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.

Question Marks for MotoGP at Austin – WSBK Instead?

03/09/2012 @ 5:40 pm, by Jensen Beeler15 COMMENTS

Question Marks for MotoGP at Austin   WSBK Instead? MotoGP speedometer Scott Jones

News of a possible MotoGP round in Austin, Texas sent GP fans in the United Stats into a flurry, but the proposed third US round has been anything but a sure thing since its announcement, and continues to be so even after the signing of a 10-year contract. Trouble first started brewing as the Circuit of the America’s had trouble finalizing its deal with Formula 1, a deal that was the linchpin to the circuit’s financing. With the issues with F1 resolved, and the premier car racing series set to take the green flag at Austin later this year, MotoGP seemingly is having the same problem of coming to Austin.

Reported by the local Austin news site the Statesman, the issue is both complex and relatively simple. As with Formula 1, the rights to host MotoGP at the Austin track reside with Full Throttle, a promotion company owned in part by Tavo Hellmund, who in turn was a partner of the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) project. When last year Formula 1′s contract with Hellmund was found to be in breach, F1 Boss Bernie Eccelstone terminated his contract with Hellmund, which then sent the F1 deal at Austin into a tailspin, and caused COTA to deal directly with Formula 1 in securing the racing series.

With Hellmund also being the bond that tied MotoGP to Austin, the same issue has arisen with COTA and Dorna, the media rights holder to the MotoGP Championship. According to court documents, Hellmund alleges that COTA had an opportunity to buy the rights to host MotoGP for $18 million from Full Throttle/Hellmund when it bought the similar rights to Formula 1. Clearly unable to close that deal at the time, unless the Circuit of the Americas can secure those rights in the coming months, the Austin GP scheduled for 2013 will likely not be held.

Hoping to sway COTA into purchasing the right to host MotoGP, legendary GP rider Kevin Schwantz sent a letter to Steve Sexton, President of the Circuit of the Americas. In his letter Schwantz wrote, “I urge you one final time to contact Mr. Hellmund about obtaining the rights to host a MotoGP race in Texas, after which I would be glad to open discussions with you as the new promoter. If you have not obtained such rights from Full Throttle, then unfortunately Circuit of the Americas will not be included as a round of the FIM Grand Prix Road Racing World Championship.”

“It is my understanding that Circuit of the Americas had the opportunity to obtain these rights on several occasions between late 2010 and the fall of 2011 but that Circuit of the Americas did not follow through,” Schwantz also wrote to the track’s President. Presumably Schwantz’s company, 3FourTexas, would likely become the new promotion company for the Texan MotoGP round, and if this passage from the email is true, then it would seem that COTA has been dragging its feet on securing the MotoGP rights, either because of negotiation positioning, because of securing the necessary finances, or both.

The most intriguing element of this whole debacle is a statement that Steve Sexton made to the Statesman, which said, “”We are in discussions with several major race series who have reached out to us, and our confidence is high that three to five major world-class events, including a two-wheel championship, will be on the 2013 schedule — and that these races will take place under terms favorable to the Circuit and the series owners.”

This begs the question of which “world-class” two-wheel championship the President of COTA is referring to in his statement, and it certainly raises an eyebrow about the possibility of the World Superbike Championship swooping in on the folly with MotoGP. With the premier production-motorcycle racing class on a critical mission to secure races outside of Europe, a second US round is certainly not off the table. Other possibilities include the AMA Pro Superbike Championship, or the ever-present business maneuver of complete fabrication. As always, time will tell.

Source: Statesman; Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. yooperbikemike says:

    neatly discounting past statements by the Fiamminis to the effect that Asia is their principle focus, not another US round

  2. I fail to see how the two ideas are mutually exclusive.

  3. Gonzo says:

    I’ll pass thank you. When they give the U.S. an enema, it won’t be New Jersey where they stick the pipe, but Texas! And for anyone who does go, don’t let any Texan feed you that “Don’t Mess with Texas” crap! That slogan is from an anti-litter campaign, not because Texans are badasses.

  4. andrey says:

    A storm in a teacup being stirred by egos the size of hurricanes: namely Ecclestone and Hellmund.

  5. RT @pitpaddock: RT @BorisBlotkin: Question Marks for MotoGP at Austin – WSBK or AMA Instead?: http://t.co/9duJpRdv #motogp #USGP #F1 #Austin

  6. john walker says:

    sorry to see such a great sport erode from ego, greed and dominated by 2 manufactures now. and we wonder why WSB is doing so well

  7. @john walker: WSB might be doing well on one hand, but I sure can’t seem to watch it here in Japan. Whereas I can (and do) subscribe to motogp.com and am able to watch full practice, qualifying sessions and races, all I get at the WSB site are 2-min. recaps of race highlights. *YAWN*

    People like to complain about Dorna, but at least they understand that to enjoy the show, people need access to it. They’ve one-upped Bernie on that count, too. F1′s site offers little more than qualifying laps by the pole sitter.

  8. hoyt says:

    Am I missing something and/or over-simplifying matters with this question:

    Why would a business which invests this kind of money, real estate, time, & effort into a worldclass racetrack not have their own in-house promotion company?

    get rid of the middle man promotion company, regardless if it is Kevin Schwantz or not. There’s a whole lot of markup being passed around for something that promotes itself by simply being on the schedule.

  9. hoyt says:

    based on the info above it seems that COTA is trying to get rid of the middleman promotion company, but how does a company get the “rights” to a race without a track in the first place?

  10. Other two wheeled “world class” series that he could be referring too (get ready to laugh) . . . TTXGP and FIM e-Power.

  11. SBPilot says:

    @Trane Francks: Not sure where you been but WSBK releases 25+ min reviews after each round that include not only most (if not all) the major highlights of the races but informational behind the scenes footage. I use to (amongst many others) complain about the unbearable 360p they uploaded but it’s all HD (1080p) this year on YouTube. With the addition of multiple on-board cameras on most of the bikes this year (something MotoGP has had for eons but new to WSBK), Superbike media reach out to fans is stronger than ever and improving at a very fast rate. Plus it’s free, though I wouldn’t doubt for a second that a video pass will be available in 2 years or so (for those who want to watch qualifying….now that’s a real YAWN!)

  12. @SBPilot: Thanks for the tip. I’d gone to the WSB site and in the video section, clicked on – DUH – Races and found only sub-2-min. segments. Apparently, to watch a race, one clicks on Magazine. I suppose a 26-min. recap is better than nothing, but it seems way short to me. I’m the sort of person who just prefers complete coverage.

    YMMV and all that. :)

  13. SBPilot says:

    @Trane Francks – Touche! I also prefer compete race coverage but not a fan of qualifying. Frankly WSBK full coverage was sub par just two years ago (no on board cams) and only half way through the season last year they started using more on board cams (sort of). It made watching full races pretty boring. But seems like this year with the new ownership and enough time to organize they have got the ball rolling with much more momentum. Lets hope they offer full race coverage, interviews etc online in the near future like MotoGP

  14. @ SBPilot: I enjoyed watching the Phillip Island race. Let’s hope the rest of the year plays out as well as this race. Max’s dash from last to 2nd in the 2nd race was unreal. Great to see Team Green making a strong showing, too (I was parts manager at a Kawi shop many moons ago, so I’ve a sentimental affection for the brand).

    Cheers!

  15. Ligia Wansley says:

    Hmm it appears like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips and hints for rookie blog writers? I’d really appreciate it.