Russ Brown | Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog.+Add.Feed Info1000FOLLOWERS
Riding a motorcycle and insurance claims go hand in hand, and therefore every motorcycle enthusiast is almost certain to face a situation in which he or she would need a really good insurance attorney. The Founder of Russ Brown attorneys is an original motorcycle rider who started this company in 1975 to help fellow bikers.
After the first attempt to convict a Waco defendant ended in mistrial, many wondered what the McLennan County DA’s next move would be. Within days, it was announced that Bandido MC Dallas Chapter President Christopher Jacob Carrizal would be retried in April 2018, despite a deadlocked jury in the first trial that was nowhere close to a guilty verdict. But before Carrizal is retried, another drama is unfolding 1 that could mean the end of the prosecution’s attempts to convict the vast majority of the 154 individuals indicted by grand jury.
The DA’s hopes began to evaporate on January 5th with the refusal of Dallas truck driver George Bergman, a former member of the Desgraciados motorcycle club, to accept a deal that would have meant a dismissal of the first degree felony charge he faces in exchange for a guilty plea to misdemeanor assault and one year deferred probation.2 Bergman’s trial was then postponed after Broden and the DA mutually agreed to a continuance and a new trial date of July 23, 2017. There may be evidence relevant to Twin Peaks revealed in a February federal RICO trial involving members of the Bandidos MC.
Broden Is A Relentless Advocate
Bergman is represented by Dallas attorney Clint Broden, the most active defense attorney in the Twin Peaks proceedings since the event occurred in May 2015. Bergman, with Broden’s more than competent representation, is calling the McLennan County DA’s bluff, and the MPP believes that the majority of these indictments will eventually evaporate as a result. But the process will not be immediate, and in the meantime, an interesting drama will unfold.
Why would Bergman, 50, risk the rest of his life in prison? It’s a fair question. Bergman answers, “I didn’t do anything…. I am not willing to take anything because I didn’t do anything. I came to Waco for a meeting.” But maybe a better question is, “Why would the McLennan County DA offer a plea down to a misdemeanor, with no jail time, after being so insistent on charging 154 people with engaging in organized crime, many merely for their associations?”
The answer is simple.
Carrizal Mistrial & What It Means
The McLennan County DA has a less than a zero chance of convicting Bergman with engaging in organized crime. The Christopher Jacob Carrizal mistrial all but cements that. The DA took its shot and failed miserably. But instead of just dropping charges on the majority of those currently indicted, a guilty plea to at least a misdemeanor is necessary for the DA and law enforcement to defend against civil liability resulting from claims of false arrest and excessive bail.3
It’s really not that complicated. Hundreds of millions of dollars are potentially at stake and the DA will use the threat of life in prison as leverage against such civil liability to the state. The only problem for the DA now is the fact that that leverage has a lot less weight after not even coming close to convicting Carrizal, who admitted under oath to firing a .38 Derringer in self defense. Bergman never engaged anyone, never so much as threw a punch, and immediately found cover when he heard gunshots. He was arrested solely based on his association with a motorcycle club, which, as we all should know, is insufficient probable cause for an arrest under the 4th Amendment.
The vintage bikes and cars started filtering in on Friday night and into early Saturday morning. I could hear car engines roaring and bikes being kicked over before I was even out of bed. There’s something so perfect about vintage cars in front of palm trees and old motorcycles parked around sparkling swimming pools. The contrast of Paradise Road Show hosted at the hip, tropical venue of the Ace hotel in Palm Springs is perfect.
Saturday, January 20th was the launch of the second year of the event. Hosted by LA photographer, Adri Law, the Women’s Moto Exhibit founder, Lanakila MacNaughton and Cycle Zombies team member, Chase Stopnik – The event is a little mix of their personalities. Adri brings her vintage style and old taste in music to play by designing the layout of the event and curating the vibe through the events social media @paradiseroadshow. Lanakila is a business boss, bringing brands in from all over the country to vend which include vintage vendors from around the country, embroidery masters, photobooths and all the motorcycle brands we know and love and Chase collaborates with his friends and community to bring together the best choppers, old bikes and cars that pre-date 1970.
The day consists of drinking pink (vodka infused) lemonade, walking around taking photos of the cars and bikes, watching the pie eating contest, getting tattooed, and voting for your favourite vehicles in the show.
The motorcycles lined the open-air halls of the Ace Hotel. There were over 30 bikes, all with engines twice as old as I am. Most are custom choppers but some are perfectly stock.
The cars and hot rods are lined up on a closed off street beside the hotel. They’re parked side-by-side across from a vendor area of vintage booths that line the entire West side of the street. There’s more old stuff in that block than you could ever wrap your mind around.
The “Best in Show” car was Fabian Fiotos 1962 Cadillac. Although most of our crew are chopper kids who are pretty clueless when it comes to cars and hot rods, they were pretty hard to miss and added a really cool dynamic to a show that was primarily motorcycle based. If you love old anything, you’ll love Paradise Road Show.
The “Best in Show” bike went to Ryan Cox and his teal 1939 Harley UH Flathead Chopper. Paradise Road Show is the first show that Ryan has showcased his build. With it parked right at the gates of the show, it was hard to miss.
I was asked to host the official Paradise Road Show after party, so that happened. The Saturday night was a trip. It looked like a scene out of an old biker movie. Bikes lined up outside the one-story hotel bar, people were smoking around the pool, ladies were floating in the hot tub, old music and couples dancing went late into the night… it was a perfect ending to a very cool day.
The Paradise Road Show is an annual event that happens every January at the Ace in Palm Springs. Submissions for pre-1970’s cars and bikes are open to the public several months in advance. Even if you aren’t involved in the show, it’s an easy one to attend. Everything is very chill, there is lots to see and do and it’s a two day event so it’s worth the trip. Hope to see you around the pool next year! Becky.
