A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

Colin Edwards Will Retire from Racing after 2014 Season

Announcing his decision during the pre-event press conference for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Colin Edwards told the assembled press that 2014 would be the Texan’s last season racing a motorcycle. Citing a lack of improvement on his performance in pre-season testing and at the Qatar GP, Edwards decision perhaps answers the lingering question in the paddock of when the American rider would hang-up his spurs after an illustrious career in AMA, WSBK and MotoGP. Talking about his inability to come to terms with the Forward Yamaha, which Aleix Espargaro was able to take to the front of the pack in Qatar, Edwards was at a loss when it came to understanding the Open Class machine and his lack of results.

MSF Updates Its Basic RiderCourse Curriculum

It is no surprise that statistics from the NHTSA show that motorcycle accidents and injuries are on the rise. According to the 2012 Motor Vehicle Crash report published by the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities for that year rose to 4,957, up seven percent from 2011, while injuries increased 15% to 93,000. While the NHTSA statistics are misleading because the motorcycle category includes mopeds, scooters, three-wheelers, pocket bikes, mini bikes, and off-road vehicles, new riders need every advantage they can afford. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has taken notice of these statistics and has revised the curriculum for its Basic RiderCourse to include a new Basic eCourse, which students will take prior to in-person instruction.

Yamaha Trademarks “R1S” & “R1M” at USPTO – “YZF-R1M” Trademarked Abroad – But Why?

Are new Yamaha YZF-R1 models coming down the pipe? That’s the question being asked after trademark filings in the US and abroad tipped off Yamaha Motor’s intention to use “R1S”, “R1M”, and “YZF-R1M” for motorcycle, scooter, and three-wheeled purposes. The filings are being taken as hints towards a possible multiple trim levels of the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, with the “S” and “M” designations being different spec machines than the current base model. The “S” nomenclature is a popular one in the two and four-wheeled world, though “M” would certainly be a novel designation, outside of say…BMW.

Bell & COTA Create Texas-Themed Limited-Edition Helmet

Continuing its theme of making limited-edition helmets for premier-class US rounds, Bell Helmets has teamed up with the Circuit of the Americas and Chris Wood, of Airtrix, to create a Texas-themed Bell Star Carbon helmet, just in time for COTA’s MotoGP race next weekend. Available only until April 13th, the Bell/COTA helmet features a red, white, and blue flag motif on the front, with both the American and State of Texas flags visible, which then wrap around the rear to merge with a hardwood design, reminiscent of the floorboards in a Western saloon. The helmet is also crowned with a Longhorn cattle skull, which adds to the Texan motif. The specially designed helmet also features a horseshoe, the COTA logo, and the 2014 Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas logo.

Aprilia Mounting a Return to MotoGP in 2016

Towards the end of the 800cc era, MotoGP looked to be in dire condition. Grids were dwindling, factories were reducing their participation, and teams were in difficult financial straits indeed. By the end of 2011, there were just 17 full time entries, Suzuki was down to a single rider, and were about to pull out entirely for 2012. How different the situation looks today. In a recent interview with the official MotoGP.com website, Aprilia Corse’s new boss Romano Albesiano gave a brief outline of their plans. The Italian factory will continue to work with the IODA Racing team for 2014 to collect data on the electronics and tires, which they will use as input on an entirely new project being worked on for 2016.

This Is Pretty Much What the Monster 800 Will Look Like

With the advent of the Ducati Monster 1200, it was only a matter of time before Ducati’s middleweight liquid-cooled “Monster 800″ would be spotted, and unsurprisingly the machines have a great deal in common. The one big difference seems to be that the 821cc Monster gets a double-sided swingarm, which has become Ducati’s new way of differentiating between its big and medium displacement models of the same machine, see entry for Ducati 899 Panigale. With the spied Ducati Monster 800 looking ready for primetime, and a pre-fall launch isn’t out of the question. Giving us an excellent glimpse into what the Ducati Monster 800 would look like, Luca Bar has again used his Photoshop skills to render up images of the still unreleased “baby” Monster.

