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Angelle Sampey and Harley-Davidson Back on Top at Indy

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Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil

Former Champion Sampey Earns 43rd Career Pro Stock Motorcycle Victory

INDIANAPOLIS (August 9, 2020) – Harley-Davidson® Screamin’ Eagle®/Vance & Hines rider Angelle Sampey charged to a final-round win in Pro Stock Motorcycle competition at the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. The three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion (2000-2002) won for the 43rd time in her career two days after her 50th birthday. The victory is Sampey’s first in the class since 2016. She joined the Harley-Davidson® Screamin’ Eagle®/Vance & Hines drag racing team in 2019.

“Thank you Harley-Davidson and Vance & Hines for having confidence in me and for putting me on this great motorcycle,” said Sampey, who rode a Harley-Davidson FXDR drag bike for the win. “I told you I was going to do it. Happy birthday to me!”

The Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines team races competition Pro Stock drag bikes inspired by the Harley-Davidson® FXDR™ 114, a high-performance cruiser based on the Softail® platform that combines the unrelenting power of the Milwaukee-Eight® 114 engine with the liberal use of new weight-saving aluminum and composite components to amplify every aspect of performance.

Sampey qualified fourth for the event with a best elapsed time (ET) of 6.855 seconds. In Sunday eliminations, Sampey defeated Steve Johnson, her Harley-Davidson® Screamin’ Eagle®/Vance & Hines teammate Andrew Hines and Scotty Pollacheck to reach the 74th final-round appearance of her career. As the team prepared to fire up her Harley FXDR bike to face Chris Bostick in the final the clutch malfunctioned, but quick work by the Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines crew solved the problem and Sampey made it to the line. Sampey posted a near-perfect 0.001-second reaction time and a 6.880 ET to take an overwhelming victory over Bostick (0.053/6.950), who was in the first final of his career.

“We had a little drama with the clutch but the team was on the ball and as cool as ever and got it fixed,” said Sampey. “I just tried to stay calm and focused and let them work.”

With 43 Pro Stock Motorcycle wins, Sampey is fourth on the all-time list behind Harley-Davidson® Screamin’ Eagle®/Vance & Hines teammates Hines (56 wins) and Ed Krawiec (47), and the late Dave Schultz (45), best known for racing Suzukis.

Krawiec qualified second for the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals with a best ET of 6.817 seconds and advanced to the third round of eliminations before losing to Bostick. Hines qualified fifth at 6.855 seconds and lost to Sampey in round two.

Hines, Sampey, and Krawiec have qualified for the Mickey Thompson Tire Pro Bike Battle shoot-out event and will race for the $25,000 top prize during the Denso U.S. Nationals.

With her win at the Dodge NHRA Indy Nationals Sampey moves up to second in the Pro Stock Motorcycle season standings with 168 points, just four points behind leader Ryan Oehler. Krawiec is fourth with 144 points, and Hines is fifth with 132 points.

The Harley-Davidson® Screamin’ Eagle®/Vance & Hines drag team is scheduled to return to action Sept. 3-6 at the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Ind.

Royal Enfield captures UK motorcycle market with Interceptor, Himalayan

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from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

LONDON: Royal Enfield has made deep inroads in the UK market two of its popular and purpose-built motorcycles – Interceptor 650 and Himalayan.

The Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is the best selling motorcycle in the UK for June 2020 (in the more than 125-cc category) while the Interceptor 650 is the highest selling motorcycle in the UK in the middleweight segment for the last one year (250cc – 750cc; June 2019 to June 2020).

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is a commuter bike available in three variants in India priced between Rs 2.65 lakh and 2.85 lakh (ex-showroom).

Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 is powered by 648-cc, double cylinder engine that generates 49 PS of power and 52 Nm of torque. The double cylinder engine of Interceptor 650 has a 6-speed manual gearbox. With both rear and front disk brakes.