Motorcycle club members and independent bikers in Washington State are again addressing the issue of motorcycle profiling in the state legislature. The Washington State Council of Clubs (WACOC), with ABATE’s support, drafted an amendment to the first law addressing motorcycle profiling, passed unanimously in 2011, to address a recent uptick in profiling incidents over the last two years. HB 2873 proposes two simple additions to a law that has been mostly effective. HB 2873 adds to the current training requirement law by explicitly prohibiting the practice of motorcycle profiling and also providing a relief provision for victims of motorcycle profiling. These simple quick-fix amendments will add strength to the law serving as a model for others currently considering legislation addressing the issue. In 2018, look for California, Nevada, Minnesota and the federal government to offer similar laws.
In 2011, the WACOC and ABATE successfully lobbied to pass the first law in America addressing the issue of motorcycle profiling without a single no vote in the state legislature. The law defined the illegal practice of motorcycle profiling and required motorcycle profiling to be
integrated into current policies and training regarding profiling. The law has reduced instances of motorcycle profiling overall, but incidents are still occuring. In fact, there has been a recent uptick in motorcycle profiling incidents reported over the last two years. The Washington motorcycling community participated in the National Motorcycle Profiling Survey (NMPS) 2016 and 2017, both with less than a 1.4% margin of error. The NMPS shows an increase in reported motorcycle profiling stops in 2015 and 2016. For example, 25% of survey respondents from Washington State reported being the victims of a motorcycle profiling stop in 2015, up from 11% in 2014. Over 13% reported incidents in 2016. The law was most effective in 2012, the year following adoption.
Amending Washington’s Motorcycle Profiling Law.
To respond to the recent increases in motorcycle profiling, the WACOC and ABATE are lobbying the legislature to amend RCW 43.101.419, commonly referred to as the motorcycle profiling law. Adding an explicit prohibition and a provision for victims to obtain relief and recover attorney fees will further strengthen Washington’s law. HB 2873 is currently in the House Judiciary Committee and the next step is a public hearing.
Confirmed by findings such as the National Motorcycle Profiling Survey, motorcycle profiling is an epidemic in the eyes of many bikers in America. Washington State’s politically active motorcycling community was the first to successfully address the issue. After 7 years, two
simple quick-fix amendments will serve as a model for the rest of the country and provide a mechanism of justice and relief for victims of motorcycle profiling. To permit law enforcement officers to target a person “who wears the insignia of [motorcycle club], without regard to or knowledge of that individual’s specific intent to engage in the alleged violent activities committed by other members, is antithetical to the basic principles enshrined in the First Amendment and repugnant to the fundamental doctrine of personal guilt that is a hallmark of American jurisprudence.
If you’re coming to Chopper Fest next week, expect to see some custom tank work, one of a kind framed illustrations and unique pieces of art to bring motorcycle culture from your garage to your living room
A true multimedia artist with some serious natural talent, James “El Waggs” Waggaman’s dual passion for auto & bike customization and illustration have merged over the years into a successful career. His awesome designs propelled him to operate his own shop in San Diego, CA.
Growing up between Washington, DC and Southern California, Jim, the son of a graphic designer, began creating works of art in his early youth. He started drawing designs on t-shirts with markers and evolved into using paint cans and airbrushes, customizing surfboards, his motorbike, and any surface where an opportunity arose. Friends quickly caught on to his eye for design and brought their own bikes to him to stylize.
Entirely self taught, he worked briefly in the world of advertising as an illustrator, and was the first in the biz to use airbrushing as a medium. If you’re local to San Diego, you might recognize his work because radio station 91X still uses his illustration as their logo to this day. But throughout his time in art marketing he was still working on bikes brought to him by friends, and friends of friends, and with the advent of computers in modern graphic design, he transitioned out of illustration and into auto design & fabrication full time.
The combination of word of mouth and his unique style led him to the Hamsters, and in the spirit of creative customization he became both a member and their go-to guy for vintage restoration and custom paint jobs. Through commission requests, he’s branched out into non auto work, creating impressively unique works of art in the form of sculptures, wall hangings and yard art. All inspired by motorcycle culture, he’ll take a vintage gas tank and turn it into a custom painted lamp, or airbrush designs on Milwaukee boots. His latest projects include a menagerie of yard art impressive in scale, including a giant fiberglass rooster which he’ll strip and break down, re-weld and paint in ceremonious Hamster yellow.
If you’re coming to Chopper Fest next week, expect to see some custom tank work, one of a kind framed illustrations and unique pieces of art to bring motorcycle culture from your garage to your living room!
The 40th running of the Dakar Rally is now over. As the dust settles the stream of stories grows. Up front, as expected, we saw an epic duel between Honda and KTM riders, but there was also a strong showing from the Yamaha factory. Spanning three countries and almost 9,000km, Dakar is an epic assault on both rider and machine, with privateers making up the bulk of the 190 motorcycles and quads entered. Because of this, the action at the front of the field is only a fraction of the story. We will highlight a few of those many stories, but first we should talk about the drama up front.
The bike category saw two huge names crash out of the lead this year. Navigation errors also played a big part of this year’s rally, with almost all the front running bikes taking a wrong turn and losing nearly an hour as the back-tracked. All but one…
And the one rider not to make this mistake was veteran Mattias Walkner (#002) of Austria. The Red Bull KTM rider was in the top 5 overall the entire rally, playing a game of consistency when, in stage 10, his spot-on navigation moved him from 3rd place to the lead… with nearly an hour gap to 2nd. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The story of this year’s Dakar actually started before the green flag ever waved.
The Front Runners
Paolo Gonçalves (#006), one of the factory Honda riders, was unable to make the start due to a lingering shoulder injury. This pulled Honda support rider Ignacio Cornejo (#068) of Chile off his bike and onto Gonçalves’ machine. No pressure there. But quite honestly the extra pressure never showed on Cornejo’s face, or in his results. Some brilliant riding in the dunes of the early stages left him 12th overall.
The middle of the rally saw a few finishes outside the top-20, but a 5th place in stage 10 (where so many riders made navigation errors) helped keep his name in circulation. His overall position continually hovered just inside or just outside the top 10, and he ended the Dakar with a solid 10th overall.
But up front everyone was waiting to see the usual suspects continue their Honda vs. KTM battle. It started with KTM and Honda swapping stage wins for the first three days. Sam Sunderland’s KTM, #001, took stage 01, with stage 02 going to Honda’s Joan Barreda Bort (#005). Stage 03 went back to Sunderland. The KTM/Honda battle was back, but no one sent Yamaha the memo. The blue bikes finished one-two on the 4th stage.
