Monday, November 15, 2010


Photos by Joe Bonnello and Don Emde

We were at the Petersen Automotive Museum in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday for the Bonhams Classic California Auction. My primary purpose for being there was to hopefully see my Rossi/Riders for Health Yamaha R1 get sold to raise funds for Riders for Health. It turned out the buyers there were more automotive than motorcycle related, so the bids for the R1 fell short of our reserve.

Despite that unexpected result, there were some other cool bikes and cars for sale, plus some memorabilia materials for sale from the estate of Bud Ekins, Steve McQueen and more.

My Rossi/Riders for Health R1 didn't bring the needed bids.

A number of bikes and memorabilia from the Bud Ekins estate was sold.

Steve McQueen's old motorcycle toolbox sold for $11,000!

Bud Ekins' 1908 Delaunay-Belleville sold for $110,000.

My consolation for the day was winning the bid for some original Von Dutch artwork he had created many years ago for Bud Ekins' Hollywood vehicle rental business.

A pretty Duc for sale.

An original Triumph dragster ridden in the '50 by Bobby Sirkegian.

How pretty is that? Probably didn't look that good new.

Late in the day the R1 went up on the board, but we're going to have to wait for another day to get it sold. Anyone who thinks they might be interested can contact me for details.

Some motorcycles from the estate of USGP Carlsbad winner Marty Moates was also for sale.

More of the Bud Ekins memorabilia.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Here's a little pictorial showing how the R1 project all came together. For more details about the purpose to raise funds for Riders for Health, see our website at:

The Project

It all started with a sketch to capture the idea of Rossi's 5 Continents helmet design being splashed on a Yamaha R1. I used this in my presentation to Yamaha when I was requesting the motorcycle.

Picking up the new 2009 R1

Akrapovic not only provided an exhaust system, they added the Riders for Health logo using a printing process they have. Nice touch!

Another pricey donation came form Ohlins who sent this shock and a set of front forks for the R1.

Other upgrade products from Dynojet, EK, Vortex and others began to flow in.

Roland Sands Design not only donated a set of wheels and other sportbike goodies, but they helped with the installation of the new suspension system and related parts. Thanks to Cameron Brewer at RSD for all of his help with this.

I enlisted motorsports artist Hector Cademartori to do a better piece of artwork on the concept to show Aldo Drudi what we really had in mind for the graphics that he has agreed to make for us.

It didn't take Aldo too long and he was back to me with his layout design to fit the R1 bodywork. This art then was made into a big decal to splash over blue paint by Pole Position Graphics in Italy.

Meanwhile we were putting the rest of the bike back together. Mission Motorsports in Irvine, Ca did the installations at this stage.

Everything together now except the graphics.

Then the air shipment arrived from Italy!

Saddlemen's new R1 sportbike seat with the custom made #46 rear pad.

Finally it was time to take the wraps off at last year's Cycle World Show in Long Beach.

A year after he had approved giving me the R1, Bob Starr from Yamaha joined me on stage at the Long Beach press presentation.

The press liked it. This is the Cycle World story they ran.

Motorcyclist also gave it some coverage.

And at Laguna Seca last summer The Doctor finally got to have a look. I was explaining to him how we put it all together.

He really liked the way we used the windscreen to continue the graphics from the front of his helmet design.

The finishing touch was his autograph on the gas tank.

It's been two years, but the result was truly a one-of-a-kind motorcycle that will turn out to a final collectible from Valentino Rossi's years with Yamaha in MotoGP.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


After many months of negotiations, the return of the famed Catalina Grand Prix is now official!


Historic Motorcycle Race to Take Place on Catalina Island for First Time Since 1958

Los Angeles, CA – November 9, 2010 – This December, the stars will align for the rebirth of one of California’s most historic motorcycles races – the Red Bull Catalina Grand Prix. The famed race, which was held between 1951 and 1958, brought thousands of spectators and hundreds of riders to Catalina Island, helping establish it as the bustling tourist destination it is today. After a 52-year hiatus, Red Bull has teamed up with My Cuz Vinnie Promotions LLC, the City of Avalon, the Santa Catalina Island Company, The Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce, the Catalina Island Conservancy and Del Amo Motorsports for the race’s triumphant return on December 4 and 5.

The Red Bull Catalina Grand Prix will give a new generation of riders the chance to participate in what was widely considered one of the most challenging and elite races of the 1950s. The course will span seven miles and encompass a variety of terrain including pavement, rocky cliffs, hills, winding turns and a traditional motocross section. Due to the lax technical inspection, the 1950s race was considered a “proving ground” for various types of suspensions, engine and frame modifications and special tunings. The Red Bull Catalina Grand Prix will follow its 1950s open class tradition by providing races for a wide variety of engine displacement and skill levels. The field will include almost 800 riders who registered prior to the October 7 deadline. There will be 12 races over the two days with an average of 80 riders per race. The Red Bull Catalina Grand Prix will be AMA sanctioned and all AMA rules will be followed.

