Archive for July, 2015

Friday July 31st 2015

Friday, July 31st, 2015

NEWSFLASH ;  Pics of Jordi’s new Trials bike - looks Stunning. ( Sorry for the “Squished” pic)

The last day of the week/month - and the start of a long weekend - it’s early in the morning, but I can already hear the continuous drone of traffic on the hiway, which is about two blocks away. - We hope that everybody heading out, drives carefully, and arrives safe.


Yesterday was quite busy, as I had a shipment of Opti come in, not hard to work up a sweat, loading and unloading, especially when the temperature is +30.  -  Hard to believe, but it will soon be time to deliver snowmobile oil to my dealers.


We had  Marcus stop in just after lunch, on route to pick up a load of stone for one of his work projects - it’s been a while since we saw him, as his business kept him away from our WTC Trial at Scotch Creek - He looks as fit as ever, and was soon trying out my Evo 4T in the back yard ( sickening to see how easy he flicked it around !!)  - Having had a Rev 4 some years back, he still has a strong affection for the 4 bangers, so we might see him on one, come the new year.


Jimmy called, and we chatted about the hot weather and drought conditions in his area - the lake is very low, and he is being kept busy with boat repairs ( props don’t like logs or sand-bars)


In Trials news, there is a round of the British Championship happening this weekend in Scotland  - and I see that Sheffield has been confirmed for a World Indoor in January 2016.


And how about this old action shot that Heath posted ? - not sure who the riders is.

Thursday July 30th 2015

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Although we are still in the middle of a very hot Summer, the daylight hours are getting shorter, and I noticed this last week, when I was up at 4am to find it still dark. - we lose a few minutes every day - but it’s still great to be able to ride in the evening, and the Fall is my favorite time for being out in the woods.


Here’s some info: from Cycle News .

Extreme off-road star Jonny Walker says he’ll compete in next month’s KENDA AMA Tennessee Knockout. Photography by Future7MediaOne of the world’s best extreme off-road racer, Red Bull KTM’s Jonny Walker, will compete in this year’s KENDA AMA Tennessee Knockout (TKO) at the Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, August 15-16.“I’m really looking forward to this opportunity to race in the States,” Walker said. “With so much of my racing taking place in Europe, getting the chance to race against new riders on a track I’ve not been to before is really exciting. Things have been going really, really well so far this year so it would be great to keep my winning streak going. I know that guys like Cody Webb will be tough to beat, but I can’t wait to race against him and guys like Taylor Robert outdoors. It’s also going to be great to race in front of some of my US fans and sponsors. It’s going to be a blast”.As Walker noted, he will face off against Cody Webb, the two time defending KENDA Tennessee Knockout winner. The two riders have raced each other several times in the past as both competed in the 2015 FIM SuperEnduro Championship, where Webb finished second and Walker third in the championship. Webb has also traveled to Europe on a few occasions to compete at Erzberg and the Tough One events, where Walker came out ahead but that was a few years ago and on more familiar terrain for Walker. So the two should be well matched when Webb is on home turf.

Unqualified Expert/Pro and amateur riders race on Saturday, August 15, with the top finishers earning the opportunity to move on to the Sunday Expert Knockout rounds. On Sunday, riders will compete in a very tough and spectator friendly four-round Knockout racing format. The Sunday racing will start with a “Hot Lap” at 9:30 am central time.


We had a chat to Sammy (King) not (Miller) last night to catch up on his news from the trip to Calgary and a chance to ride with Sean & Kevin. - seems he twisted his knee a bit, but says it’s pretty much OK now. - I think Taff, Kevin & Sean are heading to Golden this weekend to ride some of the High Country with Sam. - With traffic being brutal on Summer long weekends - I prefer to stay off the roads, if possible.


Thinking about the domination by Honda in the World Trials arena with Toni Bou, It’s worth remembering, that it was Sammy Miller, who played a very big role in developing the all conquering four strokes, and while Sammy preferred the long stroke design, - (Successful in the hands of Rob Shepard) - Honda elected to go with the higher revving short stroke engine in the Rothman machines, ridden by the great Eddie Lejeune and Steve Saunders. - Here is a pic of Saunders in the Scottish ( Courtesy Trials Guru)

Steve Saunders (RTL270 Rothmans Honda HRC) on Lagnaha in the 1986 Scottish Six Days - © – Iain Lawrie, Kinlochleven.

And here is another great Scottish shot by Makuto Sugitani of Jordi Tarres on the TR 34 Factory Beta.