But probably the biggest news from stage 04 was the retirement of rally leader and last year’s winner Sam Sunderland. The KTM rider misjudged a dune and landed hard, compressing his spine. Despite remounting, he only made it about another 5km before he stopped from the pain. Early reports were that Sunderland had lost feeling in his legs, but this turned out to be from pinched nerves in his spine, and before the rally was even over he had announced the beginning of his physical therapy and his eagerness to be back for Dakar 2019.
This meant all eyes were now on Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren (#004), who seemed to be using the strategy of consistent results over stage wins. But by stage 06 the rally had moved out of the dunes and into the thin, cold air of Peru’s Andes mountains. The bikes struggled to make power in the thin air and riders struggled with deep water holes from recent rains. Van Beveren could only manage an 8th place in the stage, giving up the overall lead to Honda’s Kevin Benavides (#047, Argentina).
When stage 07 began in LaPaz, Bolivia, no one was sure how things would play out. With the course being a combination of sandy tracks, low dunes, and rutted trails, it was Van Beveren who shined, his 2nd place on stage putting him back in the overall lead. But the big news surrounded the day’s stage winner, Joan Barreda Bort.
Many saw Barreda as Honda’s best chance at victory, but a big crash severely injured his knee. He remounted and still won the stage, but no one was sure how he could manage another week in the saddle. Still, Honda man Kevin Benavides was second overall at this point, staying under the radar with smart riding while still finishing up front each day. This meant Honda was still in the fight with at least one rider, no matter what.
Benavides wasn’t the only one feeling pressure on stage 08 though. Van Beveren managed only 7th on the stage, cutting his overall lead to only 22 seconds over Honda’s Benavides. Barreda, with his injured knee, managed 8th during the stage and still clung to a top-five overall ranking.
Stage 09 was cancelled due to heavy rains at high altitudes. The resulting fog grounded helicopters which is considered a major safety concern due to the time it takes for medical help to arrive by land. While seems like a chance for riders to take a break, what it really meant was a 400km ride to a new bivouac to begin stage 10. The riders were just coming off a marathon stage, where no part on the machine can be replaced for two stages. This left mechanics in a scramble to set up their workspaces to service the bikes. Riders were also forced to head 400km further than they expected, not finding out until they arrived at the stage finish. Just when you think it’s over…
As mentioned before, stage 10 was where the rally got flipped on its head. The mix of dunes and riverbeds combined with heat peaking at 109°F to sap rider strength and mental focus. A group of fast riders were together, negotiating a long riverbed. When one rider misread his roadbook and went left at a fork, the entire group followed, ending up over 10km off course before realizing the mistake, and losing upwards of 40min.
Up front though Van Beveren was navigating correctly but still lost over 6min to Benavides, and the overall lead. Pushing in the second timed stage, only 3km from the finish, he cross-rutted at high speed in a dry riverbed and wen down hard. He was airlifted out and later diagnosed with a broken collarbone, several broken ribs, and bruising on his lungs.
This left only KTM’s Mattias Walkner to have survived the stage and avoid navigation errors. This launched him into the lead by almost 40min over Barreda, whose injured knee would finally get the better of him during the 11th stage.
From here out the rally was Walkner’s to lose. With such a large lead and only four stages to go, going fast but not taking chances was the only logical plan. Stage 12 was also cancelled due to weather, and this took away one precious opportunity for competitors to hunt down Walkner, who cruised the rest of the rally to a convincing win. Honda still had a lock on 2nd place by way of Benavides’ consistent performance. They could at least deny KTM a podium sweep, but KTM took not only the win but third through fifth.
KTM also won the women’s category with their young ace Laia Sanz (#015). This was her eighth Dakar so she is far from a rookie, managing a 12th place finish overall and a best stage finish of 10th (stage 08). This is her second-best result, having finished 9th overall in 2015.
With a field composed mostly of European and South American riders some may wonder if there are any Americans among the bunch. Most of note is Californian Ricky Brabec, riding for Honda. Brabec has a stage win to his credit from last year though he seemed to be aiming for a more consistent approach this year.
He took a 2nd place in stage 08 and had two other 4th place finishes, but for the most part he was finishing each day between 10-25th place. Sadly, with only two days left in the event, while holding 6th place overall, his CRF450X engine let go, ending his rally so close to the finish.
Another exciting story to follow is that of Hero Motorcycles. The Indian company is known throughout the world, specializing in simple, lightweight motorcycles for developing nations. In an attempt to increase their global footprint, they partnered with German company Speedbrain, who in the passed have managed official efforts for Honda and Husqvarna.
They got off to a terrible start when their fastest rider, Joaquim Rodrigues, pancaked into a dune during the very first stage. His injuries were severe enough to end his Dakar then and there. On the plus side, his injuries were not severe and he will recuperate.
Dakar 2018 | Accidente de Joaquim Rodrigues - YouTube
You are forgiven if you did not know Hero was running a third bike. Spaniard Oriol Mena came to the team so late they didn’t have time to add him to their website. In fact, they didn’t even have time to build him a bike; it is rumored that his machine was a 2013 model left over in the Speedbrain shop from when they managed Husqvarna’s effort. Despite this, Mena showed tenacity and skill in his very first Dakar, managing a best of 4th place in stage 10, ending the rally with a string of top-10 finishes and a 7th place overall.
Original by Motul
When the Dakar Rally started it was essentially a bunch of lunatics using slightly modified road vehicles to race across Africa, because… why not? That original spirit lives on in the Malle Moto class, renamed this year as Originals by Motul. Riders in the Originals class have all their tools in a small container and perform all maintenance and repair (except tire changes) themselves, using only what’s in their box.
This means that after hours of racing, plus hours of riding to and from the day’s race course, they must prep their bikes for the next day, go over their roadbook, and find some time to eat and set up their tent for the night. Quite simply, it’s the ultimate test for any motorcycle racer, which is why former KTM factory man Olivier Pain decided to have a go this year. No team of mechanics and team chef and team doctor… just a bike and a box.