Photos of the Mugen Shinden Ni sans Fairings

Given the competitive nature of the electric racing realm, its rare to see the big high-power bikes without their fairings, as teams are reluctant to reveal their secret sauce. Debuting the Mugen Shinden San this past weekend in Tokyo though, Team Mugen did just that, giving us a glimpse into the inner workings of the team’s 2013 race bike, the Mugen Shinden Ni. You don’t have to be an electron-head to get excited by these photos, as any race bike with a carbon fiber frame and swingarm is pretty drool-worthy, though the Shinden Ni’s carbon fiber battery enclosure does hide a great deal of the electric superbike’s geek factor. While the sheer size of the battery bike is impressive, it was expected when the Shinden was first announced.

Mugen Shinden San (神電 参) Electric Superbike Revealed

Mugen’s third purpose-built electric superbike for the Isle of Man TT, the Mugen Shinden San, has been revealed in Japan. Campaigning two machines for this year’s TT Zero race, Mugen has John McGuiness and Bruce Anstey at the helm of its “Shinden San” bikes, as the duo looks for a one-two finish in this year’s race. With MotoCzysz not racing at the Isle of Man this year, Mugen is a hot favorite to take the top podium spots, as well as crack the 110 mph barrier for electrics on the historic Snaefell Mountain Course (Mugen is targeting a 115 mph lap). An evolution on the company’s previous designs, the Shinden San fits 134hp — 10hp more than last year, thanks to a new smaller three-phase brushless motor provided by Mission Motors — into its 529lbs bulk.

Trackside Tuesday: The Winning Personality of Jack Miller

Chatting with a couple of NASCAR fans recently, I was reminded that any competition is boring if you don’t care who wins. But if you do care, then even cars driving around in circles can be very compelling entertainment. Those NASCAR fans really cared about how their favorite drivers finished, and not only how they finished in the latest race, but what and how those drivers were doing off the track as well. Those fans had been captured by the personalities of those drivers. One of the things NASCAR does well is sell personalities. All major sports-related businesses do this to some extent, but some organizations do it better than others.

The He Said, She Said, But No One is Really Saying Anything about the Virginia International Raceway Snafu

07/13/2011 @ 2:46 pm, by Jensen Beeler6 COMMENTS

The He Said, She Said, But No One is Really Saying Anything about the Virginia International Raceway Snafu Virginia International Raceway 635x407

AMA Pro Racing and the Virginia International Raceway have been having a war of the press releases the past few days, as it was announced that AMA road racing will not be taking place at the fabled mid-Atlantic track later next month. With AMA Pro Racing first announcing on Monday that the event scheduled for August 12th-14th was cancelled, the sentence immediately following that statement must have struck a nerve with VIR, as it read: “Despite AMA Pro Racing’s efforts to preserve the originally scheduled August 12-14 event, VIR staff notified AMA Pro Racing late Monday, July 11, of its final decision not to host or promote the race weekend.”

VIR followed up on Tuesday with a statement of it’s own, lambasting AMA Pro Racing for putting the blame on the Virginia track, and shifted the accusations onto AMA Pro Racing, who according to VIR was tardy in getting the raceway a contract in time to properly promote the event. With each side seemingly telling only part of the story, speculation has been rife as to what really went down between America’s premier road racing series, and one of our most prestigious venues.

Though we have no inside-knowledge of what transpired between the two parties, friction between tracks and promoters typically comes down to pie slices, and who gets the bigger piece. With VIR’s 10-year contract to host AMA Pro Racing in expiration, the renegotiation of the contract apparently fell apart. Reading between the lines on the press releases, it would seem to us that while negotiations have been ongoing, AMA Pro Racing gave VIR its final offer, which the track did not accept. While it is impossible to say who is right or wrong in this blow-out, it’s pretty easy to tell who the big losers are: the fans. Press releases after the jump.


AMA Pro Racing’s Press Release:
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (July 11, 2011) – It is with deep regret that AMA Pro Racing is forced to announce VIR’s cancellation of the Suzuki White Lightening Nationals, Round 8 on the AMA Pro Road Racing season calendar. Despite AMA Pro Racing’s efforts to preserve the originally scheduled August 12-14 event, VIR staff notified AMA Pro Racing late Monday, July 11, of its final decision not to host or promote the race weekend.

