Archive for the ‘Motorcycle Events’ Category

For those of you who have been following the MotoGP racing this season, you know what I am talking about. The world elite motorcycle racing category, the MotoGP, sees world’s most gifted motorcycle racers duke it out on circuits on every continent of the globe (well, apart from Africa). And for the first three quarters of the season it was nail biting.

The 2015 MotoGP racers (c) MotoGP

The 2015 MotoGP racers (c) MotoGP

Incredible racing, faster and faster, masterful overtaking and advances in motorcycle technology that could only be dreamed of. And that by some 24 very talented racers. But of the 24, 4 stood out by a great length; 3 Spaniards and 1 Italian. These were quickly dubbed the “Aliens”.

And these 4 have been dominating the sport of a few years, particularly the 9 times world champion and very charismatic Italian; Valentino Rossi. To be 9 times the world champion does say one thing; he knows how to race.

But the other three aren’t slouches; Rossi’s team mate at Yamaha is Jorge Lorenzo, an incredibly talented racers who is currently the fastest man on the fastest bike. But with an attitude and temper to match. On the Honda side are Marc Marquez, the upcoming King of MotoGP, a man who has already proven himself to be incredibly fast but with a bad season behind him. His team mate, Dani Pedrosa, has been very unlucky with several crashes, and has only in the last few races shown that he deserves a spot at the very top.

So far, so good. In all the races leading up to the championship, that is, all but the last 3 races, the battles upfront were epic and heart-stopping. Even people who weren’t into MotoGP racing, or even motorcycle racing in general, had to stop and watch the incredible suspense these 45 minutes of intense racing would bring.

Rossi vs Marquez (c) MotoGP

Rossi vs Marquez (c) MotoGP

But it’s in the last 3 races that things went downhill. And it went downhill in a head-basket. Without going into details, it became a daytime soap opera drama. Where there used to be a lot of respect between the racers, now there was mud slinging, insults and finally physical violence on the track.

The two title contents, Rossi and Lorenzo (remember, they are team mates), were at a few points over each other. And when the other team riders interfered with the race, tempers flared. And when you are riding at 350 kph, you’d better keep your temper in check. But unfortunately, the riders didn’t.

So in the last race of the season, one rider, Rossi, was penalized and sent to the back of the grid, while his team mate and direct competitor Lorenzo was at the very front. An impossible position to be in, but given Rossi’s talent, he managed to crawl back to 4th position but was short 2 positions so he had to forfeit the title.

But the annoying thing were the attitudes of the racers. Where once they were “Supermen”, with talent, good humor & fun, men to be idolized, now the Rossi vs Marquez battle showed that these are mere humans, victims to their own ego and desires. And Lorenzo has the perfect opportunity to stay silent and take the high road, but didn’t, instead jumped up & down, turned blue and almost went off to the corner to sulk. Teenager stuff, not grown men.

The only one of the four that marked his adulthood was Pedrosa who tried to say the right thing and calm everyone down, but it was too far gone (though Pedrosa in former years did have some meltdown episodes of his own with Lorenzo, so much so that the King of Spain had to intervene). But at least he kept out of the fray, which was a good thing.

So now we have a newly crowned world champ, Jorge Lorenzo, who arguably is one of the best racers, but with a title that will always be put into question, as will future titles. Now, when someone wins, you’ll be asking yourself whether they got the win by themselves, or if they were helped by other racers. What was at play: Talent? Politics? Ego? Financial? Pride? If it’s only talent, that’s great, but all the other issues should be left at their motorhomes.

And the idols are no longer idolized; they are just very talented human beings with several faults; just like normal human beings..

And in all the drama, one man who deserved much more attention was the American Nicky Hayden who raced his last MotoGP race. What a pity he didn’t get the media attention he deserved, but everyone was turned to the free-for-all fight up front and forgot about the other racers.

For me, the fun is out of this kind of high level, high stakes, motorcycle racing. I think I’ll go looking for a less drama sport; maybe chess or checker world championships.

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Sturgis Main Street (c) Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Sturgis Main Street (c) Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The famous and world’s biggest motorcycle event, Sturgis, is celebrating 75 years. The iconic event is not 75 years old, but 75 years young, since younger and younger bikers attend the rally and subsequent parties.

