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International Motorcycling Advocate Deb Butitta Dies in Crash

By General Posts

June 4, 2022: International Motorcycling Advocate Deb Butitta Dies in Arizona Crash

It is with a heavy heart and a great sense of loss that the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) shares the passing of Deborah Butitta. Deb had been committed to serving and protecting motorcyclists’ rights at the state, federal and international levels during the last four decades. Deb was taken from us due to internal injuries suffered in a motorcycle crash after a truck turned left in front of her on June 3, 2022.

Deb was particularly active with ABATE of Arizona, holding many different offices through the years, and in 2001 was selected as the first designated lobbyist for the Arizona Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (AZCMC). Deb was a member of many state motorcyclists’ rights organizations, including the MMA of Arizona. She also served on the MRF Board of Directors for many years and was instrumental in the formation of MRF A&E (Awareness and Education), a 501(c)(3) charitable, non-profit organization created to assist the MRF in providing resources to promote motorcycle awareness and ‘share the road’ programs, along with all aspects of motorcycle safety education including rider training. A highly successful businesswoman in her own right, Deb was extremely well connected, not only in the motorcycling community and industry, but legislatively and in some very influential social circles as well. These relationships were of incredible value to the bikers of Arizona and the entire country.

Deb’s accolades and awards are many, including being inducted into the MRF Hall of Fame in 2020 and the Sturgis Hall of Fame and Museum in 2021. Deb is a past winner of the MRF President’s Cup (2003), the MRF Founder’s Award (2017), and the MRF Lifetime Achievement Award (2020). Among her many other duties, Deb served as the MRF’s State Representative for Arizona for 14 years. For several years now, the MRF has given the ‘Deborah Butitta Award’ to it’s highest performing State Representative in her honor.

A true leader, Deb had a profound influence on many of her fellow activists. Few people have dedicated so much of their life or contributed as much to motorcycling as Deb Butitta. Personally and professionally, her passing leaves a tremendous void in our “family”.

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation: The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders.

Visit: http://mrf.org

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AMA Champion Roland Sands and Nitro Circus star Andy Bell team up

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Roland Sands, left, Andy Bell and Erik Bond inside the joint headquarters of Roland Sands Design and Sweatpants Media

from https://lbbusinessjournal.com/ by Brandon Richardson

‘Nitro Circus’ star, ex-motorcycle racer team up to open creative business campus in Zaferia

A gearhead and an adrenaline junkie meet at a trade show. There is no punchline.

Andy Bell and Roland Sands hit it off immediately nearly 20 years ago and have been friends ever since. The two went on to create separate businesses—Roland Sands Design and Sweatpants Media—and, after years of operating out of their respective headquarters, have come together to create a joint home base in Long Beach’s Zaferia neighborhood.

The companies together purchased a multi-building property at 1365 Obispo Ave. with a vision for a creative campus. Along with their firms, the graphics company Spin Imaging and Moxi Roller Skates also will call the campus home in a building separate from Sands’ and Bell’s space.

“We just wanted like-minded but different companies here to fuel a vibe of people that are stoked and doing rad stuff,” Bell said.

“People we can hang out with,” Sands added. “Fabrication, 3D fabrication, film, photography, graphics, printing—it’s all here. Almost any project is possible here, and that’s a pretty special thing.”

The friends almost missed out on the space, Sands said. The building was listed in 2018, but he was not in a position to take on the project by himself—and Bell was not ready to jump into such a massive undertaking. But when another buyer went into escrow on the site, the pair said they instantly knew they made a mistake.

“This place was built in the ’40s, and it’s gorgeous,” Sands said.

After months in escrow, the deal fell through, and Bell and Sands pounced. They bought the property for about $3 million in July 2019.

The Roland Sands Design custom motorcycle shop inside the company’s new Long Beach headquarters

The tenant had a few months left on their lease, so the roughly $2.5 million buildout did not get underway until just before the pandemic, which slowed progress on the rehab. But after nearly two years, the companies are celebrating their grand opening Saturday.

