The Buzz – Happenings Around the Industry Week of August 19th
by Jason Giacchino
It’s been a pretty big week in the ATV world! It looks like championships have been crowned and after years of “spinning our wheels” with the lead law ban, serious resolve has finally arrived. Before we get to all that, we’ll kick this week’s column off with news coming out of Yamaha’s camp.
Yamaha Cleans up in 3rd Party Study
Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., has long touted its ATV and Side-by-Side (SxS) vehicles as being the toughest of their kind, and now a third party study conducted by ADP Lightspeed has proven that claim. More specifically, the ADP Lightspeed study demonstrates that Yamaha has the most durable belt driven drivetrain in the industry.
“A lot of companies say they make the toughest ATVs, but now Yamaha can clearly prove that claim in our CVT transmission system,” said Steve Nessl, Yamaha’s ATV and SxS group marketing manager. “The ADP study proves once and for all that our vehicles have the best CVT drivetrain reliability in the industry.”
Yamaha’s claim is based specifically on an ADP Lightspeed competitive comparison study of Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) belt components reported in warranty and non-warranty repair order records for 2007 to 2010 model year CVT belt-driven 4×4 ATVs with engines 400cc and above.
ADP is a leading provider of integrated computing solutions to auto, truck, motorcycle, marine and recreational vehicle dealers throughout the world.
Youth Model “Lead Law” Ban Rectified
In a massive victory for families, dealerships and the economy, President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill to allow the sale of kids’ off-highway vehicles (OHVs) to continue, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.
On Aug. 12, Obama signed into law H.R. 2715, introduced by Reps. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.). The measure exempts kids’ OHVs from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008, known as the lead law.
The CPSIA, which went into effect on Feb. 10, 2009, banned the making, importing, distributing or selling of any product intended for children 12 and under, including kids’ bikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) that contained more than a specified amount of lead in any accessible part that might be ingested.
H.R. 2715 cleared the House by a 421-2 vote on Aug. 1 just before lawmakers went into their summer recess, and earned Senate approval by unanimous consent the same day.
The new law is a victory that is the result of nearly three years of intensive efforts by the AMA and its partner organization, the All-Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA), their members and millions of advocates of responsible OHV recreation.
Reaction to Lead Law Turnover
With the overturning of a federal law that created a de facto ban on the sale of kid’s off-highway vehicles (OHVs), the real winners are the families and children who enjoy responsible motorized recreation, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.
“Families across the nation are breathing a sigh of relief now that kids’ off-highway vehicles (OHVs) have been exempted from the lead law that banned them,” said Rob Dingman, AMA president and CEO. “Families are sharing their stories with us about how they enjoy responsible motorized recreation as a family, and how they thought their riding worlds were about to end.
“Many people worked very hard over the past several years to change the law, and the families were an important part of that effort,” Dingman continued. “I tip my helmet to all of them.”
For off-highway vehicle (OHV) manufacturers, dealers and others already suffering because of the nation’s flagging economy, a new law that repeals a de facto ban on the sale of kids’ OHVs is welcomed news, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.
These business owners and managers say the new law will help them stay in business, and will foster the sports of motorcycling and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riding by introducing children to a lifelong sport.
“Kids who enjoy responsible motorized recreation with their families are really the lifeblood of our sport because they grow into responsible adult riders,” said Rob Dingman, AMA president and CEO. “So the ban on the sale of children’s OHVs would have hurt businesses and dealers not only now, but into the future as well. Thanks to the outcry from individual AMA members and others, this ban is now history.”
When Englishman Liam Cater sold everything he owned so he could race the full schedule of the ATV Motocross Nationals in America, it was in pursuit of a life-long dream. The “ATV-24/7” crew caught up with Cater at the challenging Spring Creek MX track during Round 7 of the series to find out why.
What motivates 4-stroke A rookie Cater — and other “All In” privateers — to risk it all is explored in Episode #4 of “ATV-24/7,” airing on the Versus network this Sunday, August 21, at 5:30 p.m. Eastern.
The episode also turns the camera on the Natalies — John and Michelle – the multi-tasking racing couple who have made parenting, racing and wrenching a family affair. Not only does Can-Am pro John need to regain his point lead at the Millville, MN race, in between motos he also has to be coach and mechanic for his wife Michelle – plus change diapers for two-year-old daughter, Lexus.
All this, plus expanded race coverage of the two pro motos, make up another exciting episode of “ATV-24/7.” The episode will air online at www.atv247.com after the broadcast.
