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Tuesday 6 February 2024

News Briefs

The AMA has announced the passing of Hall of Famer Tom Heininger at the age of 97. As the co-founder of Webco, a popular motorcycle aftermarket and accessory company in the 1960s and 1970s, Heininger's impact on the motorcycle industry was immense. Heininger served as president of the MIC in 1972 and played an influential role in the formation of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. After serving aboard a submarine during World War II, Heininger entered the auto industry and worked for Offenhauser, a major automobile racing parts business at the time. While there he met Bob Hughes and they became fast friends before forming Webco together in 1954. In the early days of the company, Webco primarily focused on manufacturing high-quality racing engine parts for motorcycles, but the brand later expanded to include all forms of aftermarket accessories and apparel. Heininger and Hughes also opened a pair of Honda dealerships in Los Angeles during the 1960s and formed a nightly radio show during Daytona Bike Week with AMA announcer Roxy Rockwood. He also worked to further the motorcycle industry by serving on the board of the Motorcycle, Scooter and Allied Trades Association (MS&ATA) during the 1960s - a trade association that AMA formed out of in 1924. MS&ATA merged with the California Motorcycle Safety Council to form the MIC in 1969. Heininger was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2003. 

A1R Racing has announced an augmented program for the upcoming AFT season featuring Aidan RoosEvans aboard Yamaha YZ450Fs in the Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER class, former racer and professional bodybuilder Joe RoosEvans on board as coach.  

According to The Economist Group's global EIU City Liveability Survey for 2023, the first four of the top ten North American Cities to score highest in the survey were Canadian. Vancouver is 'top dog', followed by Calgary, Toronto and Montreal 4th - tied with best U.S. city Honolulu. Atlanta (fifth) was the leading continental U.S. city, followed by Pittsburgh and Seattle, with Miami and Chicago joint 10th. Austrian capital Vienna scored best in global terms, followed by Copenhagen (Denmark), Melbourne and Sydney (Australia) and Vancouver fifth. Bottom of the U.S. city list were Lexington, New York City, Detroit and Houston. However, be pleased you don't live in Damascus, Syria (or what's left of it) - the ancient and once great center of learning, advanced civilisation, oldest capital city in the world and revered architectural wonder of its time was the 2023 'bottom feeder' - which just shows what can happen! 

The MRF reports that just before the end of 2023, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed H.B. 201 into law. The focus of the bill is to "Prohibit a state agency, county or township from restricting the sale or use of a motor vehicle based on the energy source used to power the motor vehicle; to prohibit a state agency from adopting the California emissions standards for motor vehicles." The Clean Air Act allows states to seek a waiver to enact emission standards outside of those set by the federal government. In 2022, California received a waiver allowing the state to establish guidelines requiring every new car and truck sold there to have zero emissions by 2035. This requirement has set off a debate in state capitals around the country. Some states seek to align with California, while others, like Ohio, are pushing back against California's plans.  Created by federal law in 2021, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has been slow in establishing the Motorcyclist Advisory Council (MAC). At the urging of the MRF in May 2023, thirteen lawmakers sent a letter pressing DOT to seat the MAC. December 2023 finally saw the DOT begin the selection process for the MAC. The MRF has worked hard to advocate for qualified candidates for the MAC and anticipate a formal announcement on membership soon. 

Cumming, Georgia based Turner Racing Honda has announced a 2024 AFT lineup that sees veteran racer Trent Lowe alongside promising rookie Evan Renshaw aboard American Honda CRF450Rs in the Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER class.  

The 2024 Mission Foods AMA Flat Track Grand Championship is set for June 30 - July 6, with the week-long amateur competition returning to Du Quoin, Illinois. The AMA will operate and promote the event, which is the only race in the United States where a rider can earn an AMA National No. 1 plate in amateur flat track racing. The event will feature all four dirt-track disciplines - Short Track, TT, Half-Mile and Mile.

JPG Motorsports are to field Chase Saathoff aboard Honda CRF450Rs in its all-new Bryan Bigelow managed 2024 Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER effort. Despite having only recently turned 18, Saathoff has already established himself as one of the most promising talents to hit the Progressive AFT scene in recent seasons. The Illinois native has racked up numerous accolades in his young career, including being named the 2021 Nicky Hayden AMA Horizon Award winner and 2022 Progressive AFT Rookie of the Year. Saathoff continued his rapid ascent in 2023, scoring nine podiums, including six runner-up finishes, en route to a fourth-place finish in the Parts Unlimited AFT Singles championship standings.  

Sources: AMD, IDN, FT, Reuters, PSB, MPN, BDN, MCN, AP, Bloomberg, MSNW, Electrek,,,, Cycle World,