Wednesday July 29th 2015

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Here is a pic of Michel Belanger getting his Beta checked over at the US World Round - You can see more pics taken by Hugo Piche on the ATAQ website.


Yesterday I did a trip to Kelowna to deliver Opti.  - and called in at Kelowna Yamaha to see Randy - had a chat about the recent passing of his Dad, Denny McBee - who was one of the Calgary Motorcycle Clubs’  staunch members, we used to always see him around Walt’s Shop on a Saturday morning on  10th Street, - it was quite the meeting place during the 70’s. - Denny also raced Cross Country and was usually at the Moose Mountain race, along with the late Ted McCann and Mel Skaar. - Fun times.

Randy gave me this old original Sammy Miller Catalogue which he found in his Dad’s stuff - it is in mint condition, and was the start of his hugely successful  mail order business, I began Importing goods from Sammy in 1970 and carried on for about 30 years, until he retired.


With the August long weekend coming up, we are not sure what we are doing - the weather is going to be extremely hot, with temperatures well above 30 degrees for the next week - not my favorite time for bike riding - I prefer staying out of the sun. - I think many riding areas like Ioco are still shut down because of the Forest Fire danger.

Interesting bit of industry news >>

£4 million Government funding for Norton Motorcycles

29 July 2015 by Birdy
It was announced yesterday by Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, that Norton Motorcycles will be benefiting from a new initiatives aimed at advancing British industries.

Chancellor Osborne confirmed that Norton Motorcycles would receive £4 million in funding as part of the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI).

Yesterday, Osborne visited Norton HQ to reveal the grant, which aims to produce 600 new jobs at the firm and its 11 industrial partners/

The AMSCI fund will also contribute towards the genesis of a British Motorcycle Manufacturing Academy (BMMA) to mould the next generation of engineering talent.

Stuart Garner, Chief executive at Norton said: “Training and skills are key to our industry. Putting down a dedicated Academy for the British motorcycling industry finally gives us a sustainable future.”

The new jobs will see 159 directly employed by Norton, the rest across its 11 partners, including 200 apprentices, over the next 5 years.

Part of the funding will also go towards a new 10,000 square feet manufacturing facility with research and development that aims to build a new green motorcycle in the next two years.

The move is an worthy one, especially with new motorcycle registrations growing month-on-month through 2015 so far.

Garner continued: “To see solid government support for the manufacturing industry like this is hugely heart-warming and gives us great confidence in bringing the industry back to the UK, creating jobs, learning forgotten skills and enabling exports around the world – all in the full knowledge that we have great support and a solid base back home.”

Good luck, Norton!

Tuesday July 28th 2015

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Here’s a nice shot of Beta riders enjoying the countryside in Romania - Sounds like a great way to spend a holiday, rent a bike and go on guided tours.


As the month of July winds down, it looks like the weather in the Valley is heating up again with +33 temperatures promised for the long weekend.

The only event that I’ve heard of, is the Moose Mountain Cross Country in Alberta, which has been going on since the 1940’s - In those days, riders started at the base of the Mountain located near Bragg Creek, and raced to the fire lookout at the top. - The event was moved to the Forestry area North West of Cochrane in later years., but it still attracts a good turn out of riders.


Congrats go out today to Michel Belanger of Quebec, who had a great weekend at the World Trial in Rhode Island, garnering a 6th on Saturday and 5th on Sunday, we are hoping to get some pics to post later. - It must have been a great experience for the  only Canadian entered .


Monday July 27th 2015

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Sunday July 26th 2015

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

As can be seen by the results posted late yesterday from the US World Round - Toni Bou absolutely blitzed the competition in Round one, losing half the points of runner up Adam Raga, but the big surprise was  Casales finishing 3rd on the Beta - his first time ever on the Podium at this level. - It will be interesting to see who does what today, but the 2015 World Championship has already been decided in the 125cc Class, with Beta rider Fioletti  taking the win.


In other news, Former World Moto GP Champ Casey Stoner crashed hard at the Suzuka 8 hour Endurance race today, when the Honda throttle stuck wide open while he was leading, sending him tumbling into the gravel, he sustained a broken collar bone and a broken leg.


The Hungarian Formula One race is on as I write this, and we have a Ferrari 1-2 at the moment,  which makes a change - the Mercedes team of Rossberg and Hamilton are lying 3-4 at the moment.


Weather is cool again today, but no overnight rain - I will be going out for a ride with Josef - both of us on the Evo  4 bangers - will take some pics and report back later.


Saturday July 25th 2015

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

“IT’S RAINING”  - Finally we are getting some relief from the heat wave !! - The Forest Fire hazard should soon be under control.

