georgesjobe

motoverte.com is reporting that 5-time FIM MX World Champion Georges Jobe was seriously injured during a ride with friends in Dubai. According to Belgian newspaper reports Jobe suffered a spinal cord injury that has left him with weakness on his right side. Our wishes for a positive diagnosis and full recovery go out to the former champion. [Found via mototalk forum]

279194732_5139fe8f73_mThis is the other side of my motorcycling life – my Moto Guzzi Breva 750. This picture is from about a year ago, as I got ready to ride over to the 2006 Barber Vintage Festival for the weekend. You can see the Guzzi is an air-cooled 90° V-twin. I love them. They sound different than Harleys. Very cool. The big ones sound excellent. Anyway, I was looking at it in the garage this morning as I came back from putting out the trash with frost all over the ground. It was about 28° here. That’s frigid for the South – and I don’t ride when it’s frigid. I’m ready for spring already. You can see my 380 Chay-Zed disassembled over my left shoulder. I’m ashamed to say, it’s still like that. Damn, that’s awful. I’ve got to fix that this winter.

Here’s an announcement on Cycle News about the Red Bull Experiment, live from Las Vegas (where else?) on New Year’s Eve. Sounds like quite a party, but just maybe things are getting a little out of hand. Well-known 4-wheel racer Rhys Millen plans to backflip an offroad truck:

Then Robbie Madison plans to attempt a new motorcycle jump distance record of over 300 feet. Well, been there, done that.

It’s time for a site update. I’ve been working on this site for a few weeks now and I’ve got it about 85% complete. There are a few things that still don’t work, but I’ve picked up a few readers despite not having announced it or publicized it in any way. So I need to say something about what works, what doesn’t, and when it will.

What Works

  • The site search (via google) works just fine. I’ve been backfilling with previously written content since I started working on the site in early November so that google could get it spidered. The AdSense ads also help.
  • The Index of messages is also working. This lists every topic on the site in order of recent activity. I cleaned it up a bit today and cleared out some of the detritus from early development. If you’re looking for something specific that’s one place to start.
  • The RSS feed and e-mail subscriptions (via FeedBurner) are working. Both are ways to get regular updates from the site without having to visit the web page.

What’s Not Working

  • The commenting system isn’t working yet. Well, it’s working but the forms you use to enter comments and messages are not finished so it’s hard to see what you’re doing. Sorry about that. Despite this little inconvenience I’ve still had a couple of people post comments. Thanks. It will get easier soon. Also, there’s currently no way to view the original post plus the comments (the message thread) together. That’s another template I need to complete.
  • I haven’t completed much of the supplemental content – like the About, Help, Contact, or Policy pages etc. While this stuff is necessary I am focusing on the big things first. I’ll get to these after the forms and templates and comments system are finished.
  • There’s a lot of dress up to be completed yet, but it’s getting there. I hope to have all the big things finished by the end of the year.

I was discussing all the turmoil at the AMA today with a friend, who asked me, “So what do you think about all this? Is Dingman going to make it better?”

Quite simply, I don’t know. Sweeping out all the old creates the potential for rapid, positive change. It creates equal potential for rapid, negative change. That Dingman is creating potential is good. That’s as far as I will go.

My objectives for an organization that represents me (AMA or otherwise) are pretty specific and have nothing to do with racing, bike rallys, magazines, or camping discounts. Here’s a few things I want:

  • An organization that takes my concerns as a dirt bike rider, living somewhere other than southern California or the Northeast, seriously.
  • An aggressive, activist approach to fighting land closures and other offroad-hostile legislation.
  • Some of the dollars taken from me and my buddies via dues aimed directly at Congress.
  • An internet-centric organization that makes it easy and brain-dead simple to engage in activism, ala Downsize DC and MoveOn.org
  • Strong guidance and leadership programs for political action against land closures, bad laws, etc.

This is just off the top of my head. But so far I haven’t seen anything that clarifies how these things fit the new AMA agenda.

no_amaBoy, things got pretty heated over the AMA firings last week. Cycle News reports on two separate, strongly-worded letters from interested parties. The first, from former AMA president Ed Youngblood (read the entire letter here) indicates Ed is really pissed:

[…]

In my opinion, the current regime is monstrous, and I am simply dumbfounded that the AMA Board of Directors seems tolerant of this style of management, if not complicit. It has caused me great pain to watch the deterioration of the AMA, but I expect my unhappiness is nothing compared to that of the employees, volunteers, and supporters who have been directly affected by it. There is very little I can do about this situation except cease to be a party to it in any direct or indirect way.

[…]

The second letter, from AMA Superbike Media Manager Larry Lawrence, says AMA personnel are in “open revolt” (read the entire letter here):

[…]

I, along with many others inside the AMA, are not pleased at all with the atmosphere of fear Dingman has created among the loyal and hard-working AMA staff. My friends at the AMA, who’ve I’ve known and worked with for years, are afraid to talk to anyone about what’s going on. The threat of being fired is apparently being held over everyone’s head. There seems to be no dissenting opinion allowed from Dingmans’ company line. Some even fear their email and voice mails are being monitored and the leadership has done nothing to fight that impression.

My dealings with Dingman have been few. We met for the first time at Laguna Seca during the MotoGP weekend. He sent me an email asking what I thought of the new vision for the AMA. I thought it a little strange that he would ask my opinion after the new vision had already been announced. Perhaps he could have asked me beforehand so he might have been able to take differing points of view into account.

