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.

Clash of the Champions: Flat Track and GP Stars Will Race at Superprestigio Flat Track Event

12/24/2013 @ 2:35 pm, by David Emmett13 COMMENTS

Clash of the Champions: Flat Track and GP Stars Will Race at Superprestigio Flat Track Event superprestigio dirt track race

A new chapter is to be written in the long and illustrious history of motorcycle racing on Montjuic, the hill that borders the south side of Barcelona. On January 11th, a selection of Grand Prix racers, including all three world champions Marc Marquez, Pol Espargaro and Maverick Viñales, are to compete in the Superprestigio dirt track event to be held at the Palau Sant Jordi on Montjuic. The event is to be broadcast on Spanish TV

The race is to be held on single cylinder four-stroke flat trackers, raced around a 200 meter dirt oval inside the former Olympic indoor arena. Entry is by invitation only, and racing will take place in three separate classes: the Junior category, for riders under 18; the Open category, for experienced riders from around the globe racing in national championships; and the Superprestigio category, for riders currently competing in the MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 classes. At the end of the evening, a run off is to be held between the four best racers in the Open category and the four best from the Superprestigio category.

The entry list for both categories is impressive. The Superprestigio category will see Marc Marquez, Pol and Aleix Espargaro, Maverick Viñales, Bradley Smith, Alvaro Bautista, Julian Simon, Jonas Folger, Moto3 teammates Alex Marquez and Alex Rins, Hector Barbera, Tito Rabat, Johann Zarco, Niklas Ajo, Jordi Torres, Lorenzo Baldassari and Ricky Cardus race against one another. Nicky Hayden was also invited, but as he has just had wrist surgery, wisely but regretfully decided to pass on the event.

Among the entries for the Open category are some of the top racers from the UK’s rapidly growing flat track scene, former Moto2 racer and AMA singles champion Kenny Noyes, who has a dirt track school at Motorland Aragon, the winners from the European Dirt Track Festival held at Aragon in November, and some of the top Spanish flat trackers who, unlike their road-racing brethren, are virtually unknown in their own country.

But the star of the Open class will be AMA Grand National champion Brad ‘The Bullet’ Baker. Baker’s invitation to the event came around after a campaign on social media by writer and former racer Mark Gardiner, who eventually goaded Marc Marquez into issuing an invitiation to Baker (for more background on this, see Gardiner’s Backmarker column on Motorcycle USA). As AMA Grand National Champion, Brad Baker can justifiably be regarded as the best dirt track racer in the world at the moment.

The return of the Superprestigio revives a historic tradition. Back in the 1990s, the event was run as an end-of-season road race, which pitted some of the best American riders against some of the best from Spain. The Superprestigio saw a young John Kocinski make his first foray into Europe, which would eventually see him racing in Grand Prix and World Superbike, but it was also the place where Kenny Roberts Jr and Colin Edwards made their European debuts.

In recent years, factory contracts and Dorna have put a stop to riders taking part in races on the road, but staging the event as a dirt track series neatly sidesteps any such ban. The event is the result of a collaboration between Jaime Alguersuari – father of the Spanish F1 driver of the same name, and founder of Spanish magazine Solo Moto – and Marc Marquez, who is an avid dirt track racer in the off season. Marquez had wanted to organize a race against his peers over the winter, and Alguersuari saw an opportunity to revive a once-great brand he had been involved in in the past.

The Superprestigio also stands as the current high point of the ongoing dirt track revival. After its heyday in the 70s, 80s and 90s, the popularity of the sport among road racers went into something of a decline. This was rather odd, as many of the top riders – Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner, to name two MotoGP champions – grew up racing on dirt ovals. But the past few years have seen the discipline gain popularity again, with riders such as Marquez and Valentino Rossi taking it up with much enthusiasm.

