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.

Trackside Tuesday: From Over the Hedge

06/25/2013 @ 12:20 pm, by Tony Goldsmith6 COMMENTS

Trackside Tuesday: From Over the Hedge Trackside Tuesday Isle of Man TT 2013 Tony Goldsmith 04 635x421

The Isle of Man TT is widely acknowledged as the most demanding motorcycle road race on earth for both rider and machine.  For a motorsport photographer the 37.75 mile course offers a wealth of opportunities as well as a unique challenge.

The opportunities are obvious: stunning scenery, spectacular jumps and spectators literally within arms-reach of the riders as they blast through towns and villages.

It goes without saying that capturing a sharp image of a 200bhp motorcycle can be tricky even when they are not moving particularly quickly.  In my opinion, the difficulty level at the TT is greater due to the sheer speed the bikes are travelling at.

The key to successfully photographing the TT has nothing to do with technical ability or gear, it is, as with most things in life, down to experience – although a bit of location planning and local knowledge doesn’t hurt either.

Once a location has been picked it’s not unusual to find yourself hiking through fields, clambering over centuries old Manx stone walls or wading through mud and water to get to the chosen spot.  Barbed wire fences have claimed more than one pair of jeans in the past, thankfully nothing more in my case, although I do recall one near miss after dangling off a barbed wire fence by the seat of my jeans.

After going through all that effort you’ll need to be aware of your surroundings and plan an escape route, preferably one that doesn’t involve barbed wire.

The average MotoGP race is run over 20 plus laps, lasts about 45 minutes and the photographers have the opportunity to capture images from multiple locations and angles during a race.  A 6 lap TT race is completed in around 1 hour 45 minutes and you will have at best 6 chances to get your shot.

If you plan on shooting from more than one location, and want to cover the start and end of a race, then you may miss a lap or two whilst negotiating the island’s busy roads.  The pressure is therefore on to make sure you nail the shot the first time, after all your editor is not going to care that you missed the race winner because you were being chased out of a field by a herd of cows!

I count myself incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to photograph a handful of MotoGP races over the last few years.  However, there really is no place I would rather be than perched on a hedge, camera at the ready, straining to catch the sound of a screaming engine in the distance, hoping the damn cows stay on the other side of the field…

Trackside Tuesday: From Over the Hedge Trackside Tuesday Isle of Man TT 2013 Tony Goldsmith 01 635x421

Trackside Tuesday: From Over the Hedge Trackside Tuesday Isle of Man TT 2013 Tony Goldsmith 02 635x421

Trackside Tuesday: From Over the Hedge Trackside Tuesday Isle of Man TT 2013 Tony Goldsmith 03 635x421

Trackside Tuesday: From Over the Hedge Trackside Tuesday Isle of Man TT 2013 Tony Goldsmith 05 635x421

Trackside Tuesday: From Over the Hedge Trackside Tuesday Isle of Man TT 2013 Tony Goldsmith 06 635x421

Photos: © 2013 Tony Goldsmith / TGF Photos – All Rights Reserved

Tony Goldsmith is an Isle of Man based freelance motorcycle racing photographer specialising in the Isle of Man TT races. He has also covered selected rounds of the British Superbike Championship and MotoGP. His online archive is available at www.tgfphotos.com and he can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Comment:

  1. KSW says:

    Tony,

    Great to see you at the TT. Wonderful pics and words. I’m thinking the Vintage is calling my name.
    Might see you again soon.

    Cheers,

    Kevin

  2. Gutterslob says:

    Great images, and a wonderful bit of scribing. Thanks for sharing, Mr. Goldsmith.

    I wouldn’t say that equipment is totally irrelevant, though. A Leica digital rangefinder might be the current fad among rich hipsters, but I doubt it’s got the the lens selection capable of consistently capture anything like you’ve got.

    Btw, any images of them bikes exiting the bend at Gorse Lea? Not sure if people are still allowed to camp there after the incident 2 or 3 years ago, but it’s some sight seeing the riders go around that bit of track.

  3. Excellent photos. I never tire of seeing the bikes cresting a hill/bump and seeing the front wheel claw skyward.

  4. It was good to meet you too Kevin and cheers for the kind words. I’m going to miss the Classic TT as I’m off to Brno for the MotoGP, extended 40th birthday celebrations/commiserations.

    Gutterslob – Cheers for the comments and your quite about the equipment. I don’t know if there is camping at Gorse Lea but you can still watch from there. It’s on my list of possible places for next year as I’ve not shot from there before.

    Trane – I’m with you on that one.

  5. And, man, the compression of the suspension in that second pic of McPint with the Dunlop livery is epic. Your eye and timing are wonderful.

  6. Amen to that Tony! It’s most definitely about getting around or having a location where you can cover multiple shots/ideas. This year was only my third TT (both viewing and shooting) so I’m still getting to grips with the races and the unique aspects of covering them.

    I could shoot a BSB weekend with my eyes shut compared to a fortnight at the TT!