Although we had a “Sprinkle” yesterday - this did nothing, so the steady rain overnight and this morning is very welcome. - Maybe I will get to take some “Rainy day” pics this weekend.


Not much news as yet from “Stepping Stones” New York, where the teams will be out today checking the sections for the World Round. - Seems there was a bit of a panic, as only the Beta Team had bikes up until late yesterday, as everything else was held up in customs. However, everything eventually arrived.


For the first time in a while, the winner of the main event, is not a forgone conclusion, as Adam Raga has been on a roll lately - ironically only since the Gas Gas Factory declared Bankruptcy. - Still lots of speculation as to what Adam will ride next year, - if he keeps winning, will he keep his Gasser with support from sponsors, or will he go for another Factory contract, maybe with his mentor Jordi Tarres ?

In other news from Europe, there is a rumor that the 2016 Sherco, will be all new - with some insiders saying it will be more like the Scorpa, which is also owned by Marc Tessier - keeping manufacturing costs under control, will be critical in the next few years, for all the Factories, so this could be a smart move ( Similar to the KTM/Husky approach)

We have not heard or seen anything yet on the 2016 Beta Trials bikes, but they are usually the last manufacturer to reveal  their secrets for the upcoming season. - If I was betting, I would say that we can expect some big changes for 2016 - maybe a brand new engine?


Anybody looking for a nice old Twin Shock? - Ian Dargis from Victoria has decided to sell his immaculate 1975 Honda TL 250 - you can contact me for further info:

In other Vintage chat - we have heard that Chris Wilson from High River  Alberta, still has his old Royal Enfield, but not sure if he wants to sell it or not.

Beta Canada Importer Steve Howland just posted this pic of Michel Belanger ready to start  in the International Class at the US World round. - Good Luck Michel.

More News as it happens>>>

Meanwhile in Formula One Action from Hungary >>

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

Lewis Hamilton will start from pole position for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
Attila Kisbenedek / AFP/Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton has claimed his ninth pole position of the 2015 season ahead of Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Hamilton was able to top his teammate and championship rival Nico Rosberg, who was struggling with the handling on his Mercedes.

Ferrari was the best of the rest, with Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen qualifying in third and fifth positions, respectively. Daniel Ricciardo was sandwiched between the two scarlet cars in fourth. Valtteri Bottas (sixth) outqualified his teammate Felipe Massa (eighth), with Bottas running a new front wing on his Williams car while Massa, behind Bottas in the points, was running the old one.


And here is the first pic of the new TRS Trials bike - Jordi continues to keep everybody in suspense.

Friday July 24th 2015

Friday, July 24th, 2015

Outlaw has gone Four Stroke -

Yesterday I was out on the Beta Evo 300 4T, for the first time - I met up with Bruce Beauchamp from Kamloops, and we parked at Yankee Flats. - The plan was just to get some time on the bike, so we kept out of the main bush, ( fire hazard) and rode the neat open trails up to the Powerline, then I suggested we go over to Salmon Lake - This is a popular fishing hole, hidden in the back Country, with access available by 4wd or similar. - We were surprised to see clear skies and no smoke in the area, and as it was a weekday, the campsite was deserted..

I must say the 4T was perfect for this type of venture, and just burbled along in 4th or 5th gear for most of the time - nice to have such a quiet bike. - but one of the best things about this Beta, is how easily it starts, hot or cold was always a one or two kick affair.

Naturally, not having been on a 4 banger, for some years, riding a new model requires some getting used to - I was careful not to tackle  anything too difficult on route -  but was tempted when we arrived at the muddy creek section, which rather surprisingly, has quite a lot of water rushing down.

All in all, it was a very pleasant afternoon, a treat for Bruce who has never been out riding with another Trials guy, even though he has had an old Sherco for at least a couple of years - I let him try the 4T back at the parking lot - and couldn’t help but notice that he rides without covering the clutch with one finger. - We did a bit of coaching, showing him how to get over logs - this technique requires practice on the 4t, but glad to say I was able to demonstrate the way to do this, and Bruce was soon doing quite well, on his Sherco - as everybody knows, the rider has to do so many different things, all in a fraction of a second, in order to complete many of these maneuvers. ( The things that good riders make look so easy)

Today, I will clean up the bike, and make some fine adjustments to the riding position, before heading out again on Sunday - BUT - this is definitely  one Fun machine to  ride. !!


Formula One is in Hungary this weekend o Lewis Hamilton was fastest in Friday qualifying - while Sergio Perez had this little incident.

