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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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“America’s Queen of Speed” vacates record setting BUB 7 Streamliner after mass team resignations

By General Posts

PRESS RELEASE December 13, 2021

Valerie Thompson Vacates Pilot Seat in Manning’s BUB 7 Motorcycle Streamliner

America’s Queen of Speed cites lack of confidence after mass team resignations

Bonneville Salt Flats, UT (Dec. 13, 2021) – Ten-time land speed record holder Valerie Thompson announces, effective immediately, her separation from Denis Manning and the BUB 7 Streamliner Motorcycle team citing loss of confidence in the streamliner and designer Manning. Thompson has been piloting the former world-title holding motorcycle since 2016 and was Manning’s top funding source for the team.

Considered the “world’s fastest female motorcycle racer” after inking a 328 mph speed record, Thompson is an independent team owner/driver who competitively drag raced before focusing on land speed racing, eventually earning 10 Land Speed Records on two continents.

“We lost some essential crew members over the last few months,” said Thompson about her eroding confidence in the project. “The remaining crew contacted me late last week with the sad news they had quit and removed all their tools from the Team 7 Racing shop. Without this ‘super crew,’ I’m highly doubtful about the performance potential of the BUB 7 to re-capture the worlds fastest motorcycle title. More importantly, I’m concerned for my safety. These are not just my team mates, they’re my guardian angels.”

Each of the departing team members helped extract Thompson from the BUB 7 wreckage after a devastating 363 mph crash on Australia’s Lake Gairdner salt flats in 2018. “While I’m disappointed, I won’t be setting the fastest motorcycle record with Team 7 Racing, I’m heart broken the crew won’t see the results of their 36 months of painstaking re-building work. Each of them has volunteered countless hours in this quest. They deserve better,” added Thompson.

Thompson remains the principal driver of the dual-engine Target 550 streamliner owned by Oregonian and veteran land speed race team owner Marlo Treit. Treit’s 43-foot, 9,000-pound speed machine is vastly different than the BUB 7 motorcycle. The team’s goal is to break Tom Burkland’s 415 mph World Record set in 2008. Thompson exceeded the team’s testing goals on her first three test runs, clocking 218, 270 and 291 mph.

Thompson, often referred to as “America’s Queen of Speed,” is a lifetime member of multiple 200 and 300 MPH Clubs, a Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee, only female in the “World’s Top 10 Fastest Motorcycle Racers” rankings and aspiring pickleball pro.

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Valerie Thompson Background

Valerie Thompson is the World’s Fastest Female Motorcycle Racer and 10X land speed record holder with membership in the Sturgis Motorcycle Hall of Fame. She is a member eight 200 MPH Clubs, one 300 MPH Club and the only female in the World’s Top 10 Fastest Motorcycle Racers rankings.

In addition to her relentless pursuit of new speed records, Valerie’s goals include earning a professional rating in her favorite sport of pickleball. She started playing less than a year ago and has already collected 6 medals in her first five tournaments playing women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles.

Additional Information
Valerie Thompson Racing (Website): http://www.valeriethompsonracing.com

Rockets and Titans Movie Teaser: https://youtu.be/obtG4f3-c8k

Valerie Thompson Racing (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/ValerieRacing/
Valerie Thompson Racing (Twitter): https://twitter.com/valeriethompson
Valerie Thompson Racing (Instagram): https://www.instagram.com/valeriethompsonracing

300+mph Bonneville Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oT4fmXPol0&feature=youtu.be
363+ mph Australia World Speed Trials Crash Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yl8NDTyeHqg&feature=youtu.be
Team Target 550 & Marlo Treit: https://www.target550.com/
Target 550 Video: https://youtu.be/_F8Mi6hWzmo

Contact Governor Gavin Newsom TODAY about AB43- Traffic Safety Bill

By General Posts

National Motorists Association (NMA). California

Immediate Attention: Contact Governor Gavin Newsom TODAY about AB43–the Traffic Safety Bill

Dear California NMA Members,

AB43 is a “hair on fire” situation. The bill, generically titled “Traffic Safety,” was passed by the state Senate and Assembly earlier this month by votes of 30 to 5 and 68 to 5 respectively, with a few abstentions in both chambers. AB43 was forwarded to Governor Newsom on September 17th and is awaiting his action. That’s why the urgency. (Please send this out to family and friends as well).