The Royal Enfield Himalayan has redefined adventure touring and managed to carve a niche within the adventure-touring segment. Inspired by Royal Enfield’s 60 years of enduring history in its spiritual home – The Himalayas – the motorcycle has been an accessible and engaging option for riding enthusiasts.

Royal Enfield Himalayan generates 26.3 PS of power and 32 Nm of torque from its 411cc engine. It costs between Rs 1.90 lakh and Rs 1.94 lakh (ex-showroom).

Vinod K Dasari, CEO Royal Enfield said “Since its launch, the Interceptor 650 has been gaining momentum among consumers, and has won several awards globally. Dominating the mid-segment in the UK for a year is a truly remarkable achievement that we are very proud of. We are equally delighted with the success of our adventure-tourer Himalayan which has been among the top 5 best selling middle-weight motorcycles in the UK consistently over the last 12 months. This response from our customers in the UK has propelled Royal Enfield to become one of the fastest-growing motorcycle brands in the UK.”

The Year Is 2025 and Yamaha Just Released Its New XT 500 “H20” Edition

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by Cristian Curmei from https://www.autoevolution.com

2025 is not so far off. But if things work out as they should, it’s possible we could see something like this XT 500 H2O on our streets. Fingers crossed for this concept.

Yamaha’s XT 500 is an iconic two-wheeler. Manufactured between 1976-1989 with a four-stroke single cylinder engine, this enduro motorcycle pushed out a top speed of 82 mph (132km/h) and 28.03 lb-ft (38 Nm) of torque.

One of the main features of the XT was that the front tire was a whole three inches larger than the rear one. This allowed for it to be equally versatile on the road and off it. It’s to this motorcycle that Maxime Lefebvre, the author of this rendering, pays tribute. But I frankly can’t see much of a resemblance. Just look at this beast of imagination.

The initial design started with a spin on the retro body style, keeping true to the shape, but giving it a more modern appeal. From there, that design was taken and modified for specific purposes, resulting in three different models. The first concept was a smart bike, the second concept a lightweight version, and a third was dubbed the “Inexhaustible.”

But that wasn’t the end. Lefebvre took a shot and got together with the Yamaha design team and after the meeting was over, decided to go nuts and truly free up his creativity.

I wish I had a meme right now with Morpheus saying, “What if I told you that this motorcycle is designed to function only on water?” Nothing else. That’s right. The design includes an engine made to run solely on water. Composed of many smaller sections, each with its own specific function to keep you moving, but all of it centered around H2O as the fuel.

It should work like this. The main water tank holds the water and from there a pump feeds it into a pressure system where it can be used to power the engine at the rear of the bike. We have absolutely no details about the way the engine functions, and I’m sure this is no coincidence. If I designed a motor to function on water, only a select few would know about it.

But we have some info as to the components within the system. We can guess that the engine builds pressure and then shoots this pressurized water at the motor, basically the same way a water-wheel works.To do so the flow of water passes through an injector to make sure no pressure is lost.

The result of this type of engine should be a lack in noise. And because it runs on water, it’s considered environmentally sustainable.

The body has the classic enduro look with a few accents to make it more futuristic. After all, it is 2025. We can see a use of white, blue and black to highlight and designate components.

Let’s talk a little about the body and accents for the bike. The front fork breaks away from the classic tube design we’re used to. Large disk brakes and Yamaha calipers on both sides of the front wheel let you know this thing means business. Something I found neat was the steering mechanism for the bike. It doesn’t seem to be steered by conventional means. The handlebars and fork are not attached in any direct way. This leads me to believe that when you turn the handlebars a motor within the frame should take care of steering.

The rear swingarm houses the injection components of the motor that I mentioned earlier, but also the return system to pull unused water back into your tank. This same water is just to be used again, creating an endless flow of power. To take care of suspension, a heavy duty springless shock absorber gives you a smooth ride no matter your terrain.