“I’m stoked to be part of this historic race,” said four-time Baja 1000 winner and 2010 AMA National Hare & Hound champion, Kendall Norman. “I’ve heard so much about it - the pioneers of the sport racing their old-school bikes in one of the most unique locations imaginable. It’s great that we’ll finish off the season with what’s sure to be one of the most fun races of the year.”

“The return of the Catalina Grand Prix has been a long time coming,” said Vinnie Mandzak, president of My Cuz Vinnie Promotions. “We’re thankful for all the support we’ve received that has given this event wings to fly above and beyond Catalina Island.”

Both motocross superstars and emerging talents will vie for top honors as they blast into the hills surrounding the main port town of Avalon. Riders will look to join Bud Ekins (the stuntman who performed the famous fence jump in “The Great Escape” for Steve McQueen) and Bob Sangren (the race’s only two-time winner) as champion of the island spectacle. Sangren will also be returning to the island to serve as Grand Marshal for the 2010 race.

The event is free to the public, and no tickets are required. There will be ample viewing areas along the course for spectators. For info on getting to Catalina Island, please visit


Saturday, December 4

Race 1 – 8:15 a.m. (Old Bikes – Expert and Intermediate)

Race 2 – 9:30 a.m. (Magnum, 50+ Intermediate Lightweight and Heavyweight)

Race 3 – 10:45 a.m. (Magnum, 50+ Expert Lightweight and Heavyweight)

Race 4 – 12:00 p.m. (Senior, 40+ Intermediate Lightweight and Heavyweight)

Race 5 – 1:15 p.m. (Senior, 40+ Expert Lightweight and Heavyweight)

Race 6 – 2:30 p.m. (Veteran, 30+ Expert and Intermediate Lightweight and Heavyweight)

Sunday, December 5

Race 7 – 8:00 a.m. (Intermediate Heavyweight)

Race 8 – 9:15 a.m. (Expert Heavyweight)

Race 9 – 10:30 a.m. (125cc and 150cc, Expert and Intermediate)

Race 10 – 11:45 a.m. (Mini, Women, 60+, 70+ Expert and Intermediate)

Race 11 – 1:00 p.m. (Super Mini, Youth Mini, Junior Mini, Micro Mini, Expert and Intermediate)

Race 12 – 1:45 p.m. (Pro 18+, Pro 30+ Pro 40+)

Past winners of the Catalina Grand Prix: Walt Fulton (1951), Nick Nicholson (1952), John McLaughlin (1953), Jim Johnson (1954), Bud Ekins (1955), Chuck “Feets” Minert (1956) and Bob Sangren (1957 and 1958).

More information is available at


In the most critical year for motorbikes’ market, the EICMA showstarted with plenty of expectations for the number of new models to present, and finished with record attendance figures, the visitors’ numbers rising every day in comparison with last year’s: +5% on the first day, +18% on the second, +24% on the third and +13% on the final day, a rainy and cold Sunday that was likely to discourage people from coming to Milan. In the end, EICMA reached and overcome the500.000 visitors’ line, way beyond the early target of confirming last year’s surprising 450.000 presences’ record.

The unpredictably high attendance is the most impressive figure, but more numbers stand there to justify the extensive expositors’ satisfaction: 45.708 operators, including 12.583 from foreign countries,2104 accredited journalists. Moreover, an impressive increase in EICMA website’s visits, growing from last year’s 271.438 to 340.664, testifies a massive interest for motorbikes, even by people who could not visit the show personally: a very good sign for the years to come.

A huge success was collected by side events, those included in the expo, like The Green Planet, Fiorenzo Magni dedicated show and Young Designers For Mobility exhibition, Tourism on two wheels and “Custom City” (an excellent debut year), as well as Motolive, that brought an impressive number of visitors and fans in the outdoor area of the Milan’s fair.

“It was a beautiful show – stated EICMA General Director, Costantino Ruggiero – rewarding the hard work and passion of our Team, a small group of amazing professionals.“

The only disappointment concerns many cycling manufacturers’ defections, including some late ones, upset the many cycling lovers come to Milan, even though the news about this situation had been clearly spread through the website and any other available media.

“This show represented a very valuable opportunity for us – stated Amedeo Colombo and Antonello Montante, the most notable among the small number of bike expositors – we cannot understand the choice by most of the bike manufacturers not to take advantage of it.“

Milan, November 7th, 2010

Further information on

Monday, November 8, 2010


The chapter in the history books named "Valentino Rossi's years with Yamaha"closed on Sunday. Rossi, Masao Furusawa and Lin Jarvis had these statements:

Valentino Rossi:

"This is a very emotional day but I'm very happy as well because I don't have any regrets and there have been no bad moments or thoughts throughout these seven seasons together with Yamaha. From the beginning it was something great and we worked very well together. Like in life, in sport the results are crucial but just as important is the enjoyment and we had this at Yamaha. We had a great fusion in my team - the Australians, the Italians, the Japanese, the English and many more...a lot of people all together having fun. If in 2004 somebody had told me that I would win four world championships with Yamaha and 46 Grand Prix I would have signed in blood! I am happy. I have to thank first of all Masao Furusawa because we went through some difficult moments but we were able to improve the bike and make it the best machine, then I just have to say a big thank you to everybody who helped me in these seven seasons, and wish everyone good luck."

