AMA News & Notes: August 2017

National and regional news for motorcyclists

AMA News Author (no byline)

National and Regional News

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The levels of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply for 2018 is the topic of a hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. today, Aug. 1, by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA intends to use the information to inform a future rulemaking to reset the statutory volumes for cellulosic, advanced, and total biofuels pursuant to the Clean Air Act. The EPA's proposed Renewable Volume Obligations call for 19.24 billion gallons of biofuel for 2018, down less than 1 percent from 19.28 billion gallons this year. Of the 19.24 billion gallons of biofuels proposed for 2018, 15 billion gallons would be conventional renewables, primarily corn ethanol, with lesser amounts of conventional biodiesel and renewable diesel, according to the EPA. The agency said the “volume of ethanol that can be consumed as E10 in 2018 is projected to be 14.29 billion gallons.” The AMA opposes any increase in the Renewable Volume Obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard and would prefer a much larger reduction because high ethanol mandates force greater amounts of high-ethanol fuel, such as E15, into the marketplace. An increase in the supply of E15 can lead to more inadvertent misfueling—caused by blender pumps and confusing pump labels—by motorcyclists. The EPA is accepting comments until Aug. 31 on its proposed ethanol requirements. Take action by clicking here.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A bill that would have dramatically increased the availability of E15 fuel died when the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works declined to vote on it. S. 517, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) would have allowed the sale of fuel containing 15 percent ethanol year round. Currently, E15 sales are prohibited between June 1 and Sept. 15, because of the potential for increased evaporative emissions during the summer months. The AMA opposes increasing the availability of E15 fuel because using E15 in motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles is illegal and may cause engine and fuel system damage and void the manufacturer's warranty. None of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles in use in the United States is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to use E15 or higher ethanol blends.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The cost of the America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass will increase from $10 to $80 on Aug. 28. Pass holders are given lifetime access to more than 2,000 sites and parks. The fee increase will support critical investments in maintenance projects at national parks and federal recreational lands nationwide. The Senior Pass has cost $10 since 1994. Until August 28, U.S. citizens and permanent residents who are 62 years or older can purchase the lifetime Senior Pass for $10. Previously purchased lifetime Golden Age or Senior Passes will be honored for the lifetime of the pass holder. The price increase was mandated by Congress in December 2016. The legislation requires that the price of the lifetime Senior Pass be the same as the Interagency Annual Pass, which is currently $80. The legislation also introduces a new annual Senior Pass that can be purchased for $20. Seniors who purchase annual Senior Passes for four years can trade them in for a lifetime Senior Pass at no additional charge.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A bipartisan bill in Congress aims to reduce barriers to outdoor recreation access and improve public land management for Americans who enjoy responsible motorized recreation, skiing, climbing, boating, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, paddling and more on public lands and waters. The Recreation Not Red-Tape Act was introduced by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT). The AMA, the Outdoor Industry Association and the Outdoor Alliance support the bill, particularly a new designation of National Recreation Areas that would tailor land management practices with recreation in mind.

State News

PLACERVILLE, Calif. — Members of the El Dorado County Resource Advisory Committee were recognized for six years of service during a recent meeting of the County Board of Supervisors. Forest Supervisor Laurence Crabtree highlighted the accomplishments of the RAC, and the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors signed a proclamation of recognition. The El Dorado County RAC was established in 2010 in accordance with the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000, to review project proposals and make funding recommendations to the Forest Supervisor on conservation projects that benefit federal lands in the County of El Dorado.

OCEANO, Calif. — The Center for Biological Diversity has filed a formal notice of intent to sue the California Department of Parks and Recreation for allowing motorized vehicle use at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area. This recreation area in southern San Luis Obispo County includes about 1,500 acres of sand dunes and 5.5 miles of beachfront that motorized vehicles can use. The Department’s Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division operates and manages the area, where street-legal vehicles can drive on the beach in the northern portion, and the southern portion is open to off-highway vehicles and motorized campers. The plaintiffs claim the Parks and Recreation Department is in violation of the Endangered Species Act for harassing and killing plover shorebirds at Oceano Dunes.

MIO, Mich. — The U.S. Forest Service Huron-Manistee Resource Advisory Committee is scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Mio Ranger District Office, 107 McKinley Road. The purposes of this meeting include introducing new RAC members to Forest Service staff, electing a chairperson and reviewing the process for considering projects funded under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. All RAC meetings are open to the public. For more information, contact Brad Bolton, designated federal officer, by phone at (989) 826-3252 or by email at blbolton@fs.fed.us.

OLIVIA, Minn. — The OHV park proposed for Renville County has been put on hold by the Board of Commissioners. Officials said the proposal for a 272-acre park will appear on their Aug. 8 agenda, holding out the possibility of a formal vote. At its June 27 meeting, the board opted not to renew a second phase grant of more than $126,000 for the project, according to a report in the West Central Tribune. And the board has taken no action recently on an environmental assessment that was completed. The county spent $60,000 on preliminary plans and has a $297,000 grant for land acquisition.

