Tag Archives: motorcycles

Monstah Mash: Riding the new Ducati Monster 797

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Photo courtesy of MCN.

Ever since Ducati phased out the Monster 696/796 duo back in 2014, new riders looking to the famed Bologna marquee for their first motorcycle had precious few choices. They could opt for the Monster 821, a bigger and heavier motorcycle than a green rider might be comfortable with, or the Scrambler, which only became available a short time ago.

Enter the 2017 Monster 797, a machine designed to be a serious contender for a new rider’s first bike, and a stylish gateway into the Ducati family. Distilled down, the 797 is a simple, approachable, easy to ride motorcycle that broadens the accessibility of Ducati’s signature brand of performance and riding passion.

In my opinion, no discussion of the 797 is complete without looking back to previous generation Monsters, specifically the 796.

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The Monster 796. Photo courtesy of Motorcycle-usa.

While the passage of time has shaped the 797 into a more refined motorcycle than its predecessor, the two bikes share much of the same lineage, most notably their common engine.

The 803cc air-cooled v-twin found in the 797 (which also powers the Scrambler) is a direct descendant of the one found in the 796. In 797 guise, it makes a healthy 75 horsepower and 50.8 pound-feet of torque. Power delivery is linear and easy to modulate making it reassuringly predictable for the newer rider.

One area where the 797 positively leaves the 796 for dead is in how cleanly it pulls from low rpm – gone are the filling-rattling judders when rolling on the throttle in too low a gear. Keep the throttle pinned and the motor pulls deliciously right to the top of the rev range. Land speed records probably aren’t in the 797’s future, but it has ample grunt for nearly every riding situation.

That smoothness continues into the rest of the riding experience as well. Changing gears and pulling away from stops are a delight thanks to the silky-smooth gearbox, every twist of the throttle yields crisp responses, and the slipper clutch does a fantastic job of taking the edge off all but the most ham-fisted downshifts.

Ducati also nailed the 797’s ergonomics. Drop into the saddle and you immediately notice how upright the seating position is. The seat is wide and comfortable, the foot pegs low and directly beneath you, and the high bars are natural to hold. Throw in a well-tuned chassis and short 56.5-inch wheelbase, and the 797 maneuvers with ease, particularly at low speed. Tip in is immediate, and the front end feels agile and sharp. It never feels twitchy or over eager to change direction, it simply goes where you point it with deftness.

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It may be an entry-level bike, but she still rips. Photo courtesy of CarBlogIndia.

Another standout feature is the large, easy to read dash. Like the rest of the bike, simplicity is the name of the game – a tachometer, speedometer, trip/clock combo, odometer, average speed counter, and that’s it. There are no confusing menus to flick through, no rider mode adjustments to be made. Just all the pertinent information in a tidy package.

While it may be entry-level, the 797’s styling is anything but. It beautifully blends modern Ducati styling with retro-Monster cues. It has the same muscular stance as the 796, the current Monster 1200 has donated its classy aluminum gas tank, Ducati’s stunning red trellis frame is on full display from front fork to tidy tail, and the single round headlight has been a staple on every Monster since 1993.

If I could change anything about the 797, it would be the exhaust note. While it does makes a lovely growl under full load, it lacks some of that sonorous quality I was hoping for. Throw on a set of aftermarket pipes though, and the 797 should clear its throat and sing with the best of them.

With the 797, Ducati has crafted a solid motorcycle for new riders that also happens to deliver enough performance to be a viable option for seasoned riders. The newest Monster’s refined powertrain, crisp handling, smooth controls, and a starting price of under ten grand make this bike is a genuine pleasure to ride.

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Many thanks and much respect to Seacoast Sport Cycle in Derry, NH for the opportunity to ride and review the Monster 797. SSC is a full-service dealer with incredibly knowledgeable staff and a wide array of motorcycles and gear to choose from.

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My Top 5 motoring dreams

I know I’ve got my arms around a powerful dream when it ignites a kind of desperation in me to have it, own it, hold it before it disappears: I’m learning it’s wise to pay attention to the ideas that steal inside and prick at your heart with such cold, sweet longing. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the significance of dreams and felt compelled to write about what moves me. Cars have been a part of my life since I was a little kid pushing Matchbox cars across the carpet, making engine sounds with pursed lips. I stared this blog from that same passionate place – this is the adult equivalent of toy cars and mouthed exhaust notes – and I thought it would be fun to share my Top 5 motoring dreams.

People sometimes ask me what my favorite car of all time is. There is *literally* no way to answer that question because the answer is constantly changing. Same thing here – this list is fluid and flexible and in no particular order. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this list and what your own motorized dreams are, so feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you for supporting my passion!

