What made a record at the recently concluded El Mirage was history, repeating itself.
There is no apprehension about the fact that Indian Motorcycle doesn’t just make luxury yachts on two wheels. This American dream production house also makes racers, trackers and land-speed record breakers.
Home to Land Speed Racing (LSR) for more than half a century, it was race week at the El Mirage dry lake bed. Having speed trials there was one of the oldest American motorcycles manufacturer, Indian Motorcycle. With three of their thoroughbred machines, a 2015 Chief Classic, a 2015 Indian Scout and the 2017 Spirit of Munro Scout, the folks at Indian set out to go on trial runs and made not one but three land speed records instead.
The highlight of this event is the Spirit of Munro 50th anniversary 2017 Indian Scout. A motorcycle that is celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Burt Munro’s 1000cc class record of 183.59mph on his Indian Scout Streamliner at the Bonneville Salt Flats. And the jaw-opening part of this story is that the chaps that worked on this Spirit of Munro volunteered to be a part of this historic attempt, working on the project “after hours.”
Indian’s Wrecking Crew to Compete in X Games
This week, Indian’s Wrecking Crew — the team that dominated Flat Track Racing this season in its first appearance in 63 years — is making its debut at the X Games. A legend in his own right, veteran road racer Larry Pegram will join Bryan Smith, Jared Mees and Brad Baker, to pilot the Indian Scout FTR750 at this premier action sports event in Minneapolis, Minnesota on July 13. Looking to take the podium from Harley-Davidson after last season’s sweep, the guys from Indian are ready to race.
Continue reading for more on the Wrecking Crew and the X Games.
KTM Delivers One-Two Punch At Pikes Peak International Hillclimb
KTM and Kawasaki were represented in the top four finishes in the Heavyweight Motorcycle division at the 95th running of the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado Spring, Colorado, but it was KTM’s [1290 Super Duke R->mot5233 that delivered the one-two punch by taking first and second place, as well as fourth place. Chris Fillmore, an in-house racer for KTM, made a record-setting climb of 9.49.265 to beat the previous record held by Carlin Dunne set in 2013. All-in-all, it was an excellent day of racing for KTM and the 2017 Super Duke R.
Continue reading for more on the race.
Wrecking Crew Swept the Podium Once More Before The Streak Ends
Indian’s Wrecking Crew extended its swath of destruction to the OKC Mile held at Reminton Park in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, before that winning streak came to an end at the Lima Half-Mile. For the fourth time this season, the three-man team of Jared Mees, Bryan Smith, and Brad Baker managed to fill all three podium spots for a clean sweep in OKC, and that weekend marked their eighth undefeated race. Current results are less than stellar, but we knew it had to end sometimes. Performance at the Lima Half-Mile, while the streak is broken, still saw a second-place finish.
Continue reading for more on the Wrecking Crew results.
Indian Scores Another Perfect Flat Track Podium Sweep
Back in June, Indian announced its return to the AMA Pro Flat Track series, and whoever made that decision deserves a raise. This past weekend at the Arizona Mile, the triple-threat Indian team got its second podium sweep of the season with the new “Wrecking Crew” comprised of Bryan Smith, Brad Baker and Jared Mees, who finished the race in that order. Too bad for poor Brad. He was looking at a first-place finish when teammate Bryan Smith ducked him in a turn and held the advantage to the end for a .057-second lead over the now second-place Baker.
Continue reading for more on the race finishes.
2017 BMW HP4 Race
Public demand for race-ready road bikes has never been higher, and the folks down at the Bayerische Motoren Werke are trying to take that momentum to the bank with its HP4 Race. Like many of its track-day competitors have recently done, BMW set about the business of mini-mass producing a bike that carries as much of its factory-team race gear as they are comfortable sharing with the world. However, the factory isn’t risking much in this bid for a slice of the hardcore race-fan market with a limited-edition run of 750 hand-built units, so in addition to the obvious attraction of the technology and power we can add rarity to the curb appeal. Here we have a 215 horsepower engine pushing the world’s first all carbon-fiber frame with a veritable alphabet soup of features that are surely indispensable for racers looking for an edge.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW HP4 Race.
