Thursday, 20 May 2010

A Political Guide for Real Road Racing Tourists to Ireland

Motorcycle Real Road Racing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

Ireland is an island to the west of Britain but Northern Ireland is just off the mainland – not the Irish mainland, the British mainland.

The capital of Ireland is Dublin. It has a population of a million people, all of whom will be shopping in Newry this afternoon. They travel to Newry because it is in the North, which is not part of Ireland, but still pay in Euros.

Under the Irish constitution, the North used to be in Ireland, but a successful 30-year campaign of violence for Irish unity ensured that it is now definitely in the UK. Had the campaign lasted longer the North might now be in France.

Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. It has a population of half a million, half of whom have houses in Donegal. Donegal is in the north but not in the North. It is in the South. No, not the south, the South.

There are two parliaments in Ireland. The Dublin parliament is called the Dáil, (pronounced “Doyle”), an Irish word meaning a place where banks receive taxpayers’ money. The one in Belfast is called Stormont, an Anglo-Saxon word meaning placebo, or deliberately ineffective drug.

Their respective jurisdictions are defined by the border, an imaginary line on the map to show fuel launderers where to dump chemical waste.

Protestants are in favour of the border, which generates millions of pounds in smuggling for Catholics, who are opposed to it.

Travel between the two states is complicated because Ireland is the only country in the world with two M1 motorways. The one in the North goes west to avoid the south and the one in the South goes north to avoid the price of drink.

We have two types of democracy in Ireland. Dublin democracy works by holding a referendum and then allowing the government to judge the result. If the government thinks the result is wrong, the referendum is held again. Twice in recent years the government decided the people’s choice was wrong and ordered a new referendum.

Belfast democracy works differently. It has a parliament with no opposition, so the government is always right. This system generates envy in many world capitals, especially Dublin.

Ireland has three economies – northern, southern and black. Only the black economy is in the black. The other two are in the red.

All versions of the IRA claim to be the real IRA but only one of them is the Real IRA. The North’s biggest industry is the production of IRAs. Consequently, we now have the Provisional, Continuity and Real IRA. The Real IRA is by far the most popular among young graffiti writers simply because it is the easiest to spell.

The North West 200 is the biggest illegal drinking party in the world, an event held in the North West of Northern Ireland, where you will also find the only motorcycle real road race longest short circuit in the world, sadly though, next to no motorcycle racing ever takes place there, not that any of the partygoers actually care one way or the other.

Save Our Sport From Evil

©2010 Motorcycle RealRoadRacing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

Monday, 17 May 2010

Elena Myers - Real Motorcycle Road Racing Star

Motorcycle Real Road Racing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

On Saturday May 15th 2010 16 year old Elena Myers permanently etched her name in the history books of motorcycle road racing with the first ever AMA Professional Road Racing victory for a female rider. Elena from Discovery Bay, California, won an exciting and extremely popular victory at Infineon Raceway during the West Coast Moto Jam AMA Pro Racing SuperSport event.

Elena who started racing at the age of eight was impressive right from the off, and quickly progressed by the age of eleven to riding a 125cc GP bike for the first time and won on it at the first attempt.

This year she moved up to the AMA Pro 600 Supersport Championship where she has again shown herself to be a mature and determined class act by being competitive from the very first race of the year at the Daytona International Speedway where she scored a pair of seventh place finishes aboard her Lucas Oil/ Suzuki.

Over the next two rounds she then took fourth and fifth place finishes, and now at Infineon, an emotional Elena moved to the top step of the podium, the first female winner in the history of AMA Pro Road Racing.

“I’m just on another planet right now,” said Elena, who'd just attended her high school prom a few weeks ago and was competing in her first-ever professional race at Infineon Raceway. “The race went really good for me and some people made mistakes and I took advantage of it. It’s great to be at the top of the box. I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet.”

Save Our Sport From Evil

©2010 Motorcycle RealRoadRacing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

Friday, 14 May 2010

Real Road Racing Fans Heading To The NW200 - Bike Safe!

Motorcycle Real Road Racing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

The Department for the Environment (DOE) Minister Edwin Poots, continues the motorcycle safety message and encourages motorcyclists to bike safely at the North West 200.

At Right To Ride we agree with the constant messages of, “leave the racing to the experts and consider the consequences should you become involved in a collision” – “travelling too fast for the conditions or overtaking where it is obviously not safe to do so.”

However there are always those motorcyclists, who take no heed to road safety messages and have no conscious thought about their actions or the consequences, whether it’s a speeding ticket, a court appearance or a potentially nasty collision.