The reasons for its revival have been manifold. Perhaps its biggest attraction is that it allows riders to race at speed and slide a bike with limited risk of injury. After suffering a serious shoulder injury in 2010, Rossi set about building his own dirt track ranch near his home in Tavullia, allowing him to train without risking another similar injury. As a dirt track circuit tends to be flat, and most motocross injuries are picked up from crashes after jumps, dirt track removes a major source of injuries.

Racing a bike on a loose surface also teaches riders to manage and control slides, at both the front and most especially the rear wheel. Throttle control also becomes paramount, managing the sliding of the rear, an increasing necessity in road racing, especially in Moto2 with limited electronics, and in MotoGP, following the direction opened up once again by Casey Stoner and Marc Marquez, after a period in which tires and electronics had killed it off during the 800cc era.

More and more riders are setting up their own dirt track facilities. Valentino Rossi has laid out a complex of circuits at his Moto Ranch, but Marc Marquez also has a private track where he, his brother Alex, and a host of invited riders also train.

The dirt track revival has also seen new schools growing up teaching the art. Perhaps the most famous is Colin Edwards’ Texas Tornado Boot Camp, a mixture of dirt track and Texan adventure. A less expensive and more race-focused school is run by Kenny Noyes. The Noyes Camp school is run at Motorland Aragon, where it hosted the European Dirt Track festival.

The European revival is also down to the groundwork put in by the British publication Sideburn Magazine, run by Gary Inman. That magazine has helped foster a thriving scene in the UK, with riders from all over Europe racing there. It has even fostered the Dirt Quake event, a wild and weird mixture of flat track racing on entirely unsuitable machinery, live music, and motorcycle culture.

Below is the ad for Superprestigio event currently screening on Spanish TV. A full schedule for the event is on the Superprestigio website, where you can also buy tickets. Prices start at 15 euros.

Source: Superprestigio

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.

Comment:

  1. Neil Carlyle says:

    Troy Bayliss runs a similar style event at the sleepy beachside local, ‘Old Bar’ (former river opening to the sea, not a pub) just outside his home town Taree, each January.

    http://www.troybaylissevents.com/tbc.html

  2. Conrice says:

    This is just too cool. Too bad it won’t be on American TV (come on Fox Sports 1!)

  3. +1 to Neil Carlyle’s comment

  4. paulus says:

    Good, cheap racing on mildly watered down off-road machinery…. good fun.

  5. No Graziano? No Vale?

  6. kampret says:

    who is vale?

  7. Bill says:

    How about Brad Baker? Current AMA Flat Track champion. Why not add someone who would present a unique challenge on the dirt.

  8. Slangbuster says:

    OH!,,,,Now that’s interesting. What a blast that will be. The AMA was going to run something similar called “Stupidprestigio” but nobody signed up. Oh well, there’s always Daytona…..(Crickets)………..

  9. Jw says:

    Wow, this is a great read. I am from the dirt track era of the 70′s, AMA district 36, Northern California, where King Kenny is from. They were the best of times and I am so glad dirt track is not dying and is so popular with the GP riders of today!

    How does an American see this new race in Spain? (No I cannot fly there) I’ll take any language.

  10. Tomas says:

    2oo Meters?!… I hope that is incorrect. If this is correct? it’s speedway, Not Flat Track.

  11. kampret: That’s Graziano and Valentino Rossi. They’re both into flat/short track and Graziano put his name to a custom flat tracker for the street.
    http://www.twowheelsblog.com/post/15753/valentino-rossi-colin-edwards-and-friends-at-the-biscia
    http://www.cycleworld.com/2012/05/03/zaeta-flat-tracker-italian-style/

  12. Tomas, Yes, the track is expected to be about 200m around the inside. The limit is what can be built into the Palau, which is an arena, not a stadium. Realistically, the slower the track and average speed, the less objections you’re going to get from Dorna, sponsors, and team owners; they don’t want their stars getting hurt in the off-season, which is why the original Superprestigio was discontinued.

  13. Marc F says:

    Awesome.

    Too bad about Nicky. Flat track is in his blood… It’d be a fun opportunity for him to get in front of Marquez and Lorenzo.