Senior TT and 2016 Superbike winner Michael Dunlop signs to join the Suzuki team for a number of races starting with the North West race in Northern Ireland, Mr. Dunlop’s home turf. From there we’ll see him at the Isle of Mann TT — arguably his home-away-from-home — where he will go for his 14th win with his new team.
Continue reading for more from Michael Dunlop.
The American Motorcyclist Association sanctions five venues for the 2017 supermoto season to include a new track at the Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida that will help expand the footprint of this burgeoning sport. A multi-class sport, National Series events break down into a number of categories to accommodate different ages and machine sizes. The 2017 schedule kicks off in Bakersfield, California on April 8.
Continue reading for more on the AMA 2017 schedule.
Pike’s Peak is sometimes referred to as “America’s Mountain,” and it serves as something of a proving grounds as wheeled contraptions of every persuasion race from bottom to top, or thereabouts, in order to test their mettle (or metal if you like, they both work here). Victory Motorcycles came up big at the 2016 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb by winning first-in-class in two separate categories and taking second- and third-place overall.
Continue reading for more on the Victory finishes.
Interest in race-replica models is beginning to wane in favor of the more public road-oriented naked bikes and streetfighters, but you’d never know it looking at the work Honda put into the RC213V-S.
The “S” is based on Honda’s RC213V factory racebike currently competing in the MotoGP circuit, and it is important to mention here that this is the bike that carried Honda to the Riders’, Constructors’ and Team Championships in both ’13 and ’14.
While this isn’t quite a straight-up racebike with turn signals, it’s a fairly faithful reproduction and is as close as you will find among the production bikes on the road today. Let’s face it — to unleash a 100-percent genuine racebike on the public would be irresponsible at best, and criminal at worst, so the factory had to nerf it just a little bit. These bikes are hand built by specially trained mechanics using model-specific tools at a rate of one unit per day, part of the reason for the limited-edition run. Join me while I see how close to that line the Red Riders dance with this awe-inspiring machine.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda RC213V-S.
No, he wasn’t doing bad things; he was doing good things. Husqvarna just announced its brand-new brand ambassador, and it’s none other than AMA Hall of Famer, Jeff Emig. Mr. Emig will be familiar to anyone who watched motocross racing through the ’90s, and he is widely regarded as a fierce competitor who is fearless entering the first turn, but whose career was cut short by back-to-back injuries in late ’99 and early 2000.
Continue reading for more about Jeff Emig and Husky.
This week saw the 93rd annual Motorcycle Week in Laconia, New Hampshire kick off with the usual pomp and circumstance. The world’s oldest bike rally runs from the 11th of June through Father’s Day this year, nice timing for dad/kid activities even if it does fall on the last day of the rally. As with all such events, lodging can be a real pain to secure, so if you missed it this year you’d best go ahead and make your reservations now for next year’s event that will run from June 10th through the 18th, 2017. To all of you heading home from the event, be ye careful on the road.
Continue reading for my look at the week ending June 17, 2016.
Here we are just two months away from the 76th Annual Black Hills Motor Classic in Sturgis, South Dakota, and the summer is already starting to sizzle. Race fans were treated to a veritable cornucopia as man and machine tackled the mountainous race course at the Isle of Man TT. We had a handful of announcements for brand new rides, and a confirmation of a new-to-the-U.S. model, so join me for a brief rundown of a few of the highlights.
Continue reading for my look at the week of June 10, 2016.
There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the Husqvarna 701 Supermoto and the KTM-owned brand hasn’t been shy about touting its supermotobike to the public. Over the past few months, we’ve seen Husqvarna launch a dedicated microsite for the 701 and release a promotional video of the bike running roughshod over a makeshift track on the surface of a frozen lake in Sweden. Now, Husky’s taking it one step further with the release of a new promo video of its new supermoto bike stretching its legs in its natural habitat: a race track.
The video shows the 701 completely at home in this element, taking any semblance of stunt riding out of the equation. The bike looks quick, agile, and totally in control of its surroundings and it’s a little rewarding to see it navigate around the track with aplomb, hitting apexes with ease and executing perfect lean angles on corners. It’s the kind of environment that the 701 was built for. Watching and listening to it run around the track is already giving me goosebumps on what it can do when it lines up against other 450cc bikes in actual competition.