Quoting figures that motorcycles represent 3% of all licensed vehicles in Northern Ireland, motorcyclists account for 13% of all road deaths, the Minister goes on to say, “I also see car drivers and other road users putting the lives of motorcyclists at risk by pulling out at junctions or overtaking without warning. Half of all motorcyclist casualties are caused by other drivers and, with that in mind, I urge car drivers to think about motorcyclists and how their actions might put them in danger”.

Right To Ride’s, Trevor Baird says, “While most bikes having their headlights permanently switched on and riders voluntarily wearing bright or fluorescent motorcycle gear, it’s not just the case of the motorcyclists or motorcycle being hard to see, it’s also the case of other drivers not looking”.

“While the motorcycle community continues to do its best for motorcycle safety there is no similar car community to get the safety message out there for car drivers. Extra effort and awareness for motorcycles needs to be taught to trainee car drivers at the learner stage” says Right To Ride.

Ride The Wild Wind, a website blog for the Northern Ireland Biker community and beyond says, “ It’s that time of year again as Northern Ireland goes bike mad with the return of the North West 200 and you can follow all the action on the official NW 200 website.

Adding that, “Northern Ireland’s North coast will be packed with thousands of bike fans this weekend for one of the world’s greatest road races which always brings guaranteed thrills. If you are heading up there you may find useful our partner Ride It Right‘s interactive coastal route map, which was designed to get the best, and safest, ride out of the fantastic roads around the event.”

The challenge laid down by the Minister, is for, “Motorcyclists and drivers to do more to reduce the number of motorcyclist casualties on our roads.”

Over the NW200 weekend the government has heightened road safety messages to specifically target the NW200 audience.

The DOE advertisement ‘Thinking Ahead’ focuses on motorcyclist errors, to make riders aware of the dangers on the road and urges them to take care. This message features in a targeted outdoor campaign over the NW200 period. It includes all main routes and heavy penetration of routes around the North West Triangle. As with all outdoor interventions, the campaign will use ‘safe’ advertising sites, such as bus shelters and garage forecourts.

While the NW200 sees thousands of motorcycle racing enthusiasts at one of the most spectacular events in our sporting calendar, not all these enthusiasts are motorcyclists, so be careful out there: Bike Safe! Right to Ride

Save Our Sport From Evil

©2010 Motorcycle RealRoadRacing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

Real Road Racing Annual Dinosaur Migration Junket

Motorcycle Real Road Racing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

Having crashed at high speed during the final NW200 Superbike practice, Steve Plater, allegedly 41 years of age or thereabouts, is probably now hurting somewhat more than he would have - had he still been a twenty something year old. Well you don't really feel the pain when you're a mere youngster - not like you do when you're old and decrepit - not that I'm implying Steve is decrepit, or that I'm either of the foregoing - unlike many of the Dinosaurs allegedly are.

Whilst ageism, like racism and sexism, is a type of discrimination - in certain circumstances a line has to be drawn on our real road race tracks - especially so when so many lives are at stake. Competitors, spectators - men, women and children - we all attend motorcycle road racing events assuming that every possible precaution has been put into place to ensure our safety. We also assume that in the event of an injury causing incident - experienced, reasonably intelligent physically fit officials will be on hand to assist with, and prevent further casualties.

Instead though, we look around and see Dinosaurs, some allegedly in their late sixties, and even seventies - decrepits allegedly bordering on senility - some allegedly living on state benefits, and these people are still allegedly in charge of our safety!

God forbid my life, or any life, will ever have to depend on a pensioner who can barely walk, and on that point - are these poeple actually covered by insurance, or is the designated insurance company kept in the dark when it comes to not only the age of who they're insuring, but also their physical and mental state?

This morning, many Dinosaurs will have awakened and allegedly wondered what to do next on their great annual North West 200 alleged taxpayer funded migration junket, unlike Steve Plater who'll no doubt still be wondering how he survived such an incredible crash - indeed his HM Plant Honda team obviously had the same thoughts when making a statement about the miraculous escape of their star rider: "Steve is fortunate to have come away from his high speed crash with relatively minor injuries"

Save Our Sport From Evil

©2010 Motorcycle RealRoadRacing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Motorcycle Minds – Global Connection – Form An Opinion

Motorcycle Real Road Racing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

Motorcycling is more than a way of life - freedom, mobility, independence and an inimitable feeling of being part of the world around us. Now you can involve yourself and help preserve and promote the unique spirit of motorcycling by participating in a new blog called Motorcycle Minds to which anybody can submit articles - so now is the time to have your say on the issues that concern you.