3rd, even 4th generations of bikers have attended, or will be attending the gathering. Grand parent, parents, children and even grand children have been here, so we’ll maybe see 5th generation bikers attend the 75 year celebrations.

Officially the events start on July 30th, ending on the 15th of August, but already on the 28th you ‘ll find activities at the Buffalo Chip and the following day will see many parties at the main saloons and bars. The rally starts on the 3rd of August, ending on the 9th.

Because the magic number “75”, a vast number of bikers and fans are expected this year, with many campings and hotels already showing the “full” sign. But with a little bit of luck, you might find a space to squeeze into.

Needless to say, a ton of music groups will be playing all over Sturgis, too many to list here. Click here to see all events in Sturgis, listed by date. Of course Buffalo Chip have their own thing going, with some rock legends like Alice Cooper and Nazareth playing. Click here to see their schedules.

Remember, if you are riding to Sturgis, pack your motorcycle smartly, and for sure, ride safely. Better arrive a bit late, then never. Below you’ll find a few links to articles we’ve written about riding safely.

Enjoy if you are attending.

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The Wiktionary (link) defines a “Bucket List” as “A list of things to accomplish before one’s death”, and it first became a public occurrence in Justin Zackham’s screenplay for the 2007 movie “The Bucket List”.

In other words, things you want to do, things you want to see before you kick the bucket. Many people have bucket lists, and it wouldn’t surprise you to know that many of them are motorcyclists, and their bucket list is centered around motorcycles.

Personally, I have one, and I have been crossing off items every year. What’s left is attainable, but it will take time. Here are a few of the items on my list:

  • Attend Sturgis

    Sturgis Main Street (c) Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

    Sturgis Main Street (c) Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

  • Ride Paris to Cape Town (though that is becoming more and more difficult)
  • Ride Deadman Valley
  • Ride in Alaska (not necessarily in the winter)
  • Attend the Isle of Man TT race
  • Go to the original Ace Cafe in London
  • Ride Route 66
  • Cross Australia on a motorcycle
  • Cross Scotland on a motorcycle
  • Attend the Baja 1000 race
  • Follow Che Guevara’s ride through South America
  • Ride as pillion on the Ducati MotoGP bike with Randy Mamola

Some of the items I have crossed from my list are:

  • Ride the Dolomites/Alps (1999, 2002, 2003)



  • Go to a MotoGP race (2010 Le Mans, 2013 San Marino)
  • Follow the Dakar race on my motorcycle (2005)
  • Ride the Sahara desert on my motorcycle (2005)
  • Ride from the top of Chile to the bottom of Chile (1978)
  • Ride an electric motorcycle (2013)
  • Visit world’s biggest motorcycle exhibition, Milan’s Eicma (2013)
  • Go to the 24 Hours of Le Mans motorcycle race (2009)

As you can see, my (motorcycle) items on the list are becoming less and less. It’s interesting to see that once you have a list, you can actually work towards doing as many as you can; in a “if it’s written down, it gets done” theory.

Have you got a bucket list? And if you do, are you striving towards doing as many as you can?

Let us know what you bucket list contains. I’d really like to know. Obviously the items should be feasible, not like “race Valentino Rossi”.

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Next week, 6th of November, world’s biggest motorcycle exhibition in terms of exhibition space, visitors and stands opens its doors to the general public in Milan, Italy. This gigantic exhibition area is located just outside Milan, and consists of 16 enormous halls (although only half are in use for the expo). This year, they are celebrating 100 years of exhibitions in Milan’s Eicma.


As usual, this annual event has become the mecca for motorcycle riders, owners, manufacturers and lovers. It’s the annual pilgrimage for anyone working or associated with the motorcycle industry.

And as usual, there will be a plethora of new motorcycles and scooters presented, as if the new ones presented only a month ago at the German Intermot exhibition weren’t enough. We know that there will be a lot of new bikes (BMW, Honda, Triumph, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki, Energica, Piaggio, Matchless, Kymco, Husqvarna, Bimota, Harley-Davidson and Sym all have scheduled press conferences), but we also know that there will be a lot of accessories launched; helmets, jackets, gloves, boots, safety equipment…. the list is very long.

