Photos from 250+ Feet up COTA’s Petrolsaurus Rex

Standing 251 feet above Turns 16, 17, & 18, the COTA observation tower provides a bird’s eye view of just about every tun on the circuit, if you can stomach its subtle sway in the wind and clear-glass floor at the precipice. Officially called by COTA as the “Observation Tower” – it really needs a better name for casual conversation. We’ve heard COTA Cobra used a few times with some lovely alliteration, but the structure has always struck us as less snake-like, and more like a big dinosaur — we’re going to use the name “Petrolsaurus Rex” until I hear something better, or COTA sends me a cease and desist order. I climbed to the top of Petrolsaurus Rex (read: took the elevator) during the MotoGP Warm-Up session, and snapped a few photos in the process. Enjoy!

MV Agusta F3 800 Ago Now Officially Debuts

We already announced the bike last November, and brought you a bevy of hi-res images of the special edition machine. Although now that we think of it, MV Agusta never released anything on this Giacomo Agostini tribute motorcycle — better late than never, right? Back at the EICMA show launch, where the MV Agusta F3 800 Ago was first shown to the public (and Agostini himself), the Varese brand promised us two additional motorcycle launches in early 2014. MV Agsuta made good on half that promise with the Dragster 800 model, hopefully this Ago special edition isn’t the other half of that statement, and MV Agusta still has something waiting in the wings. That being said, the Tricolore & Gold paint scheme is gorgeous, and looks even better in person.

Isle of Man TT Gets TV Deal for Australia & USA

Want to watch the Isle of Man TT from the comfort of your non-British TV, but haven’t been able to in the past? A new TV from the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development will do just that. Inking a new TV contract with North One TV, the Isle of Man TT will be televised in the American, Australian, and of course British markets, making it easier than ever to watch the iconic road race. With a five-year contract with the Velocity Channel in the US, the American cable channel will show seven one-hour race shows. Each segment will air within 24hrs of each race, and be tailored for the American market.

Castiglioni Denies Fiat Buyout of MV Agusta Is in the Works

After reporting 22% growth in Q1 2014, Giovanni Castiglioni had some closing words about the rumors that Fiat could acquire MV Agusta — a popular rumor that has been swirling around in the press the last two months. Denying outright that MV Agusta had, or was in, talks with the Fiat-Chrysler group about an acquisition (some reports linked even MV Agusta to being bought by Fiat-owned Ferrari), Castiglioni said the Italian company solely was focused on building growth, and building motorcycles. “Moreover, I’d like to take this opportunity to deny rumours circulated by the media over the last few days concerning supposed negotiations vis-à-vis the sale of a share of MV Agusta to the Fiat-Chrysler Group,” said Giovanni Castiglioni, the President and CEO of MV Agusta.

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.

TTXGP Crowdsources the 2011 Rule Book

01/11/2010 @ 1:57 pm, by Jensen Beeler15 COMMENTS

TTXGP Crowdsources the 2011 Rule Book Brammo Enertia Racing IOM 560x420

TTXGP will be getting an added layer of transparency for 2011, as the Azhar “The Czar” Hussain has put his electric motorcycle racing series rule book up in wiki form, and invited competitors and experts to make, modify, and discuss the regulations that TTXGP competitors will have to adhere to in 2011. Acting as arbitrator and moderator over the wiki is lawyer Harry Mallin, which electric motorcycle fans might know better as Brammofan.

The move to open up and gather input from external sources is a big step for motorcycle racing, and rule making in general. In theory, TTXGP should be able to weigh and balance interests more effectively with a crowdsource writing method. The Czar is critical of the traditional manner in which rules are concocted in closed-door sessions by regulatory bodies (namely the FIM), and then pushed onto competitors with varying degrees of modest feedback.

Besides opening up the rule book, for TTXGP crowdsourcing comes with two distinct advantages. For starters it allows the small organization to focus its limited resources into other areas of the racing series, such as promotion, sponsorship, media, etc. Secondly, it help alleviate growing conflict of interest allegations, which were first brought up here on A&R, and later picked up by the FIM in its negotiations with TTXGP.

Having a rule book that presumably every competitor, supplier, and even fan could contribute to and discuss idea removes perceptions of impropriety in the regulations’s construction. With so many interests and perspectives able to join the discussion on electric motorcycle racing, TTXGP ensures not only that a 360º perspective is added to its rule construction, but also that the series will be able to keep pace with the rapidly changing industry and its technology.