“AMA Pro Racing has made VIR a part of its season calendar for the past decade,” said AMA Pro Racing COO and Managing Member David Atlas, “and I am gravely disappointed by the impact this will have on our paddock, fans, and other series participants. I assure all of those involved parties that a significant effort was made to negotiate an arrangement that would have preserved the event.”

AMA Pro Racing will refund all event-specific fees paid to AMA Pro Racing by series participants.

The AMA Pro Road Racing Championship was in action this past weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course — its 29th appearance at the historic Ohio facility — where track officials welcomed a banner crowd that witnessed fiercely competitive action in all four classes. AMA Pro Racing looks forward to bringing its talent-packed paddock to fans at upcoming 2011 events, the schedule for which can be viewed at amaproracing.com.

The AMA Pro Road Racing series next heads to Monterey, California’s Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for Round 7 on the calendar. The July 22-24 event will run as part of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix MotoGP World Championship weekend.

Virginia International Raceway’s Repsonse:
“VIR has received a number of inquiries and expressions of disappointment regarding the lack of a 2011 AMA Pro Racing event at VIR. As with any disagreement, there are two sides to every story. We want to make it clear that the decision was not one-sided, as David Atlas’ remarks have implied, and that VIR made numerous proposals to AMA Pro Racing to keep this event on schedule. Due to our 10 year history with this premiere event, we are as disappointed by this outcome as most of those we have heard from.

VIR has worked hard to bring the event to fruition for months. Despite requests by VIR beginning in December 2010, AMA Pro Racing did not deliver its proposed contract for the 2011 event to VIR until early June 2011. Resulting discussions made it apparent that insufficient time remained to negotiate the new terms in the proposed contract and, if agreement were reached, to plan, promote and conduct the event in a professional manner.

In an effort to preserve the date, VIR went to extraordinary lengths to reach an alternative agreement with AMA Pro Racing, which AMA Pro Racing chose to reject. Given these circumstances, we had no choice but to take the date off the calendar and notify the public promptly.”

Source: AMA Pro Racing & Virginia International Raceway

Comment:

  1. Earl Shives says:

    I think you meant “lambasting,” rather than “land-blasting.” Cheers…

  2. I’d rate VIR one of the better “rider’s tracks” that I’ve raced at over the years. But Danville VA is nowheresville, man. Not really a suitable place to hold a National. I bet that if the AMA and VIR were really confident the race would have drawn a good crowd, they’d’ve found grounds for an agreement and signed contracts. As it is, I doubt that any team principals are losing sleep over the cancellation of the VIR round.

  3. Tom says:

    People criticize tracks for being in the middle of nowhere (Autopolis is the most famous one here in Japan), but costs for land and the development and local ordinances force great tracks out in the country. In Nashville right now, there is a movement to shut down the racetrack at the fairgrounds due to noise and traffic. Tennessee is not alone in this.

  4. joe says:

    Nowheresville is sometimes closer than Daytona. I’d say this is another reason to go watch a CCS or WERA race.

  5. buellracerx says:

    I’d have the say the crowd was pretty good the past few years there, though it did seem to dwindle slightly last year. I can definitely say that, as crew, it was my least favorite track on the schedule. High temps + humidity, plenty of bugs, outhouse-style showers (seriously VIR? seriously?), not to mention the track gets plenty slick in this high heat (more so than others) making setup a chore and crashes abundant. Oh yea, & don’t even get me started on how badly that red dirt stains…

    that being said, I’d love to do a trackday there, looks like a really fun track to ride

  6. Faster1 says:

    Please!,, this has nothing to do with VIR,, It’s just another bone head eff up by the AMA/DMG rejects,, Right there with holding a Daytona race on a Thursday so maybe 1,000 people could watch,, and letting a 1100 compete against 600,s. and rolling starts,, and “pace bikes” and Ambulances competing for podiums and invisible flag workers, and tracks is shit shape like Miller with the slick mud run-offs.

    The entire series needs to fold so a real one can form the ashes. I was a devout AMA fan for many years right up until Honda was driven out. I’m not a Honda head but it was just a microcosm of mistakes that made the series so uncompetitive. We eventually called it the Yosh Races. It’s a shame that so much talent has to go to waste in that series