Instead of truly wanting my opinion, I took it to be an effort to find if I was loyal or not to his vision.

You may be thinking this sounds like open revolt of AMA personnel against its own leadership. You would be correct in that assumption.

[…]

This is some serious pisstivity.I have no idea where Dingman is going with the new vision. The AMA is badly broken and needs fixing. Whether Dingman’s vision of what’s broke, and how to fix it, align with my own is far from clear. But here’s the three things I do know from having been party to this kind of thing many, many times:

  • the AMA is a business and it’s broken. When someone new is brought in to fix a broken business the first thing that happens is a house cleaning.
  • People who have done a good job in the past often get cut in the house cleaning because they don’t fit. In fact, it’s often because they have been so good at the past they can’t let go of it. The new regime needs to reduce friction going forward. You can’t be constantly justifying yourself against the past, with old-timers continually arguing every move. You can’t drag people along. It just sucks too much energy.
  • The process of cutting people is ugly – especially if they have been good and loyal employees – and no one ever gets it right. It’s the worst job in the world. But it happens every day.

The big question for me is quite simple — Who is Rob Dingman’s AMA going to represent, the riders or the industry? Because we are not the same, and the AMA of the past has not done the riders many favors. Many of the staff and Directors have been there for years, some for decades. Former AMA Chairman Dal Smilie left last month, after more than 25 years. These people need to go, and more need to follow. If they had the answers we would already be enjoying them. The organization, or institution or whatever you want to call it, has not served us the way it should have and the people who have been running the AMA are responsible.

Having said that, I don’t mean to be disrespectful of those who have worked hard and it sounds as if these firings were handled very, very badly. That’s not a good sign. But the AMA has not done much of anything for me personally, or the broader dirt bike community in the South, Southeast, or Southwest ever. And I want that changed. I want the focus to be entirely different than what it was. I want the organization to do things that support us more effectively. Will the replacements serve us any better? I have no idea. We need to watch carefully for signs of what Dingman is really up to. If it’s not to fully and completely serve the riders in both legislative and commercial domains we need to pull our support and go elsewhere.

147324829_c672f7b755_mThis is a product I’ve used in my shop for over a year. It works really well with ca 1969-1975 CZ motors. From what I can tell it will work with almost any vintage single – two-stroke or four-stroke. It’s highly adjustable, easy to use, and Mike Kincaid over at Rampant Racing is a great guy.

When you buy a lot of products over the internet, sight-unseen as I often do, you never know what’s going to show up at your door. Often it’s a decent product taped into a shoebox or grocery bag or somesuch. Mike doesn’t deliver that kind of nonsense. The Rampant Racing stand came fully broken down and fixed in a custom wooden shipping fixture. It was the best-engineered shipping container I’ve seen and made sure that everything arrived in order and undamaged no matter what the chimpanzees at the freight company did.

That might seem silly, but a guy who puts that kind of thought into how to package his product isn’t going to make a cheesy product to go in it. You can bet the engine stand is first-rate — solid engineering, excellent manufacturing quality, nice finish, and easy assembly. If you work on engines out of the frame this is a tool you wqant under your Christmas tree.

2cz_logos_smallNote: These links point to an old server. I haven’t uploaded the files and fixed the links yet. If you want these just contact me and I’ll send them to you.

One of the things that always bugs me is not being able to get decent logo images for the old vintage bike brands. If I want to make some kind of graphic or flyer or use it on the web I have to scrounge the internet and try to find something. And usually it’s a crappy scan of some old sticker or magazine ad, or old race flyer. I can’t fix that for everything, but I can fix it for a couple of things. I had my friends at Practicalia LLC recreate a couple of CZ logos in a vector format so I could use them at any size I want.

First is the very nice red/blue/black Jawa-CZ “Choice of Champions” logo. I really like this one because you don’t see it very often. A while back CZ Guy was nice enough to send me a scan of an original Choice of Champions sticker to use as a pattern. Next is the more traditional black/red round CZ logo. This is the one you most often see on jerseys from Bertus and Metro Racing. I’ll try and get the early CZ tank badge logo next and post it here, too. In the meantime, here’s the two I have in a variety of formats:

Just right-click and “Save Link As…” on the file format you want.

leticia-cline-070509-smallI’m catching up on stuff from around the world of MX/SX today, after a few hard weeks of business travel. Ran across this post regarding SX chic extraordinarie Leticia Cline over at Blogandt. It’s a week old and not really news anymore, but it’s kinda funny. The upshot is Ms. Leticia – Playboy bunny, SX 30-second girl, RacerX Motocross Show cohost, etc. – appeared on Howard Stern. The folks at GNCC, who were considering using Leticia as part of their ’08 marketing campaign, decided to use someone else. Leticia’s appearance on Stern was a factor (probably not the only factor) in the decision. Barage of hateful e-mail ensues from Stern fans blasting the GNCC.

My opinion: Leticia is a professional hottie. We like hotties. Hotties and motorcycles are as inseparable as rock stars and genital herpes. But motorcycling is a family sport, right? That’s what we all say – great fun for the whole family. You meet the nicest people on a Honda. Yada yada yada. Hotties. Family. Hmm…

GNCC is entitled to pick whoever they want to promote their series. People get chosen, or not, for all kinds of reasons. And professional sports organizations have all kinds of behavior and morals clauses in their contracts with athletes. But Leticia is on the fast path for professional hotties. That path is inherently in conflict with the family-first image we often want to promote. So what do we do? These are really muddy waters…