Motorcyclists in different countries have different problems, some are shared, some are unique, but the common denominator is a love of motorcycling.

Motorcycle Minds is pretty simple, it’s a global blog with articles on specific motorcycle issues such as: advanced training, road infrastructure including crash barriers, braking systems, anti-tampering legislation, electric bikes/C02 emissions, ITS on bikes and so forth – the list is endless.

Motorcycle Minds aims to give fellow riders and non-riders an informed foundation to make an opinion. A kind of loose association of like-minded riders, with no pressure of deadlines, but simply the opportunity when there is an issue to comment on.

However Motorcycle Minds is not just about these issues and where it usually leads us to defend our motorcycling. It’s not all safety – safety – safety.

Why shouldn’t we celebrate motorcycling? We should!

After all, it is the best means of personal transport – not just for fun, but in many countries throughout the world it is a family affair, a workhorse, a way of life. In all its sizes, variations (including Sidecars and Trikes), the motorcycle offers freedom, mobility, independence and an inimitable feeling of being part of the world around us.

The blog is available to riders from around the world who have something worthwhile to say about motorcycling.

The idea of Motorcycle Minds was formulated by riders from different countries, including Northern Ireland, and different backgrounds seeking knowledge and viewpoints to put into one place.

Motorcycle Minds - Involve Yourself and Preserve the Spirit of Motorcycling

Save Our Sport From Evil

©2010 Motorcycle RealRoadRacing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

Troy Bayliss Mugello Xerox Ducati Superbike Test

Motorcycle Real Road Racing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

According to the WSBK official website World Superbike legend Troy Bayliss was back on board a Ducati Superbike machine for the first time since his retirement from the championship at the end of 2008 in a positive test session at Mugello on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

The two-day run at Mugello, the first time Bayliss had ridden a superbike in 18 months, saw him lap in a time of 1 minute 51.9 seconds on race tyres, after the first day had been conditioned by heavy rain.

"I really enjoyed myself and I hope the feedback I have been giving the guys is useful," said Bayliss after the test. "I was a little worried that I'd have forgotten how to ride after the year and a half break, but it was easy and to be honest it felt like I'd never been away!"
Bayliss retired at the end of the 2008 season with three world titles and an excellent record of 52 wins in 152 races.

Regarding an eventual return to the track for Bayliss, team manager Ernesto Marinelli refused to make any significant comments, declaring: "Hold on, this is an important decision that we will eventually leave up to Troy. It's clear that for him the door is always open".

Save Our Sport From Evil

©2010 Motorcycle RealRoadRacing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Motocycle Real Road Racing Hymn Sheet NW200

Motorcycle Real Road Racing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

What a breath of fresh air it is in this wee country of ours when one hears all sides singing from the same hymn sheet, as indeed the riders, and fans, (sorry - make that customers) were when praising the new Mathers Cross chicane on the North West 200 course. Just as well really because if real road racing is to have a future, chicanes will be part and parcel of the raft of new safety measures to be shortly introduced at all surviving circuits.

All current Prohibited to the Public areas at remaining circuits are to be greatly increased, and for the safety of customers - the erection of grandstands around the circuits will be the way forward as it keeps large numbers of paying customers in positions of relative safety.

Along with chicanes, removable fences have been proposed, as has the permanent removal of obstacles such as telegraph poles, trees, walls, houses - in addition to improved runoff areas on the outside of corners with the obligatory gravel traps.

Come to think of it, perhaps a new International standards short circuit venue would be a cheaper option, but since it will be the taxpayer and real road race fanatic who'll be footing the bills - who really cares when it will enable our much loved Dinosaurs to maintain their alleged lucrative powerbase.

Also on the agenda, speed inhibiting measures as allegedly suggested by the Senior Coroner, but since this would not be achievable in practice, serious consideration is being given to the alternative of banning Superbikes from participating in all real road racing events within Ulster - Northern Ireland. And on the subject of banning Superbikes, one welcome proposal concerns newcomers - novices - all of whom might very well be resricted to competing on either 125cc two stroke machines or 450cc four stroke machines - for a period of at least one full season, or a specified number of short circuit events - followed by a similar real road race period of machine size restriction.

Due to the risk of unpredictable consequences of mechanical failure, the proposal is to reduce both the speed of the machines, and the number of simultaneous starters. One only has to look back at the recent Monza round of the World Superbike Championship to realise what the consequences could have been had such an incident occurred on a real road race circuit.