Force India driver Sergio Perez of Mexico, green helmet,  stands next to his overturned car during the first practice session for the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix on the Hungaroring circuit in Mogyorod, 23 kms north-east of Budapest, Hungary, Friday, July 24, 2015. The 2015 Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary will take place on July 26. (Zsolt Czegledi/MTI via AP)


Scorpa have released details of their new 2016 line-up  -  not sure if Ryan Young will have anything on display at the US World round this weekend, but the French bike looks pretty nice and seems to be getting more popular.

Thursday July 23rd 2015

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Here is the first pic from Rhode Island, where riders are gathering to compete in Round #7 of the World Trials Championship. - It shows Welsh lad Iwan Roberts in the Beta USA pits - looks like they have a nice set-up.


In other World news, it appears that Marzocchi  are winding things down, as they have failed to find a buyer for their  Mountain bike and Moto Forks business. - This will put 138 people out of work in the Italian and USA plants.  Fortunately this won’t effect Beta as they use Sachs components.

Tenneco Announces Discontinuation of Marzocchi

Tenneco Announces Discontinuation of Marzocchi

A few months ago, we reported on the trouble brewing at Marzocchi, and now that trouble has materialized into something much more tangible. Marzocchi’s owner Tenneco has just announced the intended discontinuation of its motorcycle and mountain bike suspension business, which employs 138 people in Italy, North America, and Taiwan, citing “continuing market challenges in the two-wheeler business” as the main reason. Tenneco has been actively seeking a buyer for the Marzocchi business as a whole over the past few months, but today it would appear as though that search has not been fruitful.

Reading between the lines, it is clear that the Italian plant (which only produces the moto line) can not be made competitive, and that nobody is interested in buying that business in its current form. A buyer could still acquire the brand and what’s left of the assets and resume moto production elsewhere, leaving the Italian staff as the real losers here. They could end up shutting down for good.

As for the MTB side, there are still many possible scenarios as this sad part of Marzocchi’s story continues to write itself. A buyer could still snap up the MTB business and carry on from where they stand today, with production continuing in Taiwan and minimal staff elsewhere. That seems to be what Marzocchi MTB itself is saying today, via social media


More Industry News >>

Honda’s CRF230F was the second best-selling off-road motorcycle during the first six months of 2015.

The off-road motorcycle market took a backwards slide during the first half of 2015 when compared the same period last year. Sales of off-road bikes declined by 5.8 percent with 16,056 bikes sold – 980 less than during the first six months of the 2014 calendar year (17036).

Honda once again led the way in total off-road sales with 4640 new bikes finding homes. The figure is a 2.2 percent increase for Honda, one of only two companies to report a positive growth in the off-road segment – the other being Suzuki (up 3.7 percent).

Yamaha was the second biggest off-road bike seller with 4500 sales (down 1.7 percent) followed by Suzuki with 2133 sales (up 3.7 percent) and Kawasaki with 1630 sale (down 11.9 percent).

While Honda’s CRF50 was again the best-selling off-road bike with 676 sales, the CRF230 closed the gap to within 32 sales on the back of a 47.7 increase in sales, up to 644 units.

In the adventure touring segment of the road bike market the BMW R 1200 GS and Kawasaki KLR650 continued their David and Goliath battle for top spot. The tech-laden BMW just held out the ageless Kawasaki, 213 to 196. Lurking in third place is Triumph’s Tiger XC with 179 sales followed by the Honda CB500X (175) and BMW R 1200 GS Adventure (164). Just 50 sales covered the top five best-selling adventure touring motorcycles.

The big mover during the opening six months of the year was the ATV market with 11,409 sales, an increase of 11.3 percent over the opening six months of 2014. All but one manufacture recorded a positive growth. Honda (3603), Polaris (2573) and Yamaha (1823) led the way.
We had a couple of visitors yesterday - first Josef stopped by in his beautiful Mercedes convertible , to pick up some stuff & chat about a ride for Sunday - then later Jake from Drayton Valley pulled in with his family as they are vacationing in the area. - He still has the Evo 200 that he bought from me  at the Falun Trial back in 2010, and is still very happy with it.


Although it’s very early, the Doves are already calling outside my office window - we have quite a few that live in the trees near the house, no doubt the Quail will be starting up pretty soon - ( nothing like living in the Country)


Today we are expecting Martin to stop by to pick up some parts and also Bruce from Kamloops - if all goes to plan, I will take them for a ride up on Vernon Mountain later - this will also give me a chance to try  out my new toy - the Beta Evo 300 4T - watch for pics later, of my first ride on a “Thumper” for many years.