Members should email their opposition to the bill to:
Governor Gavin Newsom
c/o Ronda.Paschal@gov.ca.gov –Deputy Legislative Secretary

The main issue is that the bill would reverse nearly 100 years of California speed limits being based on fact-based engineering by allowing the lowering of limits without any particular rationale. By disregarding proven traffic engineering standards and posting unrealistic limits, many more drivers traveling at conventional, safe speeds will be stopped and ticketed for noncompliance.

Police and community relations will be poorly served by a dramatic increase in traffic stops that serves no safety purpose. Speed traps will become much more prevalent.

The forced lowering of speed limits will also create a surge in traffic accidents. Most drivers obey their instincts of what is a safe rate of travel on a particular road. That’s why the prevailing methodology for setting the safest speed limit is based on the prevailing behavior of 85 percent of drivers. Studies have shown repeatedly that the 85th percentile rule for establishing speed limits minimizes crashes.

By reducing speed limits below those levels, there will be a wider variance of driving speeds on the road, some obeying the new numbers on the speed limit signs and more following natural driving patterns. The result will be more vehicular interactions between regular and slower drivers, creating the conditions for more crashes.

Write from your own perspective, which will give a much more impactful statement to the governor. We urge you to do it today!

Thank you for your support of motorists’ rights in California.

National Motorists Association – www.motorists.org

Do You Own a Motorcycle Airbag if You Have to Pay Extra to Inflate It?

By General Posts

by EditorDavid from https://tech.slashdot.org

“Pardon me while I feed the meter on my critical safety device,” quips a Hackaday article:
If you ride a motorcycle, you may have noticed that the cost of airbag vests has dropped. In one case, something very different is going on here. As reported by Motherboard, you can pick up a KLIM Ai-1 for $400 but the airbag built into it will not function until unlocked with an additional purchase, and a big one at that. So do you really own the vest for $400…?

The Klim airbag vest has two components that make it work. The vest itself is from Klim and costs $400 and arrives along with the airbag unit. But if you want it to actually detect an accident and inflate, you need load up a smartphone app and activate a small black box made by a different company: In&Motion. That requires your choice of another $400 payment or you can subscribe at $12 a month or $120 a year.

If you fail to renew, the vest is essentially worthless.

Hackaday notes it raises the question of what it means to own a piece of technology.

“Do you own your cable modem or cell phone if you aren’t allowed to open it up? Do you own a piece of software that wants to call home periodically and won’t let you stop it?”

This Motorcycle Airbag Vest Will Stop Working If You Miss a Payment
by Aaron Gordon from https://www.vice.com

Airbag vests are pretty much exactly what they sound like, garments worn by people who undertake exceedingly dangerous personal hobbies in order to slightly reduce the risk of severe bodily harm or death. For example, in 2018 the motorcycle racing circuit MotoGP made airbag vests mandatory.

Since then airbag vests have become steadily cheaper and therefore more popular among recreational riders. One motorcycle apparel company named Klim, for example, sells an airbag vest called the Ai-1 for $400. In the promotional video launching the product, product line manager Jayson Plummer called the vest “a whole new era of a platform where analog meets digital and results in a superior protection story.” Which is an interesting way of framing the fact that the vest includes an additional subscription-based payment option that will block the vest from inflating if the payments don’t go through.

This is possible because the vest includes two components: the vest itself made by Klim and the airbag system including a small black box made by a French company called In&Motion called the “In&Box detection module.” The module has the sensors and computer components that detect a crash and make the bags inflate.

The customer buys the vest for $400 which comes with the module, but then they must download an app and choose how to unlock the module so the vest actually works: either plonk down another $400 to own the whole shebang outright—bringing the total vest cost to $800—or, as Plummer put it in the video, opt for the “subscription-based model” of $12 per month or $120 per year.

In the video, Plummer promotes this as a good option for people who don’t ride year-round and therefore may only need a functioning vest a couple of months a year. But when Motherboard asked Klim about what would happen if, say, the customer forgot to turn the subscription back on and got into a crash, a customer service representative confirmed “then, no, it will not go off.” Likewise, if the customer’s card is declined, they will have a 30-day grace period to update their payment information before the vest stops working, according to Klim communication manager Lukas Eddy.