Three MCUI-UC Committee Members who wisely allegedly declined to let their names go forward for re-election in 2010, allegedly claimed they all agreed that unless drastic steps were taken to reduce the speeds of machines in real road races and all Officials and Spectators were removed from within range of track accidents, the time would very soon come when road racing would be a thing of the past.

The question must be asked whether it is acceptable in the 21st century to have motor cycle races on public roads bearing in mind the speed potential of modern racing motorcycles, the nature of our public roads, the unpredictable consequences of mechanical failure or a competitor losing control of his machine or a crash involving a number of competitors, and the difficulty of ensuring spectator safety particularly where spectators are allowed to be positioned close to the racing.

If motorcycle real road racing is to continue, all will come to pass, and sincere thanks must go to our wonderfully endearing MCUI-UC safety conscious officials.

Save Our Sport From Evil

©2010 Motorcycle RealRoadRacing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

Monday, 10 May 2010

Woman Painting Fingernails While Driving Convicted In Motorcyclist’s Death

Motorcycle Real Road Racing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

American Motorcyclist Association Press Release

Pickerington, Ohio - A woman who was painting her fingernails while driving and smashed into motorcyclist Anita Zaffke, killing her, has been convicted of felony reckless homicide, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

Lora Hunt, 49, reportedly showed no emotion when the jury read the verdict after deliberating a little more than three hours on May 6. The trial lasted two days.

Hunt, a nurse, faces up to five years in prison when she is sentenced next month.

Zaffke, 56, was killed when Hunt, who police said admitted she was painting her fingernails at the time of the crash, smashed into the back of Zaffke's motorcycle at a stoplight in Lake Zurich, Ill., about 40 miles north of Chicago, on May 2, 2009

At the trial, Hunt testified she had stopped painting her nails before the fatal crash. Her defense lawyer argued Hunt's actions were negligent, like eating a sandwich or talking on a cellphone in a car, and not reckless, according to the Chicago Tribune.

But Assistant State's Attorney Mike Mermel, who prosecuted the case, argued that Hunt acted recklessly, the newspaper said.

"It is not the same as biting a sandwich. ...It's a voluntary disablement," the newspaper quoted Mermel as saying. "She might as well have been in the back seat making a sandwich."

Greg Zaffke II of Wauconda, Ill., the victim's son, told WGN News following the verdict: "There are no winners today. There is no celebration or happiness. Two families will forever carry the hurt and anguish caused by one person's reckless actions behind the wheel."

After the fatal crash, Zaffke began painting his fingernails black as a reminder to anyone he meets of his mother's death. And he formed the Black Nail Brigade Foundation Against Distracted Driving ( to publicize the dangers of distracted driving, push for legislation to impose appropriate penalties for distracted drivers who seriously injure or kill others, and to boost awareness to share the road with motorcycles.

He told WGN News that the Black Nail Brigade efforts transcend his mom's death.

"I love my mom, but I understand that. There are other loved ones dying," he said.

"On behalf of the AMA and its members, I want to express our sincere condolences to Ms. Zaffke's family," said Ed Moreland, AMA vice president for government relations. "This episode puts into stark relief the tragedy that can result from distracted driving, and we hope that our efforts and those of Greg Zaffke will help avoid further tragedies."

In 2009, the AMA adopted a formal position statement that endorsed enhanced penalties for those who injure or kill others while operating a motor vehicle when distracted or inattentive operation is involved, with the goal of preventing motorcycle crashes from occurring in the first place. To read the AMA's position statement on distracted and inattentive driving, go to AMA

Here in Northern Ireland, our wonderful judiciary would most likely have given her an all expenses paid vacation at a 5 Star Caribbean Beauty Spa.

Save Our Sport From Evil

©2010 Motorcycle RealRoadRacing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Motorcycle Real Road Racing Ulster Grand Handout

Motorcycle Real Road Racing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

And still our ‘Grand Prix’ organisers are allegedly pursuing £50000.00 of taxpayers money - my money, and that guy over there who's as disinterested in the blood sport of motorcycle real road racing as I am of F1 - his money, and let's not forget in this age of severe recession - education, health, jobs, etc, all far more deserving of our money than a motorcycle real road race that's been in dire straits for to many years.

As with the great North West tourism magnet, the UGP claims to be an International event, but the well used trick of shipping in a handful of overseas backmarkers doesn't fool the more knowledgeable motorcycle race fan in our midst. The real motorcycle road racing fans of Northern Ireland are being deprived of their favourite sport -discriminated against by those blinded by their own sense of importance.

