Davies Takes Pole Position at Monza

chaz_davies_assenThe Yamaha ParkinGo team has taken every pole position so far this season. Luca Scassa took the pole position at the first three rounds of the World Supersport series, but today in Monza it was his teammate Chaz Davies who earned the first spot on the grid.

Davies set a 1’47.809 lap time around the Monza circuit to earn the pole position. Davies, who won his first race of 2011 at the previous World Supersport round in Assen, will start from the front row ahead of Sam Lowes, Broc Parkes, and Fabien Foret.

Scassa, who has won every pole position prior to today’s qualifying, earned a sixth place position behind Roberto Tamburini. Florian Marino and James Ellison will join the two Italians on the second row.

The Yamaha ParkinGo team has won every race of the 2011 World Supersport season so far. Scassa currently leads the series with 50 points. Scassa won the first two races, but a DNF in Assen allowed the rest of the World Supersport class to play catch up.

Broc Parkes is currently in second with 47 points, followed by Davies with 45.

World Supersport Qualifying Results – Monza

  1. Chaz Davies (Yamaha ParkinGO Team) 1’47.809
  2. Sam Lowes (Parkalgar Honda) 1’48.051
  3. Broc Parkes (Kawasaki Motocard.com) 1’48.189
  4. Fabien Foret (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) 1’48.347
  5. Roberto Tamburini (Bike Service R.T.) 1’48.368
  6. Luca Scassa (Yamaha ParkinGO Team) 1’48.468
  7. Florian Marino (Hannspree Ten Kate Honda) 1’48.559
  8. James Ellison (Bogdanka PTR Honda) 1’49.080
  9. Gino Rea (Step Racing Team) 1’49.153
  10. Massimo Roccoli (Lorenzini by Leoni) 1’49.293

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Mongols MC a High-Profile Presence at Laughlin River Run

Mongols5The Mongols Motorcycle Club made an appearance and caused a stir at the 2011 Laughlin River Run. Back in 2002, the Mongols MC clashed with the Hells Angels in violence that rocked the small gambling community on the banks of the Colorado River. That confrontation left two Hells Angels and one Mongol dead.

In my recent trip to the Laughlin River Run for an upcoming AllAboutBikes feature, I was witness to an almost surreal scene as the Mongols once again rolled into town. As a journalist, it pays to be in the right place at the right time.

I was snapping photos of the first night of the Laughlin River Run when dozens of Mongols rumbled into the parking lot of the Aquarius Resort and Casino. As the Mongols arrived sporting the three-piece patches of the California and Nevada chapters, the River Run crowd parted like they were in the presence of rock stars. The mystique is alive and well.

The truly amazing thing was how quickly a heavily armed police presence arrived in the wake of the Mongols’ appearance. Uniformed and body-armored representatives of several local and state agencies pulled into the Aquarius no more than three minutes after the Mongols.

MongolsThere was no mystery as to why the law enforcement presence was there. The police converged immediately on where the Mongols were parking their Harleys. There was clearly some tension; however, the contact seemed courteous and business-like. Soon there were several satellite conversations between small groups of police and Mongols.

As I was snapping photos of the various conversations, a fully body-armored officer approached me to ask what I was doing. I replied that I was just shooting some photos. He told me firmly but politely not to stand behind any of the law enforcement officers. It was very clear that this was a heightened alert situation for the police.

Mongols4After several minutes of activity in the Aquarius parking lot, the Mongols made their way to the casino’s outdoor bar where they spent the next several hours drinking beer, hugging newly arriving members and causing no problems.

When I saw that there didn’t seem to be any more drama. I made my way to the Aquarius elevators to head to my room. Also waiting for an elevator were three armed and vested Las Vegas police officers. They were carrying what looked like rifle cases and communications equipment. I was a little intimidated, but I managed to ask, “Are you expecting trouble this year?” One of the officers replied, “We’re just here to keep the peace.” They then entered a waiting elevator and I entered another.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

BMW Produces its 2 Millionth Motorcycle in Berlin

2_million_bmwBMW’s factory in Berlin has been around since 1969 and the legendary plant has just produced its two millionth motorcycle. BMW celebrated the milestone motorcycle, an R1200GS, with a special ceremony that was attended by Governing Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, and other special guests.

Stunt man Chris Pfeiffer unveiled the R1200GS earlier today to a VIP crowd in Berlin.

“I’m really proud to present the two millionth BMW motorcycle here today. I have a really busy schedule but this kind of thing doesn’t happen every day so I really wanted to be here,” Pfeiffer said.

After the presentation, Pfeiffer took the his BMW F800 R into the parking lot to do a series of burnouts, burning “2,000,000” into the pavement with rubber.

“BMW has always remained loyal to Berlin when others left the city,” said the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit. “Together, BMW and Berlin have been through thick and thin and we will continue to do that successfully. With this generous donation of a special R 1200 GS and its involvement in the ‘be Berlin’ campaign, BMW is supporting our aim to improve Berlin’s perception as an attractive, innovative and future-oriented city.”

In 1969 when the BMW factory opened, the German company produced 12,000 motorcycles. BMW has grown considerably since then, and now produces about 510 motorcycles a day. In 2010, BMW produced 97,076 machines, and the company continues to grow.

“Berlin will remain the heart of BMW’s motorcycle manufacture,” said Hermann Bohrer, Head of the BMW factory in Berlin. “We are investing about 30 million Euros in our factory per annum to continue to be competitive and in front.”

Here’s a video of the celebration at BMW.