Since we will be there to cover the two press days (4 and 5 November), instead of just telling you some of the new stuff, let’s try something new:

How about you tell us which of our stocked brands you want us to look at closer? Just put in a comment of the brand, and we’ll hike on up to their booth and find out what’s new. How about that?

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Often people think what can they do to extend their motorcycle riding fun. Just going for senseless rides is not the way to go. Group rides are fine, but what about volunteering for one of the many local sports events.

Many sports events, like bicycles, marathon, triathlon and other road races require escorts (the motorcycle kind – wink wink), often by motorcycles. The escort duty can be marshaling, in other words having an “official” as pillion who has to ensure that no one cheats and that all rules are respected, or to ride around with a press photographer as pillion, or just as safety motorcycle, making sure that all participants can race in safety.

It’s great fun, and you are actually in the middle of the sports event. A bit like being able to run around the football field during the Superbowl.

But riding your motorcycle in a sports event does require a certain ability and experience. You’ll need to be able to ride real slowly, since often the race participants will be slow (like running), or even when it’s a bicycle race, imagine riding up a steep mountain following a cyclist. You’ll be doing only several miles per hour with a pillion sitting behind you moving around to take photos.

And when you’re not going very slow, you’re going very fast, for example, when following cyclist going down a mountain. Bicycles can go around those corners often faster than motorcycles, so you’ll need all your wits and abilities to do the same, but in this case having a 6.4” 300 pounds gorilla sitting behind you shifting around.

You also need to keep in control of your motorcycle, since often you’ll be inches away from the race participants who are jockeying to get into a better position.

But despite the challenges, it’s fun to ride as an escort service for race events. It gives a feeling of accomplishment; 1) from helping people compete in a sports event and 2) for riding your motorcycle for a good reason.

To find out where you can volunteer for escort duty, check your local bicycle race or running organizations. They usually subcontract to a local group that escorts their races. Or you can check with the Purple Wing organization in the USA who organize many race escorts. There’s a calendar of events on their site, so you can quickly see which races are of interest to you.


Do make sure that the organization you select will evaluate you, or even train you for the event, and always ask what the insurance issues are. Usually the organization is insured in case of an accident. If not, check your insurer if you are insured. Imagine the financial consequences of crashing into participants, with a TV camera operator with full $100,000 equipment sitting behind you.

Make sure that the organization will give you the appropriate clothing, like safety-vests.

Also make sure your bike is appropriate for escorting events. For example, they’ll never accept a motorcycle with loud pipes (for obvious reasons).

Who knows, maybe you’ll become a professional, escorting races like the Tour de France bicycle race?

Click here to access the Purple Wing web site.

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Most people when they go for a motorcycle ride end up doing 100 miles or so. Usually they commute or do day trips, traveling to a destination within a day’s reach and back. Some bikers can’t get enough saddle time, while adventure riders can go hours and many miles, often visiting foreign places.

The group of fanatics who love extreme long distances have been well documented, the Iron Butt Riders. They can go for some 1000 to 1500 miles in one day, which if you think about it, is phenomenal. Talk about saddle sore.

But these are not the records. The current Guinness World Record for the longest distance travelled in 24 hours is held by Texan L. Russell “Rusty” Vaughn. Rusty rode his Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide motorcycle during 24 hours for 2,0194 miles (that’s 3,249 kilometers)!

Rusty Vaugh   © Guinness World Records

Rusty Vaugh © Guinness World Records

2,000 miles is enormous, but almost impossible to do on the road (due to speed limitations). That’s why the attempt was performed on the Continental Tire Test Track in Texas.

Source: Guinness World Records

The longest distance on the public roads was not set in North America or Europe, but somewhere you would not expect it, namely in Oman (Middle East). There, Omar Al Mamri and 36 year old biker drove his Honda CBR 1100 from the capital of Oman, Muscat to Salalah, a distance of 640 miles (1031 kilometers) AND BACK. And this road that would not qualify a good rating since it was full of potholes.

This totalized to a trip of 2,062 kilometers (1,281 miles), averaging 94.1 kph. What makes this record even more impressive was that the temperature in the desert was between 42 and 48°C (107 – 118°F).

Source: World Record Academy

And if you are interested in knowing about all those folks who have traveled long distances on their motorcycles, how about the record holder of the longest distance traveled in one trip?