When Dundrod lost its World Championship Grand Prix status, our Governing body should have acted immediately to ensure we had a suitable track designed and constructed, but sadly, the Dinosaurs seemingly had an ulterior agenda to blindly follow.

Many tragic deaths later, with more inquests still to be heard, our Governing body continues to lead us down the one way narrow winding bumpy road to motorcycle racing oblivion.

The MCUI-UC and those die hard fans so Hell bent on having real road racing continue - should dig deep, and fund it themselves.

Congratulations to Eugene Laverty on his stunning World Supersport win at Monza this afternoon. Commiserations to World Superbike star Jonathan Rea, an incredible fight back from a poor start went slightly awry, but at least he walked away from the crash, and the later second race crash. Hopefully he'll have better luck next weekend at Kyalami.

Save Our Sport From Evil

©2010 Motorcycle RealRoadRacing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

European Driving Licence Directive Consultation – Madness!

Motorcycle Real Road Racing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland

Right To Ride has replied to the madness contained in the Department of the Environment’s (DOE) consultation on proposals for implementing the 3rd EC Directive On Driving Licences.

This directive voted on and passed in the European Parliament in 2006 must be transposed into national legislation by 19th January 2011 and enter into force as of 19th January 2013.

The directive is designed to harmonize motorcycle licences across Europe, although the directive allows members states flexibility at what age they can allow a rider to access the licence categories.

The European Commission gave member states 3 choices in terms of progressive access from categories A1 to A2, and A2 to A:

To offer riders the choice of either training or a test
To impose training only
To impose testing only
The DOE has unfortunately moved well beyond the spirit of the directive.

Apart from the complexity of the DOE proposal which was put out to consultation, it offers no benefit to riders.

We strongly disagree with the consultation proposals which aim to introduce provisional licences granted for all categories of licence entitlement. In our opinion these proposals are prescriptive and convoluted and badly thought through. The irony is that these proposals will effectively undermine the EU directive on all counts and encourage riders to become “permanent learners”.

The DOE proposal wants to allow “novice” riders access to full power motorcycles and to undertake every two years an undefined “refresher course”, to ride indefinitely on a provisional licence. What this means is that the rider will have to take a mandatory refresher course (which the rider will have to pay for anyway), without the benefit of entitlement to a proper licence and a test if they wish to move to a bigger motorcycle.

The DOE has simply followed the Department for Transport’s (in Great Britain) recently completed consultation and subsequent report on the directive, which is to impose a provisional licencing system, using as a model, the GB based costs. But the DOE consultation proposals do not define what these “mandatory” refresher courses and tests will actually entail, nor how much they will cost the individual rider.

These proposals go against the EU directive which prescribes an option of 7 hours approved training between the categories.

Right To Ride calls on the DOE to:

Carry out a full cost benefit analysis and regular impact assessment should be carried out based on Northern Ireland calculations and how this affects the people of Northern Ireland.

That the training based arrangement should be reviewed and consideration given to the way in which other countries in the European Union are implementing the directive, especially regarding the training route.
The Motorcycle Industry in Europe - ACEM (Association des Constructeurs Européens de Motocycles) proposes training for progressive access for riders when stepping up between licence categories and agrees to the 7 hours training as prescribed in the directive.

Right to Ride’s, Trevor Baird says, “We recommend that the DOE investigates further the values of cost beneficial 7 hours structured, relevant and cost-effective basic training to give the rider moving between licence categories, the essential skills and knowledge capable of safely operating a motorcycle continuously in normal traffic situations on public roads.”

In our view, the DOE consultation has set out proposals which will effectively undermine the EU directive on all counts and encourage riders to become “permanent learners”, by being able to ride indefinitely on a provisional licence.

The DOE consultation has moved well beyond the spirit of a process of implementing the 3rd European Driving Licence Directive, which is in itself complicated (albeit understandable) into a prescriptive and unnecessarily difficult set of proposals, which will certainly not give riders any benefits and will not be unenforceable.

Acem says that, “Training should be designed to actually enhance motorcycle safety; and not merely be a check in traffic to demonstrate that the rider has the required skills to operate a motorcycle in traffic. Training should not merely be a refreshment course, but include specifically designed modules that address the main causes of accidents involving motorcycles. Training provides a tool to increase rider knowledge and experience, with the ultimate target to enhance motorcycle safety.”

View Article on Right To Ride

Save Our Sport From Evil

©2010 Motorcycle RealRoadRacing Blog by Barbiegirl Northern Ireland