The blue wheels have no specific purpose, they’re just for show, to accent the overall use of water in the bike. Another color variation exists too, dubbed the collector edition, it includes yellows instead of whites, and purples instead of blues.

If this thing ever makes out of the concept stages and into production, it will be marketed as inexpensive, lightweight, and within everyone’s reach.

Harley-Davidson El Fuego Brings German Heat to the Road

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by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

A custom, German-made frame, a proven, Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle 110ci engine sitting inside, and a paint job to die for – these are the three elements of the custom motorcycle known as El Fuego.

Shown in all its glory in the gallery above, the El Fuego is one of the hottest builds coming our way from Germany-based custom garage Thunderbike. Responsible for literally hundreds of custom motorcycles, all based or inspired by the Milwaukee-made two-wheelers, the crew behind this machine surely outdone themselves with this one.

First, the frame. Thunderbike has around 15 in its portfolio, meaning it could design bikes to suit all tastes. The one used here is called Dragster RS, and is more of a kit: it includes the frame itself, the fuel and oil tanks, CNC-milled aluminum swingarm with battery holder, rear section, rear wheel axle, motor bracket, and seat plate.

Ready for the road, it only needed an engine and some wheels to get it moving. In the case of the former, the shop went for the Screamin’ Eagle 110ci, adn tied it to a Thunderbike exhaust. For the latter, the elements of choice were monoblock wheels, milled from solid aluminum blocks and wrapped in Metzeler tires.

The flowing lines and curves of the build would have been nothing without a proper paint job. As usual, Thunderbike turned to Kruse Design for the visual tweaking, which in this case translated into a hot combination between the black on pretty much all parts of the motorcycle and the metallic orange on the tanks, fenders, and wheels.

Thunderbike does not say how much El Fuego cost to make, but you should know the Dragster RS frame kit alone is worth close to 12,000 euros. That’s about $14,000 at today’s exchange rates.

State police offer free motorcycle safety course

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by Arabella Thornhill from https://potomaclocal.com

Virginia State Police have invited local residents to take part in a free motorcycle self-assessment, “Ride 2 Save Lives,” course this Saturday.

It is a free course that will be held Saturday, July 25 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Morton’s BMW Motorcycles located at 5099 Jefferson Davis Highway in Fredericksburg. Space is limited to 30 people.

According to a press release from Public Relations Director for Virginia State Police Corinne Geller, Richmond Division Motors Unit will be instructing participants on all aspects of rider safety through the use of SIPDE (Scan, Identify, Predict, Decide, Execute). SIPDE is the same training required of all VSP motorcycle operators.

The course provides riders with proper techniques on how to handle hazards, special situations, interstate highways, curve negotiations, and much more, according to Geller.

Social distancing measures will be in place for the safety of those in attendance, according to Geller. Riders must have a valid operator’s license with a class “M” endorsement, appropriate riding attire, a helmet, and eye protection.

The motorcycles must be street legal and helmets must be Department of Transportation approved to participate in this program, according to the press release.

Registration closes Wednesday, July 22. For those interested, registration is available online through the Virginia State Police Facebook page under “events” or at eventbrite.com.

A Look at the New Electric Motorcycles from Soriano

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by Andrew Wheeler from https://www.engineering.com

The Giaguaro motorcycles come with a three-speed manual gearbox and 15 or 20kWh battery packs.

Most electric vehicles (EVs) propel themselves with electric motors that use energy from battery-stored electricity collected from a charging station.

And electric automobiles are steadily gaining in popularity among mainstream automotive manufacturers and automobile customers. In 2020, you can buy the Chrysler Fiat 500e, which has an all-electric powertrain, the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the Hyundai Kona, the Honda Clarity Electric, the Nissan Leaf, the Tesla Model X and so on.

But what about electric motorcycles?

There are more than a few to choose from, and that list now includes the V1-R, V1-S and V1-Gara series motorcycle from Soriano Motori Corp. The company was founded in 2020 and was spun off from its parent company Soriano Motori Factory SpA, which was founded in Madrid in 1939.