Pain was the fastest Originals rider in all but three stages and was never more than a few minutes behind his rivals when he wasn’t leading. He took the class lead on stage 02 and kept it. In the end he was 29th overall, 9.5 hours from race winner Mattias Walkner, but about 1.5 hours clear of 2nd place Originals rider Lyndon Poskitt (33rd overall). This includes a 15min penalty Pain received for changing the head gasket on his KTM. An entire engine swap would have been easier, but this would have incurred a one-hour penalty.
Speaking of Lyndon Poskitt, last year his successful YouTube-based series, Races2Places, did a great job of filming behind-the-scenes action and giving viewers at home a fantastic perspective. The footage was put into a one-hour film called “Malle Moto.” This year Lyndon did a step better and crowdfunded a budget to allow a 1-man film crew to put together daily episodes during the entire event. If you are looking for coverage of the Originals class, Lyndon’s YouTube channel is a great place to look.
This past weekend, MotoLady held the third annual Women’s Motorcycle Show at Lucky Wheels Garage on the edge of DTLA… and it blew the roof off.
Featuring 27 bikes from Northern California to Dallas, Texas, and even Mexico City, built for or by women with an emphasis on the customization being specific to the ladies needs and wants for their type of riding. The point? To say hey, we’re here, and we love to ride too.
There’s Magic in the Mix
Women will spent a lot of time and energy creating the exact riding experience they want both in terms of their bike and gear—some just need to be shown that it’s possible. Either by their own hands or via aftermarket parts or one-off custom work at a shop with their design input. Far too often the words “my bike isn’t good enough for a show” are uttered by a woman. Sometimes ladies need that extra push to feel confident enough to put themselves in the limelight, especially in the still-male-dominated world of motorcycling. The hope is that the Women’s Motorcycle Show helps that fact, by surrounding them with like-minded, badass people who support diversity in the two wheeled world.
Packed to the Gills
Ten minutes ‘til official show start at 6p a roar of motorcycles bounced down the street and parked outside. Luckily for us, the last bikes had been set in their places on white boxes and hydraulic lifts inside and outside Lucky Wheels Garage located on N Mission Road at the edge of downtown LA. Riders started to funnel in, grab drinks and mingle. Outside, the Burnt to a Crisp BBQ Smokehouse food truck was poised in wait for hungry bikers riding from all over California, Vegas, and beyond. But none of us were quite ready for what lie ahead!
The 3,000 SF shop and open back yard area filled quickly and didn’t let up until the end of the night. Lucky Wheels Café almost ran out of coffee, the bar sold out of beer and started tapping out the whiskey supply, the food truck had a record breaking night, and Women’s Motorcycle Show apparel flew off the shelves in just over an hour.
Bikes were parked up and down either side of the street for blocks, stretching all the way to the 101 freeway… even in the center of the road down the double yellow lines. After multiple attempts to count motorcycles, anyone who tried giving up near 600 in any given area, plus Taxi/Uber/Lyft drop offs and car drivers, we had to have at least 1,500 people. We all believe that’s a conservative estimate.
Givin’ Away the Good Stuff
Upstairs in the Lucky Lounge, attendees bustled amongst an arm wrestling station, pool table, dart board, swanky couches, and moto-themed art gallery with artist Mariya Bulka (Tinta by Bulka) live sketching nearby. Stretching beyond three six foot fold out tables donned with Mexican blankets as tablecloths was the epic raffle. Thirty items ranged from Bell helmets certificates, a set of Pirelli tires specifically for your bike and style of riding, motorcycle gear of all sorts, and even the new ROAME Zeros (smart shoes with turn signals and brake lights that communicates with your bike). (You can check out the entire list of raffle items here… there are quite a few doozies.)
More Than Beautiful Bikes
We’ve all been to a few motorcycle shows in our day. Most of them follow a pretty similar mold. We wanted to break it.
Featuring an art wall, motorcycle shaped piñata packed with airplane size bottles of booze, live music from Stephen El Rey and Low Volts (two bluesy-rock one-man bands), the Real Deal maker demo booth, and even a special light show from the LAPD… it was a night to remember!
The Real Deal Demo Booth
Jessi Combs (land speed & baja racer, TV show host and so much more) and Theresa Contreras (builder, painter, artist of LGE-CTS Motorsports) conceptualized a non-profit business called “Real Deal” that helps get women’s hands dirty with the industrial arts. The Real Deal booth pops up at events like Chopperfest, Babes Ride Out, and now the Women’s Motorcycle Show. Featuring Jessi Combs on the welder, Theresa Contreras on pinstriping, and Joy Brenneman (aka Joy Fire) with her gas-powered forge on blacksmithing… they gave men, women, and kids an opportunity to try their hand at these complex skills throughout the evening. The banging of the hammer and anvil, sparking welder, and focused painters gave the show another layer of entertainment for families and those steering clear of the bar.
What’s Up with the Foreshadowing
Ok ok, alright time to spill. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty.
The cops showed up. Yup, the LAPD came in HOT on our little-turned-rager motorcycle get-together. Approximately 9:25 a Police helicopter began to circle the event, exciting the masses who held up their smartphones to record the action across social media. The light shined over all the show bikes, providing photographers a little extra help in the dark night outdoor light, and up and down Mission Road, giving people quite the show. At 9:35 we got word that there were a boat-load of squad cars (read: 10) parked up the road on North Mission where the freeway on ramps are, announcing that tow trucks were en route to pick up those aforementioned yellow-line parked motos. Emcee Dustyn Ellis made the announcement for folks to go move their bikes and that we would wait for people to come back in to announce the raffle winners.
As some people were starting to return, and we were about to do last call on raffle ticket sales (which were a whole $1)… we got the bad news the Police were none too pleased with the burgeoning biker soiree taking over the street and that we had to pull the plug. After the sad announcement we had to call it and apologies for the trouble, we asked everyone to be respectful when leaving as to not piss off the LAPD more, and called it a night.