Experiencing the Stelvio Pass

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Sunrise over the Stelvio pass. Photo credit: Colcorsa

There are an unlimited number of incredible driving roads that could/should be included on gearhead’s bucket list – the Blue Ridge Parkway, California’s famous Highway 1, or the Transfagarasan Highway in Romania to name a few. But, it’s the Stelvio Pass that earns a spot in my Top 5. Imagine you’re a kid again and someone hands you a magic marker and tells you to draw the wildest, most wonderful road you can think of. Marker in hand, you concentrate and begin to scribble – crazy hairpin turns, long straights, maybe even a mountain or two to climb. You’d put every cool element you could think of into a single road. The end result would undoubtedly be the Stelvio Pass. I mean, just look at it! It’s gorgeous! Located in the Italian Alps, this breathtaking mountain pass manages to pack 48 switchbacks into 15 winding miles.

Can you imagine what it would be like to hustle this road in a red Ferrari convertible? Sun beaming down amidst snow capped mountains silently stretching skyward? Hairpin after hairpin rushing toward you – brake, turn sharply, jump on the gas and ride it out, brake, turn sharply… Or, what it would be like to throw a leg over a (insert Italian motorcycle brand here – we are in the motherland, after all), and assault the road that way? I struggle to think of any other road that inspires the way the Stelvio Pass does. It’s honestly the stuff of dreams.

Going racing

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Valentino Rossi, aka -‘The Doctor’, hard at work. Photo credit: Movistar Yamaha MotoGP

Something happens inside me when I get around racing, and I’m not quite sure what it is. It doesn’t matter if it’s watching Valentino Rossi hang off the side of his MotoGP bike, or Fernando Alonso sliding into the cockpit of his Formula 1 car, or heck, even when I put on a helmet at a go-kart track. It pulls at something in me to, I don’t know, do things. Be better. Get off my ass. Hustle. It’s that desperation thing I mentioned. I’m acutely aware that all hope is lost for my chances at going pro, but I can still, like, compete in rich gentleman’s leagues and stuff, right?

There are a litany of reasons why going racing won’t work – too expensive, too dangerous, I’m too old, I’ve never been, I don’t own anything to race. I say: screw all that. If you do the work, you’ll find the solution. Besides, other people have done it which means I can too. And why not? I’m starting to understand that if something continues to tug at your heart over and over and over again, it probably feels that way for a reason. It would be the easy, comfortable thing to remain a spectator and not do what it takes to go racing. But when something feels like this, how steep is the price of ignoring it?

Visiting the Ferrari factory

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A 250 GT sits just outside Ferrari’s main entrance. Photo credit: Sports Car Digest

I can only imagine that visiting the Ferrari factory in Maranello, Italy, is like visiting God’s holy workshop. Mixed in with spare parts of animals still to be discovered and people yet to be born, are the camshafts, piston rings, and crackle-coated intake manifolds for a Ferrari V12. Someone doesn’t even have to be into cars and there’s a great chance they still understand what the name “Ferrari” entails. My earliest car memory is of a red Ferrari Testarossa in Lake George, NY one warm summer night. My sister and I were downtown getting food, and after seeing it drive by, I actually ran out into traffic to stand behind it as it sat at a light. If I focus hard enough, I can still see the wide straked rear-end, still hear it growling, the way the sound reverberated in my chest.

There’s a certain mystique about Ferrari that few other brands can match. Part of it is Ferrari’s racing pedigree, which is nearly peerless. Part of it is the powerful role the brand plays in popular culture. Another is the certainty – the same certainty that the sun will rise again tomorrow – that every new Ferrari road car will continue to raise the performance threshold. And another is just that damn gorgeous shade of red. Whatever it is, consider me hooked. Honestly, I’m not sure if Ferrari even does factory tours for us “regular people” (someone let me know if they do?), but I don’t care. I’m going. Combine this with driving the Stelvio Pass and there’s a good chance I’d never leave Italy again.

Attending the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

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There’s just too much perfection in this picture. Photo credit: Pebble Beach

What is there to say about the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance that hasn’t already been said? It’s crazy, insane. Every year when the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance rolls around (pun!), some of the most valuable cars on earth head to California for a celebration of the automobile which has no equal. You can bet your bottom dollar on seeing the richest of the rich and the rarest of the rare.

Literally situated on the 18th green of the famous Pebble Beach Golf Links with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop, this event isn’t a mere “car show” (those are for plebeians, my dear). It’s a week-long exhibition whose atmosphere is more akin to The Great Gatsby than anything else, and showcases pristine examples of the automobile from every era and every pedigree. Has it always been your dream to see a 1953 Ferrari 250 MM Vignale Spyder? Pebble Beach has it. Or, what about the insanely rare 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic? This is where you’ll see it. In addition to the primary Concours, there are numerous other shows, historic races at nearby Laguna Seca raceway, and driving excursions along the California coast. In my fantasy, I’m walking around the Concours in a sun hat, Ray-Bans, a white linen suit, sipping a Mint Julep, and wondering if I’d rather take the multi-million dollar Ferrari home, or take the multi-million dollar Rolls Royce home. See how nice it is to dream?