The space features a retail store (open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), a screening theater, 3D and other fabrication facilities, a wood-working space, a motorcycle garage, design rooms and a slew of offices. It also includes a bar, a two-chair barbershop for special events for clients that could also be utilized by a tattoo artist, and dozens of motorcycles and helmets on display.

A third building is currently set up as a jam space for musician friends of Bell and Sands. The room has a stage and is full of vintage and modern musical equipment. The two said they have toyed with the idea of turning it into a legitimate music venue, but that won’t happen until well into the future, if at all.

Bell and Sands each had a career riding motorcycles—the latter racing on the roads of the U.S., the former flying through the air in freestyle motocross—before they met each other in the early 2000s at a motorcycle trade show in Indianapolis.

Sands, a Long Beach native, grew up around motorcycles.

“I was fully immersed in the culture because my dad was in the motorcycle industry,” Sands said, adding that he would work in his dad’s shop as a kid.

In 2005, after a racing career that included winning the 1998 American Motorcyclist Association 250cc Grand Prix Championship, Sands turned his success—and name—into a brand. The firm specializes in creating custom bikes and parts (some of which are 3D-printed). The company has grown to include a clothing and apparel line as well as a racing team.

Bell, meanwhile, was not so much into the technical side of the sport.

“I’m more of an adrenaline junkie,” Bell said, sitting in his new office complete with a beer tap. “I never liked building and working on the s—, I liked riding and jumping them.”

After his professional freestyle motocross career, Bell went on to become a stuntman, appearing on numerous TV shows and films, including “Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory” and “Jackass 3D.” Most notably, Bell starred in the “Nitro Circus” films and MTV series alongside Travis Pastrana and a host of other extreme-sport athletes.

Bell founded Sweatpants Media in 2012.

“I needed a change from getting hurt for a living and all the crap we used to do,” Bell said. “I didn’t know anything about production, but I’d been around it as talent. I’ve never owned a real business before and a decade later, here we are.”

Today, Sweatpants has numerous high-end clients, including Toyota, Red Bull, Mercedes, Lexus and Japanese powertool manufacturer Makita. With over 15 million views on YouTube, Sweatpants’ “The Pitch” for Toyota was the most widely viewed commercial in the U.S. in the third quarter, Bell said.

“The Pitch” – 2022 Toyota GR Supra Commercial by Sweatpants Media (15 million+ views since June 2021)

Bell and Sands try to utilize each other and their respective businesses as much as possible. The companies have teamed up on projects, including creating a custom bike for BMW with an accompanying video. After the premiere, the pair and their wives rode BMW bikes around Italy’s Lake Como.

On another project, Sweatpants flew three Toyota trucks into Vietnam and then drove them across the country. Sands and Bell were two of the three drivers who made the trek.

“We don’t like to fake s—,” Bell said. “Instead of pretending we were in Vietnam and pretending we flew trucks under helicopters, we actually did it. There is a tinge of adventure in everything we do.”

“We like to combine work and play,” Sands added.

Sands convinced Bell to move into a house around the corner from his on Naples Island in 2010. The best friends were neighbors for years before Sands moved to Park Estates.

For the last 12 years, Los Alamitos was home to Sands’ business, but he said he has always wanted to open a space in his hometown, closer to where he lives. For nearly nine years, Sweatpants operated out of the historic Villa Riviera in Downtown. But the two are looking forward to the quasi-business merger.

“We’re stoked. It’s fun being best friends and business partners,” Bell said. “There’s a little bit of yelling and a lot of hugging; a lot of wanting to punch each other and then a lot of wanting to drink beers together.”

“Thankfully for us,” Sands added, “we want to drink with each other more than we want to fight.”

The Roland Sands Design retail space at the company’s new joint headquarters with Sweatpants Media

AFT Springfield Mile Racing Action

By General Posts

by Elliot Doering

Sept. 5th and 6th, 2021
Springfield, Illinois
American Flat Track Series

One of the all-time great mile track legends – #9 – Jared Mees (#9 Indian Motorcycles Indian FTR-750) dominated the “Labor Day Weekend” Springfield Mile 1 before a packed house at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, home of “ The World’s Fastest Mile.”