As Alicia, MotoLady and Women’s Motorcycle Show founder, finally made her way back toward the shop entrance, two LAPD Officers came in to chat. And guess what… they were super cool! When they had realized it was a Women’s Motorcycle Show, they not only felt terrible for having to shut us down, but seemed a little jealous they weren’t able to attend. One of the officers told us (on video) “the Women’s Motorcycle Show is pretty cool!” and the other talked with Alicia about helping her with getting permits to shut the street down next year. Other comments included “this may be the first time in the history of our chopper that no one flipped it off”, and “usually we find broken glass, fighting, drugs, and belligerent people when we go to these types of calls, but instead it was just a bunch of normal people… hanging out.” We thanked each other, and they went on to fight crime.
Everyone was ushered out at 9:47pm, just 13 minutes before the event was supposed to officially end (though it probably wouldn’t have, honestly). To remedy the raffle prize announcement snafu, I pulled tickets for winners on the Women’s Motorcycle Show instagram story feed live, and then posted them on the website. Almost all the prizes are already claimed… proving that people are hungry for the new gear and goodies!
The Future of WMS
Now that the third year of the Women’s Motorcycle Show is wrapped, we’re immediately diving into plans for making next year bigger and better. Lucky Wheels Garage being an amazing community space keeps us wanting to use the same venue in the future, but obviously we outgrew the given space. We’ve got some ideas and tricks up our sleeve, so 2019 should have even more interactive entertainment and cool bikes from lady riders across America (and beyond)!
Until then, check out a handful of the bikes that were on display below.
Megan Margeson of Torrance, CA with her 1964 Harley Davidson Panhead Chopper.
Salt flats racer Kristine Peach of Calabasas, CA with her hubby Wes of Four Aces Cycles, builder.
Jessica Schaeffer of Venice, CA with her fully restored and modernized ‘78 CB550.
Nikkie Robinson of Long Beach with her 1976 Kawasaki KZ900.
On a hot day in North Dakota, Larry Dvorak, waiting to meet up with friends, sought out a slice of shade underneath a Russ Brown banner. It was here that he was introduced to our BAM program. Having had a few nightmare breakdown stories of his own, access to our community of riders helping riders in the event of an emergency and the added sense of security that comes along with the nationwide network was a no-brainer, and he signed up on the spot. It was Sturgis’ Annual rally, and little did he know, the start of what he describes as a once in a lifetime stroke of luck which would eventually take him back to that same Russ Brown banner, this time in wintery Minnesota. If you don’t know by now, all new BAM members are automatically enrolled in our annual motorcycle giveaway raffle, and if you do, you probably know where this story is headed…
It’s the Progressive International Motorcycle Show, and Larry has just driven from his hometown of Pleasantdale, Nebraska to pick up a brand new Victory Octane. Moments before he would finally see his brand new prize ride in person, we met up with Larry and his equally excited son-in-law and grandson outside the convention center in Minneapolis to chat.
(Q) Congratulations Larry! How have these past few months been for you?
(L) My wife’s at home still thinking that this can’t be true! You know, I got the call and [Shawn] said he was informing me that I had won a bike, and I had to keep repeating, ‘what..what..?’, I’m thinking there’s no way this can be for real. No way! Thankfully he had the patience to stay on the line with me.
(Q) It is definitely real! Has it sunk in yet?
(L) *Laughs* I’m still wondering, what’s the catch? But everyone at Russ Brown has truly been so great, I just feel very grateful.
(Q) Definitely no catch, it’s all about the support we have for our community, for fellow motorcyclists…how long have you been riding for Larry?
(L) At around 10 I was gifted a little 1970-something scooter from my brother in law in exchange for farm work. I rode that thing up and down the country, downhill the chain would come off and I’d have to stop and fix it…eventually I got an 85 CC Kawasaki for a couple of years before advancing to a 315 Honda. In time I got a Harley, but shortly after I got married and had kids, the family life took over, so for a while I rode that probably an average of a hundred miles a year.
(Q) That seems to be a common phase in the lifecycle of riders, kids come into play and some of the toys have to take a backseat…
(L) Right, as much as I love to ride, I held off for a long time until I felt the kids were old enough for me to take on some of those risks that come with motorcycling, which makes this BAM network really fantastic – it brings home those things that are concerns for all of us bikers. And it seems more important today than ever because of the aspect of cell phones and texting and whatnot. Other drivers on the road aren’t as attentive as they once were.
(Q) Definitely, that’s the idea, no one want to anticipate a break down, but in the event of an emergency –
(L) Well one year on our way back from Sturgis we had an issue, the engine light turned on…we ended up being waylaid fourteen hours to only find out that it was a security system problem that required pulling a fuse for a minute and reinserting it. That was it – we waited hours for something that could have been resolved in two minutes! Of course I had to call somebody, get us loaded up and towed into town. That would have been a great time to call BAM but of course this was before I had become a member, so I appreciate this network and service. It’s a great idea.
(Q) Absolutely, that’s part of the package. So will we see you at Sturgis this year on the Victory?
(L) Oh yes, my wife and I having been going annually for about 12 years and look forward to that trip every summer. Hopefully it’ll warm up near home [Nebraska] and I can give it a try tomorrow!
This time of year makes most people are thinking of new year resolutions or hiding from the cold, but for me January means the Dakar Rally. Right now most gearheads are working on winter projects or preparing their machines for next year’s racing season, but in Lima, Peru, hundreds of trucks, bikes, quads, buggies, and cars are out of their shipping containers and being prepped for the most fantastic motorsports event in the world.
Officially beginning on January 6, 2018 and carrying on for 10,000km until January 20th, Dakar is marking its 40th anniversary and the 10th year the rally has taken place in South America. The event is so massive and sprawling that it’s a feat in itself to simply follow the action, so let me provide a cheat sheet for the uninitiated.
What Is Dakar?
The event is best known for extremes. Originally a race from Paris, France to Dakar, Senegal, (Africa) this year’s event spans Peru, Argentina, and Bolivia. The rally moved to South America when security concerns caused the cancellation of the 2008 event. Competitors still battle varied terrains and weather, encountering the cold rains (and possibly snow) of higher altitudes, the vast expanses of shifting sand dunes, desert heat, mountain roads, and sometimes flooded river crossings (find the official route details here and a video overview here).