“When it comes to missing payments and airbag functionality, In&motion’s payment notifications and 30-day grace period are reasonable—at some point, if a person stops paying for a service, that service has to be suspended, just like your utilities or a cell phone plan,” Eddy wrote to Motherboard in an email. “Further, if someone pauses their subscription and forgets to restart it, they won’t actually be able to get their In&box into ride-ready status when they go to turn it on. If they then choose to ignore the indicators and ride with the In&box inactive, that’s on them and we can expect it not to inflate in the event of a crash.”

Considering all the truly impressive technology that goes into the Ai-1 airbag vest, the prospect of someone getting seriously maimed or even killed in a motorcycle crash because their subscription to their life-preserving physical barrier got turned off occupies a particularly morbid corner of Internet-of-Things dystopian horror. Sadly, it is also not that distant from what automakers have been doing for decades by making safety features premium offerings that cost extra, and what they will likely do now that over the air updates are rapidly spreading to every new vehicle.

Car companies are increasingly seeing dollar signs at the prospect of paywalling features that need to be unlocked via a software update. It is so easy for me to imagine automakers paywalling airbags just like this motorcycle vest does if it wasn’t federal law they must provide them. So think of the paywalled motorcycle airbag vest as just another glimpse into how much worse our late capitalism horror show would be without previous generations of lawmakers on both sides of the political spectrum understanding the importance of regulation.

Update: This article was updated with comments from a Klim representative provided to Motherboard after publication. It also corrected a statement a Klim customer representative told Motherboard that the vest would be deactivated after a week of non-payment. A Klim spokesperson said customers will have 30 days.

Unlucky end to French Grand Prix for Lowes and Fernandez

By General Posts

Both Elf Marc VDS Racing Team riders crashed out of promising positions in the early laps at Le Mans after showing podium potential in tricky conditions.

After heavy rain through the morning, the 2.6-mile Le Mans Bugatti Circuit was soaking wet for Sunday’s warm-up sessions, but dried sufficiently to give riders a clear tyre choice ahead of the 25-lap Moto2 race.

All the field ran slick tyres on a track with numerous wet patches, providing a real challenge for the field. Both Augusto Fernandez and Sam Lowes unfortunately crashed out when fighting for the podium places.

Augusto Fernandez – DNF
Starting from fifth, his best qualifying result of the season so far, Augusto enjoyed a fantastic first lap, gaining two places to sit third.

But there was heartbreak for the rider from the Balearic Islands on the second lap, when he crashed out of a podium place at turn 11 when hitting a damp patch.

As a result of a second DNF of the year, Augusto drops three places in the championship to twelfth with 23 points to his name.

“We will work to arrive stronger in Mugello”

“It was a real shame again. I was so calm at the beginning, trying to not make a mistake like at Jerez. I had a great start and when (Joe) Roberts passed me, I passed him back. At the beginning there were some wet patches. I went just a little bit wide and touched one wet part with the front and lost it so soon. I couldn’t do anything. We have to take the positives. It’s been a fantastic weekend in all the practice sessions, be it in mixed conditions, wet conditions, or dry conditions. I had the pace to win and now I know we can be there every weekend at every track. The Aragon test was really positive and this weekend we’ve seen evidence of that. Now we have a test in Barcelona so we can continue working to arrive stronger in Mugello.”

Sam Lowes – DNF
The 30-year old enjoyed a solid start and held position in the opening laps from tenth place on the grid and then upped his pace, posting a personal best time on lap three.

But Lowes suffered a fall on the fourth lap of the race when attempting to overtake Xavi Vierge for 7th at turn 8. The Briton crashed when losing the front and was unable to restart.

The result means Lowes drops a place to fourth in the world championship with 66 points, 23 behind leader Remy Gardner.

“I’ll take the positives to come out stronger in Mugello”

“I’m really disappointed. I want to say sorry to the team and to Vierge for the accident. I was passing him, I felt OK and that the move was possible. Another rider was wide ahead of us so that meant there was no margin to go wide when overtaking. This might have made me squeeze the brake a little more so I lost the front and then my bike took him down. I’m sorry for that and to my team as we threw away a great opportunity with our speed. But I’ll take the positives to come out stronger in Mugello. It’s nice we go back there after missing it last season. It’s a track that we all enjoy and love to ride. I can’t wait to get there and put this race behind me.”

5-BALL RACING SALT TORPEDO TEST AND CRASH

By General Posts

 

We had a tough day today. The weather was clear and the roads around the Port of Los Angeles empty as we rolled the Salt Torpedo out of the shop.