The Giaguaro (Italian for Jaguar) V1 Gara goes from 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds and runs from a 75kW electric motor with 100 horsepower. Propulsion engineers from the United States and the European Union worked together to create the series. With a 72kW motor and 96 horsepower, the Giaguaro V1S is still powerful, but accelerates a bit more slowly than the V1 Gara. With 96 horsepower, the V1S accelerates from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds, as does the third new model, the Giaguaro V1R, though it has a less powerful motor (60kW) with less horsepower (80).

Bottom Line

Each Soriano Giaguaro comes with a manual three-speed gearbox. They range in price from $28,000-$34,000, which is expensive for motorcycles. Part of the increased cost is due to the limited number of units available. The current plan, according to Soriano, is for a production run of 100 units. The company is currently taking preorders.

Motorcycle policy shift stresses mentorship

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by Scott Prater from https://csmng.com

FORT CARSON, Colo. — Due to a recent increase in accidents and mishaps, Fort Carson active-duty, military-member motorcyclists must obtain a Fort Carson Motorcycle License, through their unit motorcycle mentor, to ride legally on or off post.

The policy, which affects military personnel only, is effective immediately, though military police and access-control-point personnel won’t begin enforcing the policy until July 15. Military members who are new to the installation will have a 30-day grace period to obtain the new license.

Though the new policy may seem stringent to some at first, it does follow Army regulation, and the process for obtaining the new license is fairly simple.

As part of the policy, most units on post are assigned a motorcycle mentor, who assists riders in obtaining the required rider training and filing the proper paperwork to earn their Fort Carson Motorcycle License.

“This new policy is designed to provide more mentorship to our motorcycle riders,” said Derrick Merriwether, safety specialist, 4th Infantry Division. “We’re training them to the best of our ability to ensure that they are safe on the roads. That’s what this is all about. When a rider joins the program, their unit motorcycle mentor will check the rider’s bike, check their personal protective equipment and their level of experience. Then the mentor will work with the rider to be better prepared for the road.”

All riders seeking a Fort Carson motorcycle license must hold a state issued driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement, and must pass the post’s Basic Rider Course, hosted regularly by experienced instructors at the Fort Carson Motorcycle Training Range.

“This really affects the new Soldiers — the (privates) through (specialists) — who buy these brand-new vehicles but are not very experienced riders,” Merriwether said. “The policy allows the command to see a rider’s exact proficiency on the motorcycle and then provides that all-important mentorship and knowledge.”

Motorcycle riding is inherently riskier than driving an automobile. Riders have no vehicle protective structure surrounding them, and are less visible to other motorists, so they must maintain awareness of other drivers, obstacles and potential escape paths to help mitigate that risk.

Maj. Chris Horton, the 4th Infantry Division motorcycle mentor, has been riding for roughly two decades and recounts a harrowing experience that occurred early in his riding days.

“I thought I was an experienced rider,” he said. “And after taking a basic rider course, I thought I knew everything I needed to know. I was as confident as I could be … then I had an accident.”

Horton’s description of the incident indicates it could have happened to any rider.

“A vehicle stopped suddenly in front of me,” he said. “I swerved to avoid it, but I ended up driving down into a roadside ditch, where my foot peg caught the side of the hill. I was able to repair the bike, but I injured my shoulder pretty badly and ended up needing surgery to repair it years later.”

In the rider courses at Fort Carson, mentors and instructors teach the best techniques for swerving, something Horton said would have helped him avoid his accident. Mentors also teach braking technique, obstacle avoidance, counter steering and finding escape paths.

“From the time a rider notices a hazard, it takes four seconds for him or her to execute a maneuver,” Horton said. “Executing a maneuver is a skill, and these are skills that can be learned and practiced.”

