Cobra Motorcycles president Sean Hilier was on the Rush Limbaugh program yesterday, to discuss the notorious Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) and its devastating effect on his company.

I didn’t hear the show but you can read the transcript here. According to Hillier, Cobra employs fewer than 50 people, but there are about 100 companies around the country that depend on Cobra for business (probably contractors for the manufacturing of various parts.)

Hillier also noted that when similar, game-changing legislation hit the auto industry back in the 1980s the industry had years to react and re-engineer. The CPSIA was passed in August of 2008 and put into law six months later. With catastrophic effects.

This is not the last we have heard about this law. This is another fine example of people who don’t know what their doing, passing a law on a topic they don’t know anything about, with absolutely no consideration for its consequences. This is what happens when government “works”.

Time for a rant. I fully grasp the need to placate sponsors. I know they pay the bills. I know that teams and events can’t survive without them. I know we love them. But please, can we stop rewriting history every time a title sponsor changes?

Ricky Carmichael is not a 5-time winner of the Daytona Supercross by Honda (well, maybe Honda actually was the title sponsor every year the GOAT won, but that’s not my point.) Jeremy McGrath is not a 7-time Monster Energy Supercross champion. Mr Daytona Scott Russell is not a 5-time winner of the Daytona 200 by Honda.

I am sick and tired of reading that every past champion won some event sponsored by this or that company or product. It completely destroys continuity and rewrites history. Scott Russell won the Daytona-freakin-200. Not the 200 by Honda or Yamaha or whoever the color of the month is. Monster Energy didn’t even exist when Showtime was racing and he damn sure never won a Monster Energy Supercross title.

I know most of this crap comes from lame-brain PR people who’s only job is to shill for one company or another. And I know the bosses love to see the sponsor’s name in every piece of crap that goes out the door.

But can we at least pretend that we have a modicum of respect here. Can we at least make believe that there is something more important about the history of event than just today’s title sponsor? I throw up in my mouth a little bit every time I read that junk.

Tonight’s show on Pit Pass was good. Good interviews, especially if you’re interested in industry stuff like I am. Important note: The crew mentioned that their email has been broken and they were not aware of the problem. So they asked that any listener who has emailed the show and not received a response to please send it again.

One thing that caught my attention was a brief mention from Tony Wenck as the second hour began about the FIM MX1 World Championship being shortened (again) with the postponement of the planned USGP round. I usually check the site a couple of times a week, but had not heard this yet. This cancellation comes on the heels of the cancellation of the South African round due to financial difficulties.

What Tony talked about, and what I want to discuss, is the overall trend of downsizing in industry, what it means, and what we should expect. There were 40,000 layoffs in the US this week as US companies cut back. That sounds devastating, and it is if you’re one of the 40,000.

What we have to remember is that business is cyclical. Companies that are flush with cash, booming with business, and running as fast as they can — which is what many US companies were doing between 2004 and 2007 — wake up one day and realize they’ve made a mistake (or several.)

They’ve hired too many people, taken on too many new product lines, acquired too many companies, or expanded too fast. Often the easiest way to solve a problem when you’re growing is to throw more people at it. Unfortunately, this is not the most efficient way, and often far from the best way, to solve a problem. As long as things are great everyone ignores it. But when things get tight it’s time for everyone to readjust to reality.

This readjustment process is what politicians call a recession. It’s when everybody backs up, re-evaluates what’s important, what works, and what doesn’t. Ultimately, the smart companies come out better than they were. They focus on where the money comes from, and they dump, at least for a time, the arrogance that makes them think they are infallible. The market speaks very loudly in a recession. That’s good. It hurts for a while. That’s bad.

The motorcycle industry has a lot of smart, resourceful, entrepreneurial people. These people will find new markets, lean out their business, improve customer service, and find ways to grow. They won’t be swayed by scare stories on the news every night. They’ll keep working and learning and adapting.

In a year or two we’ll look back and see the industry stronger as a result of the current problems. The motorcycle is a great way to forget your problems for a while. It’s a great way to save on gas. And it’s a great hobby for families and friends. Just hang in there. It will get better.

Youthstream announces that effective immediately all the users of and can post the contents, including news and photos, to their Facebook friends. Woohoo. has some of the worst, most vapid motocross content on the planet. It’s a veritable black hole (and I don’t care what that moron John Wiley Price says, that’s not a racist statement) of useful news and comment.

Bah. Humbug.

Dave Despain is one of my favorite sportscasters. He’s sort of a “professor” of motorsports and covers a little bit of everything — even though everything these days is about 90% NASCAR.

This little video has been around since 2006, but I just found it. It’s hilarious, and was no doubt quite cathartic for Dave. I’m sure his call screeners purposefully select the biggest train wrecks for the show but still, it has to be tough to listen to some of the crap he hears week after week after week.

Even if you’ve seen this before, it’s worth watching again. Don’t we all wish we could do this.

Motocross MX1 is publishing a short series of articles on the History of World Motocross Championship. Part 1 of the series is up now. Parts 2-4 will be published in the next few weeks.

If they are as poor as Part 1 there isn’t much point in reading them. Not much history here — there are about 5 2-sentence paragraphs to cover the period from 1957-1972. Bummer.

After more than a year’s wait, middle-aged motocross fans everywhere will be pleased to know that new episodes of The Motocross Files will begin airing this month on SPEED TV.

The first episode will be David Bailey, airing on Nov. 16 at 6:00PM ET, followed by Gary Jones. The Mark Barnett episode will air Nov. 23 at 6:00PM ET.

For more info see SPEED TV.

mediazone_noticeLast week I got email notification that MediaZone is closing their Moto Channel. This is a big disappointment to me, as I just signed up for a 1-year subscription when I watched the MXdN on live video.

MediaZone will refund my subscription fee on a pro-rated basis, but the money isn’t really the problem. I’m disappointed that what seemed to be a really good service for catching all the GPs has gone by the wayside.

I don’t know anything about what motivated the closure, and the email gave no reason. But if you read my post on The right broadcast model for motocross you know I think full length video on the web is the right way forward for MX.

I suspect MediaZone lost their agreement with YouthStream, or the licensing fees went way up, or maybe there just weren’t enough subscribers to pay the fees. I don’t know. But I do know it’s a loss.

Over on Eternal Two Stroke Derrick Harris is talking about the same topic in his post Which “M” is in?. Derrick points to this cool video highlight site for Australian Supercross.

Personally, I’m not happy with highlights. I want full race coverage. If not live, at least same day. And I’m willing to pay for it. Hopefully, MX Sports will be able to negotiate something along those lines in the near future. For now, we’ll have to get by on the oddly structured SPEED TV coverage.

In today’s Racerhead column Davey Combs announced a press conference to be held tomorrow morning at the MGM Grand Hotel. Coombs will announce some of MX Sports’ plans for the 2009 Pro MX season. There have been a lot of discomfiting rumors flying about. Many sound far-fetched, to me. But you never know. Hopefully we’ll get answers that put the worst of them to bed.