Despite these advantages, the devil is in the details when it comes to implementing a crowdsourcing schema. TTXGP will leave the its wiki open until sometime in August, where it will then sift through the contributions. The finalized rule book will be released in Ocotber at the TTXGP finale in Spain. Hussain has indicated that not every suggestion is going to make it into the rules, and submissions will be initially moderated by Harry Mallin (aka Brammofan).

When he’s not blogging about the Brammo Enertia, Mallin serves as an Assistant Regional Counsel for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mallin holds a Juris Doctor from The University of Kansas School of Law, and has been active in the electric motorcycle world with his writings. As a lawyer and writer, he makes for an ideal candidate for this chosen role, as a logically and clerically skilled eye will be required to make sense out of competing ideas. However in his selection of Mallin, Hussain again makes the error of mudding the TTXGP waters, and dilutes some of the power found in a crowdsourcing methodology.

Mallin has ties to Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher, and is an adamant fan of the Brammo powercycle. While Mallin’s role as moderator seems to be rooted mostly in weeding out spam, proofing, and other clerical duties, his unofficial involvement with Brammo could be of issue when heated discussions break out during the rule making process.

It should be noted that Brammo has not committed to racing in TTXGP racing series at this point in time.

Source: TTXGP via Ivar Kvadsheim

Comment:

  1. John Adamo says:

    A&R analysis of the 2011 TTXGP rule wiki. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: TTXGP Crowdsources the 2011 Rule Book – http://bit.ly/7vWVeA #motorcycle

  2. TTXGP Crowdsources the 2011 Rule Book http://bit.ly/5ut0Gb

  3. iron_cahoonas says:

    Czar is now a tag. Cool.

    ooh yeah, crowd sourcing thing is neat, but the world is full of idiots. Good luck.

  4. Brammofan says:

    Don’t I know it, @iron_cahoonas. Thanks for the good luck wishes, though.

  5. RT @skadamo: A&R analysis of the 2011 TTXGP rule wiki. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: TTXGP Crowdsources the 2011 Rule Book – http://bit.ly/7vWVeA

  6. Hurm, I wonder if you’re pressing a mite too hard on this button. It’s probably useful that you are questioning the potential for conflict of interest. There’s also potential to focus so much on this potential that you see conflict of interest where there is none.

  7. Quite right David, but I’d rather press too hard than too soft on something like this. Knowing Harry, I’m sure he will be fair and balanced in his role as wiki moderator.

    However, I think anyone covering this sector would be remiss in not questioning a racing body that is appointing someone for a job that is supposed to be neutral to all parties, when that appointee has close connections to a likely racing participant, and has expressed fandom (a little punning here) for that company.

  8. TTXGP Crowdsources the 2011 Rule Book – http://bit.ly/7vWVeA #motorcycle

  9. iron_cahoonas says:

    Some background

    http://www.egrandprix.com/news.php?id=49

    @Brammofan. Are you expressing fandom? How can you live with yourself being lord of the ring and expressing fandom?

  10. Brammofan says:

    It must be a typo. I told my wife I was “lord of the ring” and she informed me that I wasn’t even the “deputy of the remote control.”

  11. skadamo says:

    Yeah, Harry has shown love for electric motorcycles in general and never bad mouths non-Brammo’s. I think he is a good pick for the job. It’s a great evolution for Harry too. He has received checks from Brammo but has not financial stake in them. It was only a matter of time before another business looked to him for his skills and the Czar was smart to grab him.

    Beeler, I like the fact that your keeping an eye on things. It will be good for electric long term.

  12. Matthew says:

    Given that the electric motorcycle community is still quite limited, I don’t see how we are going to be able to avoid COIs, especially if we are to consider any connection to more than one body/group/company as a COI. I think the threshold needs to be raised. A&R is starting to come off a little paranoid where this subject is concerned. Just relax a little and let it play out.

  13. @Jensen: I’m on record in my own reporting that there is obviously potential for conflict of interest. It was so obvious that I asked Azhar about it in October during a conversation about the yet-to-be-unveiled Mavizen bike. For myself I’m satisfied with his answer then and since. The fact is the electric motorcycle market is rather small at the moment and there is a strategic need to jumpstart the industry. After thinking about the TTXGP/FIM split I don’t think it arose because of conflict of interest but instead an argument over money.

  14. McCarthy says:

    Jensen, its over. The reds aren’t coming. Up the dosage.

  15. LoJack says:

    This has to be the one of the most exciting ideas I have ever come across in motorsport.
    If it works, it could change everything. If it doesn’t…let’s just make this work.