Skill development is a key part of the mentorship program. That’s why the new Fort Carson policy also requires riders to complete mandatory progressive training.

“We have two advanced courses at Fort Carson, the Basic Rider Course II and the Advanced Sportbike Course,” Horton said. “Required courses can be taken on or off post, but keep in mind that Fort Carson motorcycle training courses are provided to active duty military members at no cost to the service member.”

Early this week, several riders completed the Basic Rider Course at the Fort Carson Motorcycle Training Range on the post’s north side, near the railhead. Horton was on hand to mentor and teach along with other instructors.

Sgt. 1st Class Garret Pool, senior targeting NCO, Division Artillery, 4th Inf. Div., said he purchased a new bike in the last year and picked up motorcycle riding at the urging of friends.

“This has been helpful, even just the familiarization part,” he said. “I’ve learned some important new techniques, and I learned some things I already knew, but was performing sloppy. I’m not as proficient as I’d like to be, but I’m getting more familiar. We’re practicing things I’ve never thought about before, and I can see how they’ll be useful on the road. It’s obvious these instructors are extremely knowledgeable.”

Fort Carson motorcycle licenses are valid for five years. Riders can find more information about the new policy, reporting procedures, licensure and training requirements from their unit motorcycle mentor.

BMW Vision Next 100

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by Cristian Curmei from https://www.autoevolution.com

BMW has done it again. Offering us yet another concept vehicle that surpasses all previous bounds and expectations.

When I first saw it, a small lump of happiness stuck in my throat, nearly made mew cry. And for good reason. Just look at this wonderfully geometric symphony. You wouldn’t even know what it is if it wasn’t for the wheels and engine screaming “Batman’s motorcycle!!”. In this case, since it’s German, it’s probably a better fit for Fledermaus Mann!

In case you missed the in your face design, the BMW emblem should give you an idea of what it is you’re about to touch. It’s called the Vision Next 100, and it is a motorcycle like no other. Just the design itself is one only seen in movies or on concept projects. Thanks to BMW, however, this motorcycle is now a reality.

“When we develop a motorcycle,” adds Edgar Heinrich, “we are usually thinking around five to ten years in the future. So taking a look further into the future was especially exciting for us and highly appealing.”

With that in mind, BMW worked toward a cycle that is ready to integrate into the future cities our world seems to be developing. Just to give you an idea of what BMW Motorrad has done, please understand that in the photo gallery, the only product that isn’t part of the bike is the rider. But even then, it has to be a naked rider, as even the apparel is specifically designed for the motorcycle and works in tune with it to offer a more pleasing ride.

So, to explain this to you I’m gonna start from the top down. In the gallery I’m sure you’ve noticed that the rider has a pair of gigantic but chic glass-o-goggles. Those goggles are the only bit of protection that the rider needs. I’ll explain in a minute as to why. The goggles function as a windscreen for the rider’s eyes but also as the instrument panel. On them, all information any rider may need is projected, from speed and road tilt, to hazards and even a map showing selected routes. All of it accessed by positioning the rider’s head at different vertical angles. Looking straight up activates a rear-view function. All information seems to be displayed in a manner similar to aviation controls. Or crime-fighting, masked vigilantes.

Next up is the clothing line. BMW moved away from the classic leather apparel that seems to dominate the motor market, focusing rather on lightweight and flexible fabrics. The suit, because that what it basically is, molds to the rider’s body during cruising and offers support to areas on the body that would normally be put under stress during certain riding positions. For example, at higher speeds the neck region of the suit fills with air in order to relieve pressure on the spine to offer a more comfortable ride.

A diverse number of sensory located throughout the suit activate to respond to diverse changes during the ride. Some sensors activate to inform you of turn direction while others when reaching the maximum tilt during a turn. Now, the suit itself doesn’t do much protecting against road-rash, but then again, it doesn’t need to. Uhh, right. No protection?