 

I was supposed to be a final test run to determine whether the ignition stumble we discovered in the desert was remedied. We had also experienced a slight shimmy in the handling, so I added more rake for more stability.

Today before taking it off the lift we needed to adjust the toe-in and we did. With everything tightened we were ready for a final test run before installing the painted body work and preparations to haul ass to Bonneville. All seemed to be good to go as the Torpedo fired to life and Micah dropped the clutch.

 

He recently discovered that he had another son, Eddie, who runs E2 Metal Works in Bakersfield, with his wife, Emilia. His business is all about CNC Plasma Metal Design and fabrication. Today, Micah arrived with his new son Eddie and his pal, Mike. We immediately set to work prepping for a pass down the street, which has its pitfalls.

 

 

It’s a city street complete with cops, and we aren’t prepped for papers, plates or registration. The torpedo has no lights, no turn-signals, you name it. But since the virus has attacked our lives, the streets were void of traffic, especially on a Sunday as I asked Micah to take it easy and test the handling first.

There’s something about the Salt Torpedo that brings out the speed in a man. As soon as he caught a gear he nailed it and felt the rear tire break loose as it acted like a rocket ship that wants to fly into the next atmosphere. Unfortunately that didn’t happen today. He reached the second block at about 80 and attempted to turn.

This puppy was designed to go straight, and I had added more rake to the dragster front end, almost 15 degrees. It wanted to go straight in the worst way. We’re not sure what happened, but he hit a curb and it flipped the torpedo. He was unhurt, but we lost the front axle and perhaps both front wheels. We’ll bring you a full report in the very near future.–Bandit

 

Hero Motosports rally rider Paulo Goncalves dies at Dakar Rally

By General Posts

from https://auto.economictimes.indiatimes.com
from https://www.theguardian.com/

Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves made his Dakar debut in 2006 and finished four times in the top 10 including a runner-up finish in 2015.

Riyadh: Tragedy struck Hero MotoSports Team on Sunday as its Portuguese rider Paulo Goncalves met with a fatal accident during the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally. Paulo, aged 40, passed away from a fall sustained 276 kilometers into today’s special zone.

“The organisers received an alert at 10:08 and dispatched a medical helicopter that reached the biker at 10:16 and found him unconscious after going into cardiac arrest. Following resuscitation efforts in situ, the competitor was taken by helicopter to Layla Hospital, where he was sadly pronounced dead,” Hero Motosport said in a release.

Fondly known as ‘speedy Goncalves’, it was 13th Dakar for the Portuguese, one of the most experienced riders on the field.

He made his Dakar debut in 2006 and finished four times in the top 10 including a runner-up finish in 2015

He has had an illustrious journey in the rally-racing world, including a series of remarkable performances at the world’s most prestigious rallies. He was crowned 2013 FIM Cross Country Rally World Champion.

“Words cannot describe our shock and loss at this moment. It isn’t just a team, it is a family for us and we are devastated with the passing away of one of our members, Paulo Goncalves,” Wolfgang Fischer, Head of Hero MotoSports Team Rally said.

“He joined the Team in April last year and within no time became an integral part of the Hero MotoSports Team family. He will be dearly missed and always be fondly remembered by us.

“Paulo was a true champion, gentleman, reliable friend to everyone in the racing world and a role model as sportsman and personality. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” he said.

The Portuguese motorcycle rider Paulo Gonçalves died after a crash in the seventh stage of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, organisers said.

The 40-year-old Hero Motosports entrant, taking part in his 13th Dakar Rally since making his debut in 2006, fell after 276km of the special stage from the capital Riyadh to Wadi al-Dawasir.

“The organisers received an alert at 10:08 and dispatched a medical helicopter that reached the biker at 10:16 and found him unconscious after going into cardiac arrest,” organisers said in a statement.

“Following resuscitation efforts in situ, the competitor was taken by helicopter to Layla Hospital, where he was sadly pronounced dead. The entire Dakar caravan would like to extend its sincere condolences to his friends and family.”

Gonçalves was the first competitor to die in the gruelling endurance event since the Polish motorcycle rider Michal Hernik in Argentina in 2015.

The Portuguese finished in the top 10 at the Dakar Rally four times and was runner-up in 2015 to the Spaniard Marc Coma, who is competing this year as co-driver to the double Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Gonçalves suffered mechanical problems on Friday, having to change his bike’s engine to stay in the race, and dropped to 46th overall after the sixth stage.