[Read more at BMWMOA.com]

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Helmets, Really? Time to Refocus

HelmetWe all know the arguments and the people behind the push both in favor and against mandatory helmet laws for motorcyclists. The interesting play in the political world can be entertaining if it were not for the fact that the consequences are so dire for riders. Democrat or Republican does not make much of a difference – motorcyclists are of every political stripe, the riding binds us, not our voting record.

However, when it comes to the constant push and pull over helmet ordinances around the United States, it seems that many of us will align for one solitary purpose – get rid of them! Fighting for what many call a ‘freedom’ is all fine and good and we have had some success at this in many states, but failures in others. In reality, the laws seem to come and go like a metronome of public opinion in some areas, while they are practically written into the Constitution of other states.

Helmet laws around the U.S.

The problem is that when we motorcyclists become targets of other prejudiced legislation, we don’t seem to get the same group-dynamic energy for the pro-motorcycle legal effort. This must change, if it does not we will begin to become less and less a part of our modern transportation system. The public may suddenly decide that we riders need not use the same roads anymore unless we follow their rules – rules which could seriously limit our sport to the point of choking it off.

It may sound like Cassandra or Chicken Little, but all you must do is look at three current issues as examples to see why this is so important:

  • California, New York City, Denver, and others have all enacted laws which prevent a motorcycle owner from using anything but the very expensive OEM exhaust system – even if you can’t buy one.
  • The recent outlawing of motorcycles built specifically for young riders due to unintended consequences from a new law known as CPSIA, which was meant to protect children.
  • NHTSA offering large grants to police departments for employing motorcycle-only checkpoints in cities all over the nation – simple discrimination.Troy Lee pushes son's new ride at Malcolm Smith's Dealership - Defying CPSIA

Those are only the beginning of what is sure to come in the next few years. This is not an issue about conservative or liberal – it is an issue of education and understanding. Legislators tend to go with the people who pay for their campaigns; when they come across an issue that has no affiliated donor, they usually follow public opinion. Since motorcycle owners (which includes people who rarely ride if ever) make up around 2~3% of Americans at most, we do not have much political impact compared to a group like Wall Street bankers. To get anything done, we need every single rider we can muster to work for our cause.

One important way to get involved is to work with the most powerful bike-focused lobbying group in the world, the American Motorcyclist Association. Or, you may get in touch with and sign up with a local ABATE chapter to support their training efforts (ABATE spends too much time on the helmet issue, but they also support funding for motorcycle safety training and advocate motorcycle awareness for motorists). Just becoming a member of the AMA – for the low, low price of only US$39 per annum – means that you are sending money to an organization which will work tirelessly for your riding rights, and has the organizational structure to keep up the pressure. Join up with one of these groups, both are non-profit, to take the first big step to being a responsible and helpful motorcyclist.

Former Gov Schwarzenegger astride Zero - AMA Motorcyclist of the Year for a bad reason...Another very helpful step would be to become politically active. Even if you have no strong opinions about who should run your state or the nation, you can at least be sure to cast your vote for someone who understands your unique needs as a rider. The AMA can help you with his as well; they produced their first Voter Guide in 2010 and they have a special Action page where any rider can quickly contact their local legislators about issues which matter to riders. ABATE provides differing levels of similar support depending on the state organization. The goal is to let the people who represent you in government know that motorcyclists are Americans too.

Whichever steps you see as a viable and realistic for you, it is important that we start working together on more than the old standard fight about helmet laws. Our world is changing quickly – look at how far motorcycle technology has come in the last decade – and motorcyclists could easily be left behind as the various governments around the nation begin planning for the future of transport without us. Get yourself active, get yourself involved and don’t let the cagers write the rules we who are free must live by!

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Jason DiSalvo Speed Academy

Training at the Jason DiSalvo Speed AcademyTraining at the Jason DiSalvo Speed AcademyThe Jason DiSalvo Speed Academy is a great place to develop motorcycling skills. Founded by Jason DiSalvo, the reigning Daytona 200 champion, his Speed Academy combines cutting edge technology with his extensive experience and applies it all to how you ride your own motorcycle. AllAboutBikes caught up with DiSalvo at the Talladega Grand Prix circuit and we came away with some fantastic video.

Video of AllAboutBikes at the Jason DiSalvo Speed Academy:

Jason DiSalvo’s created his Speed Academy to teach track day enthusiasts how to enhance and improve their riding skills, focus on core track requirements, and benefit from the personal experience of a professional AMA racer and Daytona 200 winner. The Jason DiSalvo Speed Academy also pays particular attention to body positioning, trail braking, lean angle control and how and what the perfect line is for this particular track.

AllAboutBikes had a Triumph Daytona 675R with the full Öhlins suspension for the event and Öhlins technicians were on site to dial in this full production Daytona 675R for this track. Julian Taylor, Editor-in-Chief of AllAboutBikes, was the chief pilot of the Daytona 675R and he was joined by Associate Publisher Scott Betten on a Honda CBR 600 and TJ Rossi and Mark Penn dot Dymski on a pair of Suzuki Gixxers. On hand to help Jason DiSalvo while we were there were Brian Stokes, Kyle Wyman and Garrett Gerloff.

It’s fantastic that the Speed Academy lets you use your own personal motorcycle and the AllAboutBikes staff was able to work closely with Öhlin technicians to get the best possible performance out of their machines. Everyone agreed that the knowledge and instruction provided by Jason DiSalvo and the other instructors is invaluable and the plan is now to expand on that riding instruction and focus on improving lap times.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com