The Vision Next 100 has an ace up its sleeve. Excuse me, not an ace, but a royal flush. She’s able to do a tight wire walk with some very neat self-balancing technology. Yes, sir! She can stand on a dime. No kickstand needed. No rider. No support. She features an assistance function that allows her to basically stay upright no matter the rider’s capabilities. How? Nobody knows. Does it even matter, really? Just think about it.

She’s able to control the angle at which you take a turn. She’s able to stay upright at a red light while keeping the driver in riding position. No more legs down or legs up. This means she’s perfect for riders of any level. But don’t think that because she can be controlled by a noob, she won’t give a pro the ride of their life. On the contrary, the self-balancing mechanism and software, are specifically designed to actually enhance your ride, and not diminish it.

Now the engine. The engine is just, wow! Those who know motorcycles also know that the engine compartment is a huge influence on the vehicle’s aerodynamics. That being said, you may think that this engine serves no aerodynamic functions, and you’d be wrong, just as I was. The Vision Next 100 hides a feature that made my jaw drop. When at rest, aside from remaining upright on its own, the Vision Next’ 100’s engine is seemingly compact. but the moment you hop on the bike, the engine compartment begins to stretch to the sides like the gills on a shark.

Then you start to ride, faster and faster, and continue to notice that your engine is growing along with your speed. It does this in order to offer the optimal aerodynamics needed for the speed and weather conditions, but also to offer the much-needed protection against any eventual mishaps the Vision Next 100 couldn’t foresee.

The body shape for this baby is set-up to keep the rider in a roadster position. Using carbon and aluminum as the base materials for design and construction, she’s able to offer a wonderful blend of color, ergonomics, design and functionality. The frame, however, with its wild design, includes a functionality feature that allows it to flex depending on the direction the handlebars are turned toward. Meaning if you want to turn right, you won’t have a pivot point for your fork, hell, there isn’t even a fork to begin with, instead the frame will bend or contract where needed to offer the turning capability.

And depending on how fast you’re going the frame will either tense up or relax to offer much needed protection to the rider in case of accidents. A matte-black finish to the carbon ‘Flexframe’ and the polished aluminum engine block offer it a visual balance only rivaled by its self-balancing technology.

As we can see, even the tires look like they’ve got to do some sort of something. Heck, everything else on this thing does, why would the tires be of any exception? The tires do offer some extra functionality aside from just rolling. They feature a dampening function, which offers a smooth ride and adapts to the terrain you are riding on to keep that comfort going

Got any words? Or do you just want one too?

 

Voxan Wattman set to be world’s fastest electric motorcycle

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Voxan Motors unveils their first excessive-efficiency electric motorcycle, Wattman.

The Voxan Wattman is specifically designed for the bikemaker’s world velocity document mission. The Wattman will be trying to set a brand new world velocity document in Bolivia subsequent 12 months. Six-time motorcycle racing world champion Max Biaggi will be using this highly effective machine whereas making the try.

The bikemaker unveiled the streamliner model of the Wattman after months of design work and laptop simulations and a quantity of wind tunnel test.

The Wattman took to the observe for the primary time in March this 12 months however the testing programme was interrupted by the Covid Disaster. The Wattman’s styling is full and the motorcycle has a definitive look now, however Voxan will proceed to develop the software program half of the machine which can decide the motorcycle’s pure efficiency and thermal stability.

The Venturi Group, to which Voxan belongs, has already set a quantity of world velocity data. The newest, 549 km/h, was set in 2016 by the Venturi VBB-3 (Venturi Buckeye Bullet). It stands to today.

Health officials concerned about Iowa motorcycle rally: ‘We don’t want to be another Florida’

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by Chris Gothner from https://www.kcci.com/

ALGONA, Iowa (AP) —

A group still plans to hold a three-day motorcycle rally in northern Iowa that’s expected to attract thousands of bikers despite the concerns of local officials that the event could spread the coronavirus.