ARGO Introduces New Models
ARGO continues their segment-shattering off-road dominance with a 2012 lineup offering the combined capabilities of a UTV, snowmobile and small boat. It is a true all terrain vehicle that goes everywhere sportsmen want to.
Leading the 2012 lineup is the HDi family, including the smooth and powerful ARGO 750 HDi 8×8. The HDi models are equipped with advanced ADMIRAL transmission technology.
This premier family of ARGO vehicles provides the advanced features that serious outdoorsmen and commercial users are looking for: Lighter steering effort for all-day ease-of-use, a more powerful drivetrain for accomplishing the most rugged tasks, comfortable seating, massive storage space and a more durable design to keep serious hunters, work crews and riders in the field and not on the sidelines.
The all-season 2012 ARGO 8×8 750 HDi pairs the ingenious triple-differential ADMIRAL steering transmission with a powerhouse 31-hp fuel-injected engine to create something truly unique: an all-terrain, amphibious off-roader that turns with ease in high gear, while maintaining its amazing on-the-spot maneuverability in low gear. There is also a 750 HDi 8×8 Special Edition loaded with upgrades, and the 700 HD 8×8 EU with road approval for Europe. ARGO’s entry-level models the Frontier 580 6×6 and the Frontier 650 8×8 give recreational enthusiasts incredible value at a price competitive with non-amphibious UTVs.
All 2012 ARGO vehicles are available in tundra, yellow, blue, black, and red. In addition, ARGO is introducing an advanced environmentally friendly Gardobond metal coating process providing significantly improved performance and durability without containing any hazardous heavy metals.
For more, head to ARGO’s official site: http://www.argoutv.com/recreational/recHome.aspx
ATV Racing News
Natalie Wins 2011 AMA ATV Motocross Championship
Motoworks / Can-Am pro DS 450 racer John Natalie won the 2011 AMA ATV Motocross Championship by finishing third overall in the series finale held at Loretta Lynn Dude Ranch. Natalie tallied 2-4 moto scores and literally earned the third spot on the Pro class podium with an impressive moto-two performance that saw him finish in fourth place after battling back from dead last after a crash in turn two.
“It’s been a long road and we finally made it and took the championship,” said Natalie. “It felt great to come out here and take the championship in the last round of the season. I have to thank everyone at Can-Am and Motoworks and everyone who has been there for us this season and stuck behind us; it brings tears to my eyes. This has been such an incredible season, and with all the ups and downs our team has had with both Chad and I getting injured, for our team to take the championship couldn’t be any sweeter right now.”
Hetrick Makes History at Loretta Lynn’s Dirt Days
AMA ATV Motocross Pro rookie, Hetrick Racing/Makson Construction’s, Joel Hetrick continued on his march to rewrite ATV racing history at the final round of the 2011 AMA ATV Motocross Championship series at Loretta Lynn’s Dirt Days in Hurricane Mills, TN on Saturday, August 13th.
At the beginning of the season, Hetrick set his aspirations as a rookie Pro within the realm of his expectations. Not wanting to pressure himself or his team with unrealistic goals, he just wanted to finish in the top five at a few events and possibly pull down a top three podium finish. His first top three finish came during Round 5 of the season at Sunset Ridge MX in Illinois. Then came the moment he made ATV racing history: At Unadilla Valley Sports Center in New Berlin, NY on July 16th, Joel Hetrick became the first ever rookie Pro to win an overall event.
With this pinnacle of achievement in his back pocket, Hetrick headed for the Loretta’s Dirt Days event with one more aspiration in his book of dreams, winning the most famous event of the series, “The Grandaddy Of Them All…Loretta’s”, a momentous feat never conquered by an ATV racing Pro rookie. Holding onto the front runner spot for the entire race, Joel Hetrick posted wins in both motos to become the first ever Pro rookie to win the Loretta Lynn’s Dirt Days event.
Mike Lasher Set to Tackle 2011 Vegas to Reno Race
GBC Motorsports heads out to the desert this weekend for “The Longest Off-Road Race in the United States,” the 15th Annual TSCO ‘Vegas to Reno’ Race. The 549-mile point-to-point desert race is part of the Best in the Desert Series and is known as one of the toughest off-road events around. The race begins Friday, August 19th in Las Vegas, as over 270 racers will attempt to work their way through the brutal Nevada desert to the city of Reno.
Live tracking for Friday’s race is available at http://irctracking.com/2011/Vegas-Reno/LasVegas/.