In fact, last year’s event had rain so bad that two stages had to be cancelled so that emergency crews and military units involved in the race could aid local rescue efforts. Dakar officials even sent their own helicopters as well. Streams turned into churning rivers that swallowed vehicles.
The event is so grueling that top teams field at least four official entries, then provide bikes and support to as many as a dozen other riders. Their job is to race their own race, but should one of the official factory riders suffer a mechanical failure, they must stop and give parts off their bike to keep the remaining factory riders in the hunt. If the gravity of this event is still escaping you, the official teaser for the 2018 event might give a perspective that words can’t.
Official Teaser - Dakar 2018 - YouTube
The 2018 rally is broken into 14 daily stages, with one rest day on Friday, January 12. Stages are broken into “special” and “liaison” stages. A special stage means competitors are racing for time, moving from waypoint to waypoint. Liaison stages are simply when teams are moving to or from the special stage. This means that road laws are followed on liaison and machines are still in competition, but not for time. So, things like breaking down and failing to make the start line of a special, or not making it to the bivouac at the end of the day, or replacing major components on a liaison will all incur penalties.
Back at the bivouac each night the machines are worked on by crews while riders prepare their roadbooks for the next day. There will be one Marathon stage, however, where no work can be done overnight. This may seem tough, but the Malle Moto class (called “Original by Motul” this year) features riders performing the entire event unassisted, using only what tools and spares they have in a small container that is shipped from stage to stage by truck. Riders do all mechanical work and route planning and navigating, while still finding time to eat, sleep, and update their followers and sponsors. Last year’s Malle Moto winner was Estonian Toomas Triisa, who finished 30th overall. More on this category later.
Malle Moto riders must perform all work themselves, using only what equipment they can fit in a single container. Here, rider Oliver Pain poses next to his race box. Photo: Dakar/ASO.
Who to Watch
Let’s talk about the story so far before we get into the who’s who. The bikes category has been an all-KTM affair for over a decade now, but Honda has gotten extremely serious about dethroning the Austrian juggernaut. But last year’s event was a debacle for the Japanese manufacturer, with Honda riders looking strong until a catastrophic error by team management landed their top riders with a one-hour penalty for refueling in an illegal area.
KTM’s Sam Sunderland is last year’s winner. Photo: Dakar/ASO.
Specific refueling areas are designated for environmental and safety reasons, but it didn’t appear Honda was trying to pull a fast one; they refueled in a small town, in full view of dozens of passing competitors. Still, such an infraction could have disqualified a rider from the entire event, and some felt the penalty was too lenient.
In the end KTM swept the podium yet again, with Sam Sunderland taking the win by 32 minutes over Mattias Walker. 3rd place went to Gerard Farres, also on a KTM. It must be noted though that 5th place Honda rider Joan Barreda Bort was only 43 minutes adrift from Sunderland, including his one-hour penalty. Also of note is Red Bull KTM Factory rider Toby Price, who wowed everyone with his performance by winning in 2016 (his second Dakar) and leading many stages in 2017 before spectacularly shattering his femur, leaving him out of the race and with one of the most horrifying x-rays I have ever seen. He is back for 2018 and has not forgotten how to go fast. For a few more important names, see the “Also of Note” section below.
What to Watch
In a nutshell, 2018 will be an attempt at redemption for all of Honda as well as KTM’s Toby Price, with the biggest obstacle likely to not be terrain or weather, but navigation. Huge amounts of time were lost and gained by savvy navigating in the more difficult stages last year. Riders find their way using an old-fashioned road book, a series of pace notes on a roll-chart that, combined with odometer and stopwatches, tells them what obstacles to expect ahead.
Navigating by roadbook is a skill that must be mastered if you want to stay on course in the Dakar. Riders prepare their roadbooks with colored markers each night. Photo: Dakar/ASO.
If a rider misses an important note they can become hopelessly lost, or worse yet find themselves heading into a ravine at 90mph. Speed limits must also be followed in certain areas, and fortunately the Iritrack onboard sat-nav system gives riders an audible warning for these types of dangers. It also sends their location to race control. Leaving the course or missing a checkpoint will incur penalties. If a rider stops for too long, the Iritrack can send an emergency signal to race control so a search can begin. While this is good insurance, other racers are often the first ones to arrive at a crash scene and must render what aid they can, hoping race officials will give them back the time they spent stopped (which is normally the case).
Also of Note
Now, even though we’ve talked about last year’s top finishers, it’s fair to say that at least a dozen riders on the official entry list of 138 have a shot at winning. Instead of flooding you with names, here are some of the better stories to follow:
Pablo Quintanilla is a native Chilean and therefore a fan favorite. He is also one of the fastest Husqvarna mounted riders in the field this year. Adrien Metge has broken into the top-ten before and might upset things on his Sherco. Laia Sanz is the fastest female of note, having broken into the top 15 finishers previously. This will be her 8th Dakar, having competed both as a supported independent rider and a factory rider several times. Riding again on a factory KTM, she earns her spot by being fast, and not by being fast for a woman. Much respect.
KTM’s Laia Sanz will make her 8th Dakar appearance this year. Photo: Dakar/ASO.
If you’re feeling national pride during this international event, California native Ricky Brabec will be back on a factory Honda for you to cheer on. He already has a 9th place finish (2016) and a stage win to his credit, along with wins in Baja. For a young rider he seems to be extremely smart in going just fast enough; consistency is key.
American ace Ricky Brabec is back on a Factory Honda for Dakar 2018.
In the Malle Moto class (called “Original by Motul” this year), we will again see fan-favorite Lyndon Poskitt attempt the class win. Finishing 39th overall last year and 2nd in Malle Moto, his participation in the Dakar Heroes videos made him instantly endearing to both local fans and those watching the world over. If he can top his instructional video on how to take a poo while racing, he will be enshrined in Dakar history for eternity.
Lyndon Poskitt will take on Dakar in the Malle Moto class again this year, racing unassisted while trying to film it all from the inside. Photo: Lyndon Poskitt Racing.
