours. They have for me, anyway!
While idling wandering around the Harley-Davidson USA web site (there was a reason I was there, but I disremember what), I came across the Police & Firefighters area. Now, Harley has enjoyed a long relationship with many US police departments - although it wasn't what they rode in CHiPS, was it now? - but did you know that Harley has a range of officially licensed police, firefighter and sheriff gear? Eight pages of the stuff... If you've ever fancied a travel bag or a pen or a hat or an insulated mug with 'Police' emblazoned on it, this is your lucky day. For the home, you can have a nice 18" x 27" floor mat (also with a police badge on it) and police shot glasses. For just $7.95, you can even buy a 'Police badge shaped pewter lapel pin'. Presumably it's no longer a crime in the USA to impersonate a copper.
Following previous news items about redundancies within Harley-Davidson, it’s now been announced that Harley’s subsidiary, Buell, will be ceasing production of motorcycles during November and December. Buell’s East Troy factory will be shut from 30th October for the rest of the year, with the fifty employees temporarily laid off expected to return to their jobs on 4th January 2010. Not quite the best Christmas present Buell could have given its workforce…
And, given the need to consolidate and maintain market positions and public awareness, was this really the best time for Buell to announce it was ditching the Blast (a cracking little bike which, for some reason, has never been imported into the UK) and launch a new logo?
A while back we brought you footage of Stellan Egeland's Harrier BMW on the road. Now, hot on the heels of taking 4th place in this year's competition, the Swedish ex-World Champion of Custom Bike Building has been out playing on the track...
Probably my favourite motorcycling web site is Mark van der Kwaak (aka Duckman)’s magnificent DBBP. As well as huge collections of photos and the best links page anywhere, you can find some of Mark’s CAD designs for bikes. But, unlike a lot of concepts, Mark’s designs can be built (and he’s proved that, in particular with CAD-33 and his retro BMW bobber, which have been placed in the Top 10 in successive European Championships of Custom Bike Building), and the Atomic Wedge, based around an S&S Cycle X-Wedge engine is the latest.
BSH 306 will be in all fine newsagents from this Thursday - 3rd September - with a remarkable cornucopia of custom chicaney and, er, stuff. It's probably the first time we've had a KTM on the cover, too.