Looks like Sam had a good couple of days riding with Sean and Kevin in Alberta - Not sure if they just rode at Blackfoot or went out to McLean Creek.   - Kev posted a video clip of the lads doing some “Wall of Death” antics on the stuff they use at the Red Bull Rocks & logs.


Taff called last night - we talked about his busy schedule coaching Rugby etc, - he is planning on going for a ride on the RR 250 this weekend out at Hinton.


Wednesday July 22nd 2015

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

The strange weather continues in Western Canada, with a snow-storm in Alberta, and forest fires burning in BC - In the Okanagan, we have had new fires flare up every day for the past week, keeping the air very smokey and forcing people on the Westside road out of their homes. - Last night we were over having a BBQ at my daughter’s Condo, which is set up high on Middleton Mountain, and we could see the smoke from three different fires burning, including a fresh one on Silver Star road. -However, glad to report that the water bombers and Helicopters are doing an excellent job, plus of course the ground crews.

Here is a shot taken South of Edmonton yesterday - very threatening cloud formation.


Following a brief pause in proceedings the 2015 FIM Trial World Championship will continue this weekend coming as round seven of the series is hosted on the opposite side of the Atlantic at Stepping Stones, USA. This marks the second and final flyaway event of the current season with the action having stretched from Asia to America during this year’s campaign. The USA has a great history with the sport of Trial, having been part of the FIM Trial World Championship since it was inaugurated way back in 1975. Over the following four decades the ‘States’ has hosted Trial GPs on a regular basis, the last encounter on American soil and the last time the Wagner Cup was presented being at Sequatchie in 2013. The Wagner Cup is presented to the winner of the US Trial GP and celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year.

During the early years Malcolm Rathmell, Martin Lampkin and Charles Coutard were among the winning names on the now famous Wagner Cup before America’s very own Trial legend Bernie Schreiber twice took victories at his home GP. The second of his wins proved to be Schreiber’s last on US turf and came in 1979 during a season when the towering and charismatic figure seized the FIM Trial World Championship. To this day and thirty-six years later, Bernie remains the only American rider ever to claim this most coveted prize in Trial.

The eighties saw a variety of different winners lift the Wagner Cup, these included French rider Gilles Burgat, Belgian legend Eddy Lejeune, a young John Lampkin, France’s triple FIM Trial World Champion Thierry Michaud, the late Diego Bosis and finally, but no less significantly a certain Jordi Tarres as he started his golden era and domination of the slow speed discipline.

Tarres was to continue his winning ways at the US Trial Grand Prix through into the next decade as he was again victorious in 1990, 1994 and 1996 to add to his previous two successes and to take his tally to five American GP wins to leave himself joint second in the all time winners list for this particular event. A baby faced Dougie Lampkin was then to declare himself the new American President as he notched up four triumphs before the turn of the new century. During the latter part of the 1990’s Lampkin’s reign was twice interrupted, first by Marc Colomer and then by his British compatriot Steve Colley.

With no US GP in the actual year of the new millennium, American Trial fans had to wait until 2001 before the FIM Trial World Championship returned stateside. On this occasion it was Adam Raga – Gas Gas who shared the spoils with Lampkin over the two days of competition in Goldendale. This marked Raga’s maiden Trial GP win and was his first of five in America to see him draw level with Tarres in the all time US rankings. Dougie claimed two more wins in the USA, these both coming in Duluth – 2002 and 2005 – to take him to the top of the pile in terms of triumphs on American soil. A place he still holds today with seven wins in total.

Over the last decade it is Takahisa Fujinami- Repsol Honda who has shown his liking for the Wagner Cup. The highly popular Japanese rider has won the US Trial GP wagner cup in storya further four times since his initial triumph in Duluth in 2002. With five famous American victories to his name Takahisa sits second in the all time US honours list beside Raga and Tarres, but still two shy of his great friend Lampkin who has now retired from the series. However both Raga and Fujinami have the opportunity to increase their respective tallies as they compete in this weekend’s Trial GP at Stepping Stones.

One man who will be looking to improve his showing at the Wagner Cup this time around is reigning champion and current series leader Toni Bou – Repsol Honda who has only ever won once in America, that being back in 2008. Moreover having been beaten by Raga three times in a row at recent GPs never has it been more important for Bou to fully exploit his forthcoming trans-Atlantic trip.


The above is the Official FIM Press Release regarding the World Trial this weekend - most of the Europeans will be already arriving in New York State, and we have heard of a few people who are making the drive down from Eastern Canada. - It should be an interesting event.