CLE ELUM, Wash. — The Washington Off Highway Vehicle Alliance is conducting a survey measuring off-highway vehicle use at Tenaway Community Forest. To participate in the survey, click here. The forest, bought by the state in 2013, encompasses 50,241 acres at the headwaters of the Yakima Basin watershed.

Industry News

MUMBAI, India — India's Bajaj Auto is close to forming an alliance to buy Ducati from Volkswagen, according to a report from Reuter’s. Rumors have been swirling for weeks that Harley-Davidson, Italy's Benetton family and U.S. buyout fund Bain Capital were prepared to bid on Ducati. The report also says Indian firm Eicher Motors is interested.

VARESE, Italy — MV Agusta Holding announced that Mercedes AMG has sold its 25 percent stake in motorcycle maker MV Agusta Motor S.p.A. to the holding company. MV Agusta has consolidated its equity investment through ComSar Invest, an investment fund Black Ocean Group, owned by Russian Timur Sardarov. Financial terms were not disclosed. The new structure places 100 percent control of Agusta Motor S.p.A. with MV Agusta Holding. ComSar will obtain a minority interest the holding company, and Giovanni Castiglioni will own the controlling stake. The moves are parts of MV Agusta’s restructuring plan that was approved by a quorum of creditors.

PRACHINBURI, Thailand — Honda Motor Co. has opened a proving ground for motorcycles and cars in Prachinburi province, Honda’s first facility in Asia outside Japan. The automaker’s local subsidiary, Honda R&D Asia Pacific Co., said that it invested about $50 million to establish the Prachinburi Proving Ground, with eight test courses simulating various road conditions and terrains. Its completion makes Thailand the third country where Honda has proving grounds, after Japan and the United States. The new facility, totaling close to 5 miles of roads, “will be used for automobiles and motorcycles, with various vehicle tests including handling, stability and overall performance carried out on regionally developed products,” Honda said.

MILWAUKEE — Harley-Davidson Inc. announced 180 layoffs after reporting that earnings fell due to U.S. motorcycle sales that were weaker than predicted. The company is cutting production after net income fell 7.7 percent to $258.9 million in the three-month period from $280.4 million a year earlier. Revenue fell to $1.58 billion from $1.67 billion. Harley said U.S. sales were down 9.3 percent, and global sales were down 6.7 percent from the same period a year ago, when sales also declined.

International News

HANOI, Vietnam — Officials in Vietnam’s capital city have vowed to banish motorcycles by 2030 to ease congestion and reduce air pollution. Hanoi has long been known for its large number of motorcycles, some packed with families or cargo. A report from Agence France-Presse states that there are 5 million motorcycles in this city of 7 million residents. Authorities plan to expand public transportation to encourage people to forego use of their motorcycles.

AMA News

LEXINGTON, Ohio — Winners were selected for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Raffle Bike and a 2017 Kawasaki Z125 PRO during AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, featuring Riders of Kawasaki. Joe Hoffarth of Waynesburg, Ohio, was chosen as the winner of the Z125 PRO provided by Kawasaki. The winner of the Hall of Fame Raffle Bike, a fully restored 1966 Harley-Davidson FLH, is Terry Hanser of Tampa, Fla. Neither winner was present for the drawings.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio – Bill Werner has been selected as the 2017 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legend. Werner is the most successful tuner and bike builder in AMA Grand National Championship history. Werner, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000, will be honored Sept. 22 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, alongside the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2017. AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legends are Hall of Famers whose accomplishments transcend their categories in impactful ways. In addition to Werner, the roster of Hall of Famers who have been honored as Legends includes Mark Blackwell, Dick Burleson, "Willie G." Davidson, Roger DeCoster, Torsten Hallman, Bob Hannah, Mert Lawwill, Wayne Rainey, Kenny Roberts and Malcolm Smith.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio – AMA Hall of Famer Bill Baird passed away July 12, as a result of injuries he sustained from a previous fall. He was 88. Mr. Baird was the leading AMA National Enduro Rider from the mid-1950s to the late 1960s and won seven consecutive national enduro championships during that time. He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999. In addition to being a top competitor, Mr. Baird was also a key figure in the AMA, serving on the Board of Trustees for 21 years and being one of the driving forces behind the formation of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum through his activities for the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association's Horizon Award has been renamed in honor of Nicky Hayden. The award annually recognizes amateur competitors poised for greatness in the professional ranks. Hayden won the inaugural AMA Horizon Award in 1997. He subsequently won the 1999 AMA Supersport Championship, the 2002 AMA Superbike Championship and the 2006 FIM MotoGP World Championship. He was competing in the FIM Superbike World Championship this year. While training on his road bicycle in Italy in May, he was struck by a car and died as a result of his injuries on May 22. The Executive Committee of the AMA Board of Directors unanimously voted to rename the AMA Horizon Award in Nicky Hayden's memory, in perpetuity. Nicky Hayden AMA Horizon Awards will be presented annually to the top amateur racers in dirt track, motocross and road racing.

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