Lyndon has already released a documentary of his 2017 race that is perfect for whetting your Dakar appetite and showing just what it takes to race unassisted for two weeks. Lyndon has actually been on the road for years now with his project Races 2 Places, where he has ridden on 5 continents, meeting his container of race parts and converting his bike right before the start of rallies. There are already seven seasons of R2P for your binge-watching pleasure.
The Dakar is not just about riders though. Indian manufacturer Hero will return for the second time with their 450 Rallye and a two-rider team. In a strategic partnership with Speedbrain (who managed both Honda and Husqvarna’s factory teams at one point), Hero assured itself a strong beginning with a best result of 10th in their first attempt.
Hero is back for 2018./ Photo: Hero Motorsports
Sadly, Chinese manufacturer Zongshen will not be back in 2018. Taking the courageous step of developing their own 450cc machine, the inexperienced team suffered electrical failures and a lost rider in the first two stages. After that, the team put their effort behind privateer Thierry Bethys of France, but a fire from a damaged fuel fitting in stage 4 ended his Dakar in dramatic fashion. Since these failures were all due to outsourced parts and not the engine of frame itself, it was hoped they would be back to try and improve their luck. Perhaps 2019?
How to Watch
Following the action here in America is a feat in itself. While NBCSports is the official US partner covering the event, only certain cable providers have the proper version. Worse yet, the broadcast is delayed. For most people, your best bet is to look for live feeds and daily updates on Red Bull TV. Although they focus on Red Bull sponsored teams, that includes practically everyone of note. The main drawback is their focus is mainly on the car class, but there will still be plenty of information, video, and stills of the bikes.
Keeping up with Dakar action is never easy. Photo: Dakar/ASO.
Each night, the Dakar Rally’s official Youtube Channel will have a 3-4-minute recap of the day’s stage. Last year they also did a segment called “Dakar Heroes,” which took GoPro footage from privateer racers and gave you a very personal account of what it’s like to take on the toughest race in the world.
Alternately, truly dedicated fans can attempt to find live foreign-language broadcasts on a number of networks in Europe and South America; just look for the list of official broadcasters at the top of the official Dakar page.
And, for the bravest souls, the ultimate way to follow Dakar is by following the “Dakar f5irehose thread” on advrider.com. This forum earned the name because pressing F5 on a Windows computer will refresh the screen. People are posting tidbits of information so fast that a veritable firehose of updates, banter, and live feed alerts pop up all day at unparalleled rates.
This is the place to look for alerts that some unknown television station in Bolivia is live-streaming the race in Spanish and where to watch. Updates come in from mechanics and personnel at the event. The Honda/KTM banter will reach fever pitch. In fact, the thread is so massive that a separate thread is created for sharing pictures and video, as people’s computers bog down trying to reload so many images constantly. The only other place to be so immersed in the Dakar rally is at the rally itself.
As Americans, we have access to amazing landscapes and boundless opportunity, but when it comes to motorsports we basically have NASCAR, Supercross, and the Indy 500. The Dakar is difficult to follow, but because of the absolute audacity of an event this big, it’s worth it. Just think, I’ve only given you a basic rundown of the names and happenings in the bikes class; there are still quads, side-by-sides, and both the cars and truck classes. There is simply nothing bigger in the world of motorsports than Dakar.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS:
ASO: Amaury Sport Organization; the organizers of the rally.
Bivouac: The pits and garages where teams, officials, media, and racers stay overnight. The Bivouac moves with the event and hundreds of vehicles must be loaded and unloaded so the new bivouac can be set up before racers arrive.
CP: checkpoint. Waypoints that teams must pass through.
Fesh Fesh: sand so fine it has a consistency similar to baby powder. There is no way to tell its depth when you hit it and it also plays havoc on air filters and rider vision.
GC: General classification; the overall standings for the rally so far.
Liaison Stage (LS): competitors are not being timed but must follow a liaison route to and from the special stage. There is a maximum time allowed on an LS, with penalties added if they are exceeded. However, the stages are not particularly demanding compared to the Special Stages.
Loop Stage: a stage that begins and ends at the same bivouac, regardless of the distance.
Marathon Stage: two days of racing where support vehicles and crews cannot work on the machines. Competitors can work on their machines or help each other out, but no outside assistance is allowed. There can sometimes be what is called a Super Marathon Stage, where race bikes are impounded overnight and no one can perform work on them.
Neutral Zone: if there is more than one Special Stage, the Liaison Stage(s) in between are called neutral or neutralization zones.
Piste/off-Piste: the French word for “track.” Going off-piste means leaving the road, including unpaved roads.
Special Stage (SS): the actual timed portion of each day’s route. This is where competitors are truly racing for time.
Wadi: Arabic for a dry riverbed. Left over from when the Dakar Rally was held in Africa
In 2010, ABATE of Oklahoma member Robert “Gunner” Catcher was killed when a truck pulling a trailer pulled out from the side of the road and made a “U” turn in front of him. Gunner, a certified rider coach and experienced biker who was driving the speed limit, had no time to react, and was killed. Gunner was loved and respected by bikers all across Oklahoma. ABATE of Oklahoma, a motorcycle safety and rights organization, sponsored and heavily lobbied to pass Gunners Law. This law added $3.00 to an annual motorcycle tag with the money earmarked solely for motorcycle safety. Gunner’s Fund has raised over $2M since it was passed.
Fast forward to 2017. Gunners Fund now provides grants to fund affordable, approved motorcycle training courses across Oklahoma, and ABATE of Oklahoma is doing their part to proactively assist by educating the public.
Most people realize that additional laws will do little to stem crashes. Every state already outlaws violating a vehicle’s right-of-way. Even when a driver is convicted of killing or injuring a motorcyclist, the punishment is minimal. In many states people are punished more severely for abusing an animal than killing a motorcyclist. ABATE of Oklahoma has a solution for vehicles crashing into us.
ABATE of Oklahoma started a Share the Road audio visual program that shows drivers how to better see and avoid collisions with motorcycles. We have three versions:
one for car and light truck drivers,
one for big rig drivers and heavy service vehicles, and
one for bus drivers.
We present 30-45 minute Share the Road programs, free of charge, to any school, company, or organization that requests it. Instructors pass a background check, intense training, and assist in several presentations before becoming a Certified Share the Road Instructor.