That record is held by Argentinian Emillio Scotto who in one trip took his motorcycle 457,000 miles (735,000 kilometers), traveling around the world, visiting 279 countries. It took him 10 years to do the record breaking trip, and he did it in luxury & style, riding a Honda 1100 Gold Wing.

I have to presume that Emillio didn’t set out one morning to go and buy a packet of cigarettes, returning 10 years later. During the trip (he left with only $300 in his pocket), he went through 13 big sized (64 page) passports, used up 12,500 gallons of fuel and 86 tires.

Source: Guinness World Records

So next time you go out on your motorcycle and think that the 300 miles you have traveled was much, think again.

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We’re right in the middle of world’s biggest and greatest race, one of the toughest rallies known to mankind. We’re talking about the famous, or should I same notorious, Dakar rally.

Back in 1978, Frenchman Thierry Sabine (already know for organizing the wacky Le Touquet beach race) got lost in the Libyan desert on his motorcycle while racing in the Abidjan-Nice rally. He spent many days & nights digging himself out of the sand, and thought this could be a great idea for a motorcycle race. So next year he organized a race for his friends, all amateurs, to race from Paris to Senegal’s capital, Dakar.

Trucks were required to give assistance to the weary riders, and cars also entered the rally. A legend was born, the Paris-Dakar rally.

Although even today the majority of races have finished in Dakar, it wasn’t always the route Paris to Dakar. The last time Paris was used as departure was in 2001, and even before that, 3 times Paris was avoided. The reason for that was simple; weather. The Dakar rally starts in January, and often it snows at that time in France.

The routes were different each year, and eventually Dakar was left out of the destination. With more and more terrorist activities taking place in the Northern part of Africa, eventually in 2009 the organizers, ASO (organizers a.o. of the famous bicycle race the Tour de France), decided to move the race to South America, where it is still being held today.

Cyril Depres in the 2012 Dakar

Cyril Depres in the 2012 Dakar

The motorcycle portion of the race (the rally is divided into cars, quad, trucks and motorcycles) generates the most interest from the public. And there’s a good reason for it; the efforts required to ride a motorcycle through deep sand, dunes, mountains, plaines and the feared fesh-fesh (a thin ash), often for hours on end, are practically inhuman. Riders at times don’t get to see their beds (which are small pup-tents) for days, requiring major physical efforts to dig out their bikes from the sand, repair & maintain and provide their own assistance. And all that while high speed cars and trucks blast past them, often missing them by a hair (and sometimes they do crash with deadly results – 62 people have died in the Dakar, but not all in the race, sometimes in “normal” traffic accidents).

The dream of most is just to finish the race and arrive at the final destination in one piece. Forget about winning the race, that’s left to super professionals like Cyril Despres, Marc Coma and a few others. Usually more than 50% of the entered bikes don’t arrive at their destination, some even ending their dreams in the first day.

The professionals, all riding for manufacturers’ teams, require big budgets to win. Millions are spent on the race, since it’s a showcase for the motorcycle manufacturer if they win world’s toughest race.



Since 2001, Austrian manufacturer KTM has won every single race. Before that, the bikes that won most races were BMW, Honda and Yamaha. But all sorts of bikes have entered the race, Moto Guzzi, Cagiva and even a Vespa scooter.

Entering the race, even as an amateur costs a lot of money, so much that some have even mortgaged their homes to be able to race. ASO figure that you need a budget of €75,000 to race as amateur.

Alpinestars Tech 8   Gaerne Balance   Tourmaster synergy

Stephane Peterhansel is by far the racer with the most victories. He won the race on a Yamaha motorcycle 6 times, and then went racing in a car, winning the Dakar 4 times. It shows how tough the race is for motorcycles, since several motorcycle winners have gone to race cars in the Dakar.

Thierry Sabine had a slogan for his race, a slogan is means something to competitors and spectators alike: “A challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind.”.

Unfortunately, Thierry Sabine died in a helicopter crash during the 1986 rally. Today, the legend still lives, and millions (according to ASO statistics, 1 billion people will have seen images of the race each year) enjoy and dream of this race.

Will you be one of the next competitors?

Alpinestars Tech 8

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