Local officials usually welcome the annual Freedom Rally held on a farm northeast of Algona, but this year’s event planned for Thursday to Saturday has officials worried.

“We have a good relationship with them,” Algona Mayor Rick Murphy told the Des Moines Register. “The bikers are friendly. They’re fun to visit with. … But this year, everyone is a little more on edge.”

Algona is in Kossuth County, which has had 32 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and no reported deaths, but officials think that could change because of the motorcycle rally, which typically draws 10,000 bikers.

The rally is organized by ABATE of Iowa as a fundraiser for the nonprofit group, which supports motorcycle safety and training. The annual rally was long held in Humboldt before moving in 2002 just north to Algona, a city of 5,400 about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Mason City.

David Duffy, the ABATE state coordinator, said the group is encouraging social distancing and is calling for riders to limit trips into Algona.

“We’re taking all the precautions necessary to make this safe,” Duffy said.

The group’s website states that participants will have to sign a form that seeks to identify anyone who has been to a coronavirus hot spot and could exclude them from the event.

The website also notes Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations but adds, “social distancing is a suggestion by the CDC, not a law. This rally was created and called the Freedom Rally to promote freedom of choice. Attending is just that, freedom of choice.”

Large gatherings were banned earlier in the year but Gov. Kim Reynolds has allowed them to resume.

Murphy said he and other officials emailed the governor’s office to suggest she reconsider allowing large gatherings but didn’t hear back.

Asked about the message, Reynolds spokesman Pat Garrett said in a text message, “We are not aware of this request.”

David Penton, the Kossuth County Emergency Management coordinator, said local officials are especially worried that after keeping cases low for months, the rally could lead to the disease spreading at a time when cases are rising in other states, such as Florida.

“People are a little discouraged that that could all be thrown into the wind,” Penton said. “We don’t want to be another Florida.”

Large motorcycle rally in N. Iowa worries local officials

from https://www.washingtontimes.com

ALGONA, Iowa (AP) – A group still plans to hold a three-day motorcycle rally in northern Iowa that’s expected to attract thousands of bikers despite the concerns of local officials that the event could spread the coronavirus.

Local officials usually welcome the annual Freedom Rally held on a farm northeast of Algona, but this year’s event planned for Thursday to Saturday has officials worried.

“We have a good relationship with them,” Algona Mayor Rick Murphy told the Des Moines Register. “The bikers are friendly. They’re fun to visit with. … But this year, everyone is a little more on edge.”

Algona is in Kossuth County, which has had 32 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and no reported deaths, but officials think that could change because of the motorcycle rally, which typically draws 10,000 bikers.

The rally is organized by ABATE of Iowa as a fundraiser for the nonprofit group, which supports motorcycle safety and training. The annual rally was long held in Humboldt before moving in 2002 just north to Algona, a city of 5,400 about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Mason City.

David Duffy, the ABATE state coordinator, said the group is encouraging social distancing and is calling for riders to limit trips into Algona.

“We’re taking all the precautions necessary to make this safe,” Duffy said.

The group’s website states that participants will have to sign a form that seeks to identify anyone who has been to a coronavirus hot spot and could exclude them from the event.

The website also notes Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations but adds, “social distancing is a suggestion by the CDC, not a law. This rally was created and called the Freedom Rally to promote freedom of choice. Attending is just that, freedom of choice.”

Large gatherings were banned earlier in the year but Gov. Kim Reynolds has allowed them to resume.

Murphy said he and other officials emailed the governor’s office to suggest she reconsider allowing large gatherings but didn’t hear back.

Asked about the message, Reynolds spokesman Pat Garrett said in a text message, “We are not aware of this request.”

David Penton, the Kossuth County Emergency Management coordinator, said local officials are especially worried that after keeping cases low for months, the rally could lead to the disease spreading at a time when cases are rising in other states, such as Florida.

“People are a little discouraged that that could all be thrown into the wind,” Penton said. “We don’t want to be another Florida.”