“The target now is to do my best, because the result at the end … there is no way to get a good result. Instead I’ll try to do good stages every day possible and that’s what I’m looking for,” Gonçalves said then.

The experienced Portuguese had competed in the Dakar on three continents, from its origins in Africa to South America and this year’s debut in the Middle East.

The 2013 cross-country rallies world champion was representing the Indian Hero Motosports team, along with his brother-in-law Joaquim Rodrigues, after five years racing with Honda.

Gonçalves crashed out on the fifth stage in Peru last year. Rodrigues broke his back in a Dakar crash two years ago but returned after extensive surgery and was 27th after stage six.

Sunday’s 546km stage, the longest of the event, was won by the Spaniard Joan Barreda with the American Ricky Brabec extending his overall lead in the category.

The Australian Toby Price, the defending champion, finished an hour and 20 minutes behind Barreda but organisers said he stopped to try to help Gonçalves and will have his position recalculated.

The Spaniard Carlos Sainz, a two-times Dakar winner driving a Mini buggy, took his third stage win of the event in the cars category to extend his lead over Toyota’s reigning champion, Nasser al-Attiyah of Qatar, to 10 minutes. Mini have now won six of the seven stages.

Cause determined in Jessi Combs’ fatal speed record crash

By General Posts

by Zac Palmer from https://www.msn.com

Occurred at speeds near 550 mph.

Jessi Combs’ fatal high-speed crash was caused by “a mechanical failure of the front wheel, most likely caused from striking an object on the desert,” according to the Harney County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon. This information comes to us two months after Combs’ tragic accident on the dry lake bed of the Alvord Desert. Combs was 39 years old.

The investigation concluded that the front wheel failure “led to the front wheel assembly collapsing.” The sheriff’s department says this happened at speeds approaching 550 mph. Both the Harney County Sheriff’s Office and the North American Eagle Race Team collected evidence from the scene to come to this conclusion.

Her cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head, which happened before the vehicle was engulfed in flames. No other official information regarding the crash was released.

Combs was an extremely well-known racer, fabricator and a longtime host of Autoblog’s “The List” video series, and it is with heavy hearts that we convey this news to you today. The sheriff’s office concluded its release by passing on “its condolences to the family of Jessi Combs and the North American Eagle Race Team.”

Google Maps introduces a feature to make commute easy

By General Posts

Google has reportedly introduced a new features in Google Maps which will offer preview of users’ commute with a map as soon as they get into the car.

Tech giant Google keep on introducing new features in its navigation app Google Maps in order to enhance the user experience. Recently, the company rolled out the speed camera and accident alert features. Now, Google has reportedly introduced a new features in Google Maps which will offer preview of users’ commute with a map as soon as they get into the car.

According to a report by Android Police, Google is working on a major improvement which will offer advance notification including a small preview of the route that the Maps suggest the user to take. This will offer a better idea to the driver as they will get to know about the traffic congestion in advance.

The company will be using the same colour codes to inform about the traffic condition. The blue area will suggest the clear route and the orange will highlight the slow traffic movement. The roads which will appear red indicate heavy traffic.

In order to access the preview users just will have to expand the notification which they will receive before their morning and afternoon commutes. The report also adds that the update consisting of the new feature has started rolling out as a server-side update and is yet to reach the Android users.

Recently, Google Maps were updated with features like report a Crash, Speed alert and traffic slowdown. While the first one lets the app know about a possible crash and show others a different route, the second one alerts them about upcoming Speed Traps on the way. However, the team is rolling out the third ‘Add a report’ option in the app – Slowdown.

Motorcycle Helmet Performance: Blowing the Lid Off

By General Posts

Searching for the truth behind motorcycle helmet design, helmet standards and actual head protection

By Dexter Ford and California Scientific

How good is your helmet? Will it actually protect your brain in your next crash? Will it prevent your next accident? I don’t think so, but it may cause your next accident–watch out.

These seem like easy questions, ones you probably think you can answer by reciting the lofty standards your helmet meets and the lofty price you might have paid for it. But the real answers, as you are about to see, are anything but easy.

There’s a fundamental debate raging in the motorcycle helmet industry. In a fiberglass-reinforced, expanded-polystyrene nutshell, it’s a debate about how strong and how stiff a helmet should be to provide the best possible protection.

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