Mees would hold onto the victory by just 0.116 seconds against defending American Flat track series champion #1, Briar Bauman who finished 2nd.

Click Here to Read the Race Report on Bikernet.com

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Indian Wrecking Crew Battle for Championship

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Indian Motorcycle Wrecking Crew Rider Jared Mees Claims Lead Following Sacramento Mile Doubleheader

With One Race Remaining, Indian Motorcycle Racing Two-Man Factory Team Set to Battle for 2021 SuperTwins Grand National Championship

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. (September 13, 2021) – Indian Motorcycle Racing, presented by Progressive Motorcycle Insurance, and its two-man factory race team are set to battle it out for the brand’s fifth consecutive rider championship. Jared Mees, winner of the last four races, took control and secured the top spot on the SuperTwins leaderboard with just one race remaining. Wrecking Crew teammate and reigning two-time SuperTwins champion, Briar Bauman, finished the weekend with back-to-back third-place finishes.

On Saturday, Mees wasted no time getting out ahead of the Main early and fast. He came into the weekend with first place in mind, as he makes a late-season push to claim his seventh-career Grand National Championship. The race quickly became a competition for the other two podium positions, as Mees distanced himself with a comfortable lead that allowed him to cruise past the finish line while celebrating with both hands in the air. Six riders joined the battle for second and third, which led to last-lap heroics by Indian Motorcycle privateer Jarod Vanderkooi, as he secured his fourth second-place finish of the season.

During Sunday’s Main, Mees took control after a few laps and began to distance himself. Bauman again caught himself in a battle for second – exchanging passes with Indian Motorcycle privateer Sammy Halbert. Both Bauman and Halbert were followed closely by Vanderkooi and fellow Indian Motorcycle privateer Bryan Smith, who recently made his retirement announcement and was riding Mees’ back-up bike. Just as Mees finished with ease, the pack battling for second saw Smith make an incredible two-rider pass and finish his legendary 20-year career with a second-place finish.

“What an amazing weekend in Sacramento. Not only do we have our two star riders set to go head-to-head for the 2021 championship, but fans got to witness Bryan Smith finish his illustrious career with a second-place, podium finish and take one last victory lap with his good friend and long-time rival, Jared Mees,” said Gary Gray, Vice President of Racing, Service & Technology. “This is what racing is all about, and exactly the type of finale the fans want to see, as Briar strives for his third-consecutive championship and Jared his seventh.”

With 60 career wins, six championships, and multiple records, Mees has been vocal about his career goal to reach Scottie Parker’s record of nine championships. Leading Bauman by four points, Mees has finished strong, winning five of the last six races, and put himself in a position to recapture the No. 1 plate.

The 2021 AFT season will conclude with the Charlotte Half-Mile on Friday, October 8, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. For more information on Indian Motorcycle Racing, visit IndianMotorcycle.com and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Meet The White House’s New Chief Climate Change Skeptic

By General Posts

William Happer, a Princeton scientist who is doubtful of the dangers of climate change, appears to be leading a White House challenge to the government’s conclusion that global warming is a threat.

Twenty five years ago, William Happer had an encounter with the White House that ended badly.

At the time, in 1993, the Princeton professor was taking a break from academia to direct scientific research at the U.S. Department of Energy. He turned a skeptical eye toward one of then-Vice President Al Gore’s favorite issues: the risks posed by chemicals eating away at ozone in the stratosphere and letting in dangerous ultraviolet radiation. As the story goes, Happer went to the White House and told Gore’s staff he saw no evidence that the ozone hole actually was hurting anyone.

Gore was annoyed, and Happer lost his job.

Today, Happer is back in the White House, still fighting against what he considers unfounded claims that our globe is in danger. But this time, his cause is backed by the man in the Oval Office.

Happer, 79, joined the staff of President Trump’s National Security Council last fall. And according to documents first leaked to The Washington Post, he appears to be pushing the White House to mount a challenge to the government’s official assessment of climate change, which calls climate change a serious national security threat.