I can’t tell at this point how the 701 Supermoto will do against its rivals, but judging from this new video alone, I’d be very confident in its chances, weight issues notwithstanding.
Continue reading to read more about the Husqvarna 701 Supermoto.
Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa may be out of the title picture, but the man I’ve been calling the best rider never to win a MotoGP title showed his true worth by taking the checkered flag at the Motegi Grand Prix in Japan. Pedrosa claimed his 50th MotoGP in dramatic style, overcoming his starting position (he started sixth from the grid) and a wet racetrack to deny Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo a chance to win Yamaha’s 11th race win of the season.
Pedrosa even admitted to having some tire issues at the start of the race, but as the race wore on, he was able to find his form and pick up his pace, eventually sweeping past Rossi and Lorenzo to finish first, 8.573 seconds ahead of Rossi. It’s also his first win in what has been a turbulent season by his own standards, including missing three races at the start of the season after getting arm pump surgery.
Lost in the attention of Pedrosa’s impressive victory is the title picture between Rossi and Lorenzo. Rossi’s second place finish gave him four extra points in the overall standings over Lorenzo. As it stands now with just three races remaining, the Italian rider leads his Spanish teammate, 283 points to 265. Lorenzo is by all means still in the title picture, but he’s going to need to post top finishes in the last three races and hope that Rossi stumbles in at least one of them to have a shot at overtaking his teammate and preventing him from winning a record 10th MotoGP title.
The MotoGP calendar now moves to the Australian Grand Prix in Philips Island on
Continue reading to read more about the dramatic title showdown between the two Yamaha riders.
Jorge Lorenzo’s quest to catch teammate Valentino Rossi in the race to the MotoGP rider’s title experienced a small setback when he sprained his left shoulder in a training accident ahead of the Motegi Grand Prix in Japan. According to multiple reports, Lorenzo was in the middle of a training run on a minibike with other riders when he took a spill and landed on his left shoulder. He was then taken to a medical center in Barcelona where doctors diagnosed him with a grade 1 left shoulder sprain.
The injury isn’t serious enough for Lorenzo to miss the race so we can still expect him to be in the starting grid in Motegi this weekend. But it does already put him at a disadvantage to Rossi, who still has precarious 14-point lead in the championship standings. It won’t help Lorenzo’s cause that he’ll be racing in a track that’s known for having a lot of heavy braking. It helps that this brake points are mostly for right-hand corners. That doesn’t mean that Lorenzo’s not going to be in pain during the race, but these right-hand corners should keep the pain from that left shoulder down to a minimum.
As if riding trying to catch Lorenzo isn’t already hard enough on its own, the Movistar Yamaha rider must now do it with a bum shoulder. It’s going to be interesting to see how the shoulder plays a part in his ability to race, but expect it to be good news for Rossi’s title chances.
Continuer reading to read more about Jorge Lorenzo’s new injury.
Dream Racer, the critically acclaimed film based on the Dakar Rally, has won the “Best Feature Film” award at the New York 2015 Motorcycle Film Festival. It’s the latest in a series of accolades the film has received, following similar achievements in other film festivals. In addition to its latest triumph, Dream Racer also bagged the “Human Values & Sport Award” at the Barcelona International Sports Film Festival; the “Best Foreign Feature Documentary Award” at the Los Angeles All Sports Film Festival; and the “Mention D’Honneur” at the Milan International FICTS Festival.
We’ve featured the rally in these pages in the past and we can attest to how difficult it is to finish, let alone compete in. Participants actually have to endure 15 days and close to 6,300 miles of desert terrain just to be able to complete the race. It’s no wonder that over 50 percent of participants don’t even make it to the finish line. But this film isn’t so much about the Dakar Rally itself as it is about the journey of Christophe Barriere-Varju, a man who made it his personal goal to complete the race.
Like everyone else who enters it, Barriere-Varju’s quest didn’t come with its share of setbacks. But through it all, he persevered, overcoming fatigue, injuries, and tragedy to successfully say that the achieved his dream. It’s arguably one of the most inspirational films you’ll ever get to watch so if you need a little kick to get you dreaming once again, Dream Racer will give you that…and then some.
Continue reading to read more about Dream Racer.