PowerSports Business

April 3, 2017

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MOTORCYCLE U.S. Motorcycle Coaching Association kicks off in Dallas The U.S. Motorcycle Coaching Association had its first-ever Summit in February. Launched by principals Mark Blackwell, Jon-Erik Bur- leson and Jeff Emig, the USMCA has a goal of bringing new riders into the sport and making motorcycle riding a more pleasant experience for riders new and old alike. During the event at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, prior to the AMA Monster Energy Supercross race at the same location, Powersports Business editor in chief Dave McMahon was just down the road in Frisco at the Tucker Rocky | Biker's Choice Dealer and Brand Expo. Alas, Dave asked Blackwell some questions following the event. Outtakes of the conversation are below. POWERSPORTS BUSINESS: What was your overall assessment of the first event? MARK BLACKWELL: The Inaugural Sum- mit of the USMCA at AT&T Stadium held on February 9 and 10 went about exactly as we had expected. Attendance was solid, and as we hoped, a number of highly respected coaches and influencers in our sport participated. The venue was perfect and created the right atmo- sphere to kick-off this aggressive initiative, being in perhaps the finest sports environment in the country. PSB: What type of feedback did you get from attendees? MB: Mostly widespread support from both the dirt and pavement sides of our sport. I would add that many of the participants never get to see some of the type of data we presented on the history and current situation our sport faces. This was sobering for some who work in the heart of the sport every day, but seldom get to step back and look at the big picture, and it reinforced the need for this initiative — sort of a catalyst for action. As a result, the feedback was mostly around how people can help to get going and get the USMCA off the ground successfully. Word spread fast follow- ing the event as these leaders traveled home and communicated with their networks, and the feedback since has remained very positive and supportive. PSB: What's the next step for the USMCA? MB: We are now preparing for the first of six Regional Workshops that will be held around the country. These will be small groups of coaches coming together to give their input into the certification require- ments and process to become a USMCA coach and the content USMCA coaches will use. There will be three workshops each for the "dirt" and "pavement" side of our sport. The first was for dirt and was held in India- napolis on March 17. (See the accompanying schedule.) PSB: Did anything come out of it that you might not have necessarily expected? MB: I think it became clearer that the pave- Inaugural Summit launches coaching group 36 • April 3, 2017 • Powersports Business www.PowersportsBusiness.com u USMCA Workshops Schedule TRACK DAY/ROAD RACING April 7 — Fontana Speedway, Fontana, CA April 27 — Road Atlanta, Braselton, GA May 17 — Pittsburgh International Race Complex, Wampum, PA OFF-ROAD/MOTOCROSS March 17 — Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis April 19 — JGR Facility, Huntersville, NC May 5 — Sam Boyd Stadium, Henderson, NV Race makes its debut at U.S. Bank Stadium BY LIZ KEENER SENIOR EDITOR I've been pretty lucky to have traveled to Super- cross races over the past three years. In 2014, I went to the Oakland race with Bell Helmets, and in 2015 and '16, I attended Atlanta races with Parts Unlimited. But when Supercross was finally return- ing to Minneapolis after a three-year hiatus, I had to be there. The crew at American Honda heard I was planning to head to the race, so they hooked my dad and me up with a special experience. Mandie Fonteyn, powersports account manager for Dispatch Communications and communications lead for the Honda Factory Racing team, welcomed us into the pits, which were situated in a parking lot across the street from the stadium. There was no pit party held because of the small amount of space allotted to the racing crews, but Fonteyn saved a pit pass for my dad, and I was able to jump in with my press pass. Once inside, we were treated to more than an hour with Fonteyn, learning about Team HRC, its weekly routine and its trucks. Fonteyn walked us through the truck from which the Team HRC techs work on the bikes. We got to see how organized the trucks have to be for the convenience of the techs, the ease of ordering new parts and also for inspection when the team crosses the U.S./Canada border for the Toronto race. She showed us some improvements the team made to the tech truck, when they ordered a new one for this season. A new slide-out, for example, gives the techs more room to work. And a sliding cabinet allows the team to bleed brake lines in advance, so damaged lines can be easily replaced. We were also able to touch a few parts, including titanium bolts and foot pegs that were incredibly light weight. A f t e r t o u r i n g the tech truck, we checked out the hospitality truck. The vehicle houses snacks and water for the team, a sta- tionary bike for Team HRC rider Cole Seeley to warm up on and space for Seeley to relax or watch film. In the back, there's even room for a Honda Ridgeline pickup, so the truck driver can run errands, such as grocery pickups, at each stop. After the grand tour of the Team HRC pit, we wandered the rest of the pit and peeked in on the prep the other teams were completing. When it was race time, Bill Savino, manager of four wheel market planning at American Honda, hosted my dad and me in a suite he was sharing with his family. From there, we watched a great night of racing. In the first Monster Energy AMA Super- cross race at U.S. Bank Stadium since it opened last August, Joey Savatgy took the top of the podium after a hard-fought, intense 250 main event. Eli Tomac then won the 450 main event after taking the lead from Davi Milsaps in Lap 2. Hometown favorite Ryan Dungey, of Belle Plaine, Minnesota, took third behind teammate Marvin Mus- quin. Team HRC's Seeley took the holeshot, but he soon after took a spill and ended the race in fifth. With a crowd of 50,000-plus, the Minnesota return of Supercross seemed to be a success. And my dad and I definitely enjoyed our time at the race and with Team HRC. PSB Minneapolis Supercross backstage pass with Team HRC U.S. Motorcycle Coaching Association founders (from left) Mark Blackwell, Jeff Emig and Jon-Erik Burleson announced upcoming workshops for prospective street and off-road coaches. See USMCA, Page 37 Team HRC rider Cole Seely is introduced to the 50,000-plus in attendance for the Supercross race at U.S. Bank Stadium. Seeley rode out in a custom No. 14 Minnesota Vikings jersey that he then gave to someone the crowd. Team HRC takes a look at Cole Seely's No. 14 Honda after the qualifying round.

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