An Italian Corvette

Funny thing the internet.  I was doing some searches for a post I’ve wanted to do for about a month, and I came across this totally by happenstance.  This may be the most beautiful Corvette ever built.  What makes it even better is that Carol Shelby is the person who conceived the idea for the car.

Like it?  It’s for sale.  See the whole listing here 

Young Gun Benny Solis

Anyone who got to see the Red Bull Rookies Cup last year in the AMA series couldn’t help but be impressed with Benny Solis who won the Championship.  When that series fell apart this year Benny was given the opportunity to continue in the series that still runs in conjunction with MotoGP.  

He was interviewed recently on a Spanish language TV program recently, which you can see here:

Friend Of The Strip Cesar Partdia was kind enough to supply us with an English translation:

Benny Solis transcript. (Translated to English)

Shown on KWHY-22 Los Angeles, CA

Sep 20, 2009


Host: We’re going to begin with Dianna Alvarado who is meeting a special young man who is only 15 years old.

Dianna Alvarado:  Thank you and good evening.

He’s breaking speed limits and maintains the high adrenaline level of his family at the edge of their seats. Benny Solis at only 15 years of age has traveled to all over the world to various motorcycle tracks, and today visits us here at Channel 22 so that we can get to know his story.

From Auto Club Speedway Fontana, CA

Benny’s Father: He eats, sleeps, drinks riding motorcycles. At breakfast he thinks about riding; all the time.

Benny Solis: My name is Benny Solis and I have 4 years riding motorbikes. I started at 10 years of age. I was 13 years old when I won the U.S. Red Bull rookies cup. I’m now riding professionally. I got here through Red Bull who had a program that assists young riders and have selected me to enter the European series where only 26 of the worlds best riders. I’m one of them.

My dream is to become the fastest. I want to become a World Champion.

Benny’s Father: (Coaching Benny) You need to work on this last turn. Hard okay.

As far as speeds go, in the straights he is topping at around 135-140 mph. 

Benny Solis: You don’t feel it. (Going top speed on the straights) because you’re body is tight and you’re concentrating on passing the next rider in front of you. 

Benny’s Father: His talents (Benny Solis) exceed what the bike is capable of 

Benny Solis: I was going 170 mph once and fell off. It really hurt and it scared me, but accidents happen in this sport. 

Benny’s Father: Sometimes I tell him “calm down!”

The ways in which I help him is by being his mechanic, his coach, his friend, and I’m his father. 

Benny Solis: He (Benny’s father) used to ride, and he knows how to go fast. He studies me, and if I make a mistake he’ll go out and tell me and he’ll show me what to do.

Benny’s Father: He’s very well disciplined and an overall good kid. And I’d like to see him become a World Champion.

Dianna Alvarado: Incredible!

Academically his desire to do well in the classroom equals his performance on the track. Math and Science are his favorite subjects and he is earning a 3.9 GPA and is in the 9th grade.

Best of luck to Benny!



Eric Buell Time To Put Up Or STFU

Erik Buell is a genius, just ask him, he’ll let you know!  The reverence for Erik among the Buell kool-aide drinkers make the Valentino worshipers pale in comparison.  The Buell people have said for years that if you could just put a modern motor in one of his chassis that he’d dominate the world.

This year, before the AMA races at Road America, Erik had some of the press and his acolytes over to the original garage where he started his company and walked everyone through the history of Buell and his involvement with Harley, you can see that series of videos here: Two Wheel Tuesday Erik Buell.  He talks about how the design for the 1125r chassis started back in the late 80’s and early 90’s his involvement in the VR1000 project and more.  Draw your own conclusions from those videos.  

Between his ideas of putting fuel in the frame, oil into the swing arm, his perimeter braking systems and more, Buell has some interesting concepts that certainly leave no one in the middle of the argument.  You either believe the Gospel according to Erik or you don’t and think him a quack.

With the change in rules for the 250GP class to Moto2, Buell has a chance to show the world just how smart he is.  Everyone will have the same motor (the Honda CBR600 based lump) with the same power (somewhere around 150HP) so the difference will be in chassis and the ability for the rider and team to get it set up.   

While we can argue about if this change is good for the sport or not, one thing I think we can agree on is that for the first time in over 20 years we may begin to some innovation in chassis design as teams look for any advantage they can find.  I’m sure we will see some crackpot ideas that won’t work out as well as some pretty conventional designs of those choosing it to play it safe.

It seems to me that this is the perfect environment for Erik Buell to play in.  He wouldn’t need any special rules in engine displacement which he has needed in the past, there are no worries about the particular model being street legal (see the 1125RR) just build a chassis get a quality rider and have at it.

The only question you would have is do you call it a Harley, a Buell or an MV Agusta, which Harley now own..  All three could make sense.  Harley because it’s a world brand and the XR1200 has sold quite well in Europe.  Buell could work as it’s supposed to be the “Sport Bike” division of the company, and finally with MV Agusta and it’s history in Grand Prix Motorcycle racing not much needs to be said.

While some may think it’s crazy for H-D/Buell/MV to run in a series without one of their own motors, they shouldn’t, Aprilia has already committed to the series, and as Buell has never really had his own motor in any bike he’s build, RSW750, XR1000, 883/1200 Sportster based or now the Rotax 1125, it’s not all that mad.  There is also money to be made here since teams will be looking for chassis companies with which to base there teams around and Buell considers himself a chassis guy anyway, tell me what’s not to like, to quote a line from a TV show, if the symmetry were any more perfect I think we should all break down and cry.

Current global economic unpleasantness or not, here is a chance for Erik Buell to prove on a world stage, at a relative low cost, that his vision of the world is valid, and that he’s just not a quack to be dismissed, it’s time for Erik to put up, or STFU.


Honda Out Of US Motorcycle Roadracing

We aren’t much for cutting and pasting press releases and calling it content, but this does pretty much sum it all up nicely.

Honda Press Release
Honda Racing Announcement

HEAD: Honda Racing announcement

For immediate release:

Torrance, CA: During the 2009 AMA/DMG Road Racing series, American Honda
Motor Company, Inc. contracted team personnel, including team Honda rider
Neil Hodgson, to the Corona Extra Honda race team.

Corona Extra Honda race team participated in this series with our
award-winning 2009 CBR1000RR in the AMA Superbike class, unfortunately
participation in this series did not meet our racing goals and objectives.

Regrettably the current AMA/DMG racing environment does not align with our
company goals. Effective today 9/18/09, AHM will not be renewing contracts
with Corona Extra Racing and will be terminating the on-site Road Race
operations by 9/30/09.  All assets will be put into storage for future
consideration. Team staff was informed of these changes today at 1:00PM

Honda Brings Flappy Paddle Gearboxes To Motorcycles

Not sure how I feel about this.  There IS something about being able to operate a clutch, match revs on a down shift and be smooth that is appealing.  On the other hand, I can see how on touring and commuter bikes this could be attractive.  Not sure how well it will work for sport bike and racing applications, but I’m sure we will find out very shortly.

Two Wheel Tuesday, Canadian Superbikes

I was up in Canada over the Labor Day weekend to announce for the final round of 2009 of the Parts Canada Superbike Series.  It was a great weekend of racing, all the championships came down to the final round, a several were decided by less than 5 points!

Have a look at some of the pictures I shot throughout the weekend.