Masao Furusawa:

"I would like to thank Valentino very much, I started in MotoGP in 2003 and it was a terrible year, it was almost like I was in hell! I really wanted to make the YZR-M1 a better bike but the more investigated it, the more I realised I needed something else, more than the bike. So we found Valentino Rossi. First of all I didn't believe Valentino would come to Yamaha because the bike wasn't great but somehow it worked. After South Africa in 2004 I felt like I was in heaven, it was a very exciting and memorable year. In 2004 Valentino was the only one who could win on the YZR-M1 so he contributed a lot to developing the bike. This year not only Valentino but also three other riders were fast so it's clear that our YZR-M1 is a pretty good bike. This is mainly because of Valentino's contributions over the years so I really appreciate that and I want to wish him all the best in the future."

Lin Jarvis:

"In 2003 when we had our worst year ever in GP racing and finally we said that whatever we were going to do, without Valentino Rossi on the seat it wasn't going to work! That was the point where we decided that we needed him. There were some exciting and secretive negotiations with Valentino and it was a very important decision but, with the backing of Masao Furusawa and the President of Yamaha Motor Company, we made it happen. It was ‘do or die'. With a huge commitment from Yamaha, the engineers and everybody in the team we made it work. We are very, very grateful because Valentino's arrival really turned things around for Yamaha and we came back to victorious ways. We are incredibly thankful and grateful to him for that. We've had so many exciting and enjoyable moments with him and with the crew that he brought with him, who are great guys. Today we will be saying goodbye to a great number of people including Davide Brivio, Jerry Burgess and the whole crew. We've had a super time, it's been a really excellent team and we will miss them tomorrow, it will be a strange day."

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I end up wearing a lot of hats when I attend trade shows, so with exhibits to see, advertisers to talk with, dinners and banquets in the evenings, I am not able to deliver daily reports. But now that I am home and have my photos downloaded, here's my report and pictorial from EICMA, the world's biggest motorcycle show.

Tuesday was Media Day. At the opening ceremonies Italy's Prime Minister Berlusconi arrived to give a welcome speech to the world press and he stressed the significance of the motorcycle and bicycle industry to Italy's economy. He was joined on stage by two 2010 World Champions, Max Biaggi and Jorge Lorenzo. He is seen here congratulating fellow Italian Biaggi for his success in the World Superbike Championship on the Italian-made Aprilia.

Next up it was time to take in the many "unveilings" of new 2011 motorcycles and other new products. 

Triumph got the day off to a good start with its all-new 3-cylinder Tiger 800 Adventure bike. It comes in two variations, setup primarily for street use, and the Tiger 800 XC for more of an off-road application.

The Tiger 800 XC comes with spoke wheels, heavy duty skid plate and other features for off-road, plus this one had all of the Triumph accessories loaded on it.

The all-new Ducati Diavel has a very futuristic look, kind of blend of a Superbike with a Yamaha V-Rod. At the show it was well received with expectations that it opens up more possibilities from the motorcycle buying community rather than competing with other models in the Ducati line.

The Diavel looks great in black too.

Ducati had a nice "Thank You" display honoring Casey Stoner as he concludes his participation on the Ducati team at the end of 2010.

BMW unveiled a concept scooter to the press. 

On Tuesday evening, Pirelli and the EICMA organizers held a reception and dinner for 350+ members of the press and industry at the exclusive Villa San Carlo Borromeo.

Pirelli used the event to hold a brief press unveiling of the new Rosso II line of tires which as coming as standard equipment on the new Ducati Diavel.

Pirelli-sponsored 2010 MX1 World Champion Tony Cairoli was on hand and poses here for a photo with Vince Marazita of the Italian Trade Commission.

Wednesday was Dealers-only Day and the crowd grew compared to Tuesday.

The Italians know how to get people to notice their new models.

As I was saying...

Benelli had a display of historic machines, including this 1960s 350cc Grand Prix race bike ridden by the late Renzo Pasolini.

This amazing looking CR&S V-Twin features an S&S X-Wedge motor.

This multi-cylinder Husqvarna concept bike got a lot of looks. It's a little bit Sportbike and a little bit Ice Racer. Don't look for a production version anytime soon.

Because the show is a combined dealer show and consumer show, most Aftermarket exhibits are setup like this one from Adige.

K&N had a major presence at the show, just like they do here in U.S.

Here's a fun way to start your kids out early. Kiddiemoto push bikes in replica versions of legendary champions like this one of Mike Hailwood's Isle of Man winning Ducati.

And some companies brought the real thing. Like Max Biaggi's WSB championship winning Aprilia.

As it did with the press, the Triumph Tiger 800 got plenty of looks from the dealers and consumers.

There are both inside and outside exhibits for the consumers attending EICMA.

Things really got busy when the doors opened to the public on Thursday.

To make sure everyone saw the new Aprilia Tuono RSV4, the company stationed two models with that bike.

On Friday, I was en route past Lake Como over the Swiss Alps to Zurich, then on to LAX. Arrivederci Italy!