In 2017, our volunteer instructors drove over 7,000 miles, presenting the program to approximately 1,500 attendees. We have presented it to all the bus drivers of the second largest school system in the state, some of the largest trucking companies, the premier trucking company safety organization, the largest CDL training program in the state, public utility companies, and high school drivers’ education classes. We already have presentations scheduled for government operations, trucking companies, oil field service companies, and public utilities through the summer of 2018.
Share the Road employs several techniques to keep the audiences’ attention and to imprint the results of not looking twice for motorcycles. We often display a wrecked motorcycle, from a vehicle right-of-way violation in cases where a motorcyclist was killed.. We show an actual motorcycle/car crash, show the reasons why drivers misjudge our distance, and show a motorcycle needing the full width of the traffic lane to avoid potential death. Audiences learn the limitations of motorcycles that make them vulnerable to crashes. They take several awareness tests to show that they see only what they are looking for, not what they are looking at.
Our program has been so successful that we have been asked to develop a program that shows motorcyclists the limitations trucks and buses have regarding motorcycles. The program will be released the first quarter of 2018, and will be available to all motorcycle groups in Oklahoma.
How do you measure the success of the program? Obviously you cannot measure something that doesn’t happen. We do measure death statistics. We started presenting Share the Road in earnest at the beginning of 2016. Motorcycle deaths held constant between 2015 and 2016. The numbers are statistically too small to accurately judge our effectiveness. Maybe we helped? The program needs a lot more presentations before we really see the results. We do know that every organization where we presented it, has asked us back for repeat presentations. Several large organizations where we presented it have offered us the use of buses and tractor trailer rigs and drivers for video and still photography shots needed for our presentations. We do know that an Oklahoma Highway Safety Office employee said it was the most effective program in the state to reduce vehicle verses motorcycle collisions. We recently doubled the number of instructors in preparation of reaching our goal of 3,000 attendees in 2018. While the numbers do not seem large, remember that we are targeting the drivers who log the most miles, and young drivers, trying to instill the habit of looking twice for bikes.
If you are interested in our Share the Road programs, please contact Jim “Radar” Koelle, (918) 852-6872, or firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be glad to share our experiences. After all, the more cage drivers that look twice, the better off all motorcyclists are.
Widespread autonomous vehicle use is inevitable. These vehicles are no longer imaginative ideas confined to sci-fi novels and futuristic movies. At an increasing pace, autonomous technology is being tested and used on public roadways in numerous American cities. In response to this technology, there has been more discussion in motorcycle rights circles relating to the impact that autonomous vehicles will have on motorcyclists. Technology can be good or bad. In the end, how a new technology is applied is arguably more important than the technology itself.
There are some expressing concern for the future based on the idea that motorcyclists will be pushed out of transportation through new laws and regulations. But there are also reasons to believe that autonomous vehicle technology could make motorcycling far safer in the long term. Autonomous vehicles could result in either scenario, depending on how that technology is applied. It is critical that motorcyclists remain part of the legislative discussion to help insure that the future of autonomous technology is guided in the right direction.
Possible Concerns for Motorcyclists
A simple Google search reveals that many motorcyclists have expressed concerns that potential safety issues between autonomous detection technology and motorcycles could push motorcyclists out of transportation’s future. 1
Organizations like the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), a national rights group focused on D.C. politics, want to insure that motorcyclists are represented in the regulatory and legal scheme that is accompanying the inevitable push towards autonomous vehicles.
In comments to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the MRF recognizes the potential that these vehicles may offer in regards to improving road safety, but demands that, “any guidelines, procedures, or regulations promulgated, are considerate and inclusive of all road users, specifically motorcyclists.”
The MRF publicly states that, “the MRF is working to ensure that bikers across the nation not be overlooked…the MRF insists that it will remain vigilant in ensuring bikers have a seat at the table when it comes to automated vehicles.” 2
With over 10 million registered motorcyclists, motorcycling is an essential part of modern American freedom and not so easily dismissed. What if autonomous technology actually made motorcycling safer by eliminating automobile drivers from the equation? Would even morepeople purchase and register to ride a motorcycle if it were far safer?
Increased Safety Means Motorcycling Could Flourish
The largest cause of collisions between automobiles and motorcycles is the automobile driver. Left hand turns, texting, drunk driving, and other forms of distraction have created a major safety risk that legislators nationwide have attempted to remedy. It only makes sense that safety concerns, or perceptions of risk, prevent many people from buying and riding motorcycles.
According to Karl Viktor Schaller, head of development at BMW, with automated vehicles far fewer bikers will die on the road, which will not escape the notice of all those people who have been too scared to fulfill their dream of owning and riding a motorcycle. “It would mean a dramatic enhancement in safety for the motorbike,” Schaller said. “And it would guarantee a wider user group.” 3
Autonomous cars, theoretically, will not make common errors caused by distraction. Eventually, motorcycles will “talk” to all of the other vehicles on the road, constantly providing updates regarding location and speed. This information will be used to build an electronic safety cage around a motorcycle, argues BMW’s Schaller.
What does this mean for US motorcyclists? When the perception that motorcycling is inherently dangerous is reduced, sales will climb. According to Xavier Mosquet, a senior partner at BostonConsulting Group, the boost in motorcycling will be most noticeable in markets such as the U.S.,
where people ride for entertainment and pleasure. 4
Some Final Thoughts
Staying politically active as a community will be a critical component to maintaining a connection to the regulations that will dictate reality for motorcyclists in a new and autonomous world. Everystep moves us closer to critical mass as motorcyclists, a point at which the viable future of motorcycling becomes certain, even in the face of new and challenging technologies. It should be encouraging that the movement is cumulative. Every success motorcyclists achieve in the autonomous technology policy discussion builds upon itself. Autonomous automobile and motorcycling manufacturers both being represented in this discussion means that the
technology will advance with an ideology that encompasses motorcyclists.
Autonomous vehicle technology is inevitable and increasing at a rapid pace. As long as motorcycling community and manufacturers track the developments of this new industry, there is a greater chance that the technology will develop in such a way that motorcycling becomes safer and more popular.