On Thursday, the chairs of four different committees in the House of Representatives sent a letter to President Trump expressing concern about “recent reports that the National Security Council (NSC) is planning to assemble a secret panel, led by a discredited climate change denier, to undermine the overwhelming scientific consensus on the nature and threats of climate change.”

The four Democrats called it “deeply concerning that Dr. Happer appears to be spearheading” that effort.

Happer is an intriguing and controversial figure. He was born in India when it was a British colony, the son of a Scottish military officer and an American medical missionary. His mother, with young Will in tow, spent part of World War II working as a physician at the secret Manhattan Project site in Oak Ridge, Tenn. The family later settled in North Carolina.

Happer became a physicist. He taught at Columbia University and joined the faculty at Princeton University in 1980.

“He is a damn good scientist,” says Steven Koonin, a prominent physicist who is now a professor at New York University and who has known Happer for 30 years. “There are two really significant contributions associated with him.”

One of them made it possible to capture much better images of people’s lungs; the other allows astronomers to see the stars more clearly.

At the same time, Happer acquired a reputation as a contrarian, quick to challenge conclusions that struck him as unproven — especially when it came to environmental science.

That reputation was cemented by Happer’s confrontation with Gore’s staff over risks posed by the ozone hole. The incident was widely covered in scientific publications — Physics Today ran an article headlined “Happer Leaves DOE Under Ozone Cloud For Violating Political Correctness.”

Koonin thinks Happer was doing what a scientist should, demanding better evidence. “I think it sensitized him to the squishiness, if you will, of a lot of the environmental science,” he says.

Some of Happer’s scientific critics, though, see it as something more: a visceral distrust of scientists who study environmental risks.

Over the past decade, Happer has waged a fierce campaign aimed at debunking fears of global warming caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

In a speech to a 2015 conference organized by the Heartland Institute, which has railed against restrictions on emissions from fossil fuels, Happer scoffed at these fears, calling them an Alice-in-Wonderland fantasy. “When I got into this area and started learning about it, I learned that when I looked at CO2, I should assume that it caused harmful warming, extreme weather, Noah’s flood, you know. I remember thinking, ‘Are they mad?’ ”

Carbon dioxide is actually good for the planet, Happer claims; it’s like fertilizer and makes crops more productive.

“We’ve got to push back vigorously on the demonization of fossil fuels,” he said in his speech. “They’re not demons at all. They’re enormous servants to us.”

Some of Happer’s colleagues at Princeton are reluctant to talk publicly about him; it’s like discussing a relationship that got messy.

“I mean, I liked him. We went off for coffee after our committee meetings a couple of times,” says Michael Bender, an emeritus professor of geoscience and climate researcher.

Bender says he wouldn’t do it now, though. It’s partly because of the scientific dispute, because he thinks Happer is misreading the evidence. But it’s also because of Happer’s style — he’s labeled climate science a cult and accused other scientists of whipping up climate fears to boost their own careers. Most offensive for Bender: Happer once said the “demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the Jews under Hitler.”minnn

“You know, there came a point where he attacked my colleagues’ integrity,” Bender says, “and I felt like I couldn’t have a cordial relationship with him after that.”

Happer, who last fall went to work in the White House as a senior aide to the National Security Council, wasn’t authorized to comment for this story.

Robert Socolow, another Princeton colleague, has mixed feelings about Happer’s post. Socolow’s own biography — first a physicist, then a specialist on the environment — makes him a kind of bridge between Happer and the environmental scientists on Princeton’s campus. He doesn’t doubt Happer’s technical grasp of climate science but says that “everybody has areas of irrationality.”

“I think the environment in general, and climate change in particular, is an area of Will’s irrationality. But nonetheless, I think he can accomplish something” in his current job, Socolow says.

Socolow hopes that while in the White House, Happer will behave less like an argumentative physicist and more like the kind of person who has to prepare for every possibility — including those that strike him as unlikely.

“A military person doesn’t underestimate the enemy. A business person doesn’t underestimate the competition,” Socolow says. And even if, as Happer insists, there’s uncertainty about the course of climate change, the U.S. can’t afford to underestimate those risks.