Driving cross-country on a motorcycle

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Be still, my heart. Photo credit: Ultracoolfl.com

One of my greatest fears is becoming stagnant, not fully experiencing all that’s possible from life, so this entry on my list is a must. I can think of no more clear or potent example of the dream than taking a cross-country road trip on a motorcycle. I’ve always felt that driving across the country is almost our duty as Americans – to see and discover those purple mountains and amber waves of grain. And I’m not talking about a frantic sprint that has you constantly checking your watch because the office is beckoning. I mean one of those trips they write books and songs about – where time is fully yours to be savored and measured out in delicious, soulful moments, rather than by what a schedule demands.

Taking the trip in a car works, but a motorcycle brings things to an entirely different level. I won’t even bother explaining it (mainly because I haven’t done it yet), so instead, I’ll let the wildly talented bunch from Manchester, NH’s own Iron & Air do that for me. Like the roads themselves, the dreams you’ll be chasing on a trip like this would be continually moving and flowing, leading you down paths perhaps you didn’t expect and to destinations you never considered. Of all the dreams on this list, this is my most treasured.

Bonus! Visiting Monaco

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Oh Monaco, you beautifully ridiculous stereotype, you. This tiny independent city-state on the Mediterranean Sea holds the title of having more millionaires and billionaires per capita than any other place on earth. Consequently, it’s also home to the most prestigious Formula 1 race in the world, more ships and yachts in its harbor than a full blown Navy yard, and enough supercars to make a Saudi prince weak in the knees. It’s the absolutely insane car-spotting that lands Monaco on this list. Roads here, especially in the ward of Monte Carlo, are cramped and usually bungled up with traffic. Clearly, that matters to no one. YouTube is rife with videos with headlines like, “Lamborghini Aventador brutal acceleration and sound!”. Odds are good the video is of a sunglassed, suntanned, sonofa… generic wealthy owner hammering the big Lambo through the tunnel under the famous Monte Carlo casino. Keep an eye out for my fanboy video from Monaco coming soon 🙂

‘Hitting the Apex’ is coming to NH!

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If you’re unfamiliar with Mark Neale’s work, you’ve been missing out. Neale has been making some of the finest MotoGP documentaries anywhere, and he has recently released a brand new film called ‘Hitting the Apex’. Narrated by Brad Pitt, HTA covers the 2013 into 2014 MotoGP season and follows six of the fastest riders at the peak of the sport: Valentino Rossi, Marco Simoncelli, Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez, and Casey Stoner.

On Monday, January 25 at 7:30pm,  we are lucky enough to have a screening of HTA at the Cinemagic theatre in Hooksett, NH! Tickets are $12, and they must be reserved by Friday, January 15. We need to meet a ticket threshold in order to make the screening happen and we’re over halfway to our goal! Click on the link to get your tickets:

https://tugg.com/events/79846 

If you like motorcycles and racing, HTA is like getting a glimpse at Valhalla – it’s exciting, the cinematography is incredible, the tension on and off the track is palpable, and it pays beautiful tribute to one of the craziest sports on the planet and the gladiators who battle it out every Sunday. And, even if you don’t like motorcycles or racing, there is more than enough drama and excitement to keep you entertained. In short, everyone needs to see this film. Thank you for your support!

 

 

Queen City Cars & Coffee III

Queen City Cars & Coffee is back! The past two years hosting this show have been absolute blast, and I’m stoked to be putting it on again this year. Last year, over 90 cars attended, about 30 more than the first year. For QC3 (just made that name up right now and I dig it) the goal is set at 125 cars. Let’s rally together and make it happen! Invite your friends, invite their friends, invite people that aren’t your friends, invite your grandma, your neighbor, the guy who cleans your septic tank, it doesn’t matter. Just invite them. I genuinely think we have the chance to create something epic and put the Manchester car scene on the map. This year’s show is on Saturday, September 13 from 8am to 12pm at the Arms Parking Lot in Manchester, NH. Be sure to follow @_DoranD_ and @TopDeadCenter on Twitter for updates. I’m beyond fired up for this, and I can’t wait to see everyone there!

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Chasing Racing Dreams: The Penguin RoadRacing School

This edition of “Chasing Racing Dreams” features the Penguin Racing School who’s home base is at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The school was the first motorcycle roadracing school in the country and provides a wide range of instruction and riding opportunities for every level of rider. Don’t have a bike? No worries, you can rent bikes at the school (Ducatis!), and you can also rent all the gear necessary for a day at the track. Head over to The Penguin RoadRacing School’s website to learn about all the details on how to make a track day happen.

“If you can learn to ride a bike smoothly in the rain and the wet, it will translate to smooth riding in the dry.” Head Instructor Eric Wood addresses the small crowd of riders who have come to The Penguin RoadRacing School’s final day of the season, as torrents of water rush off the steel roofs of the pit road garages at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The rain is intermittent and fickle, and restless gray-white clouds boil and surge overhead. More than one beginner student peers at the sky with a furrowed brow. I feel the same anxiety: riding on the track in the rain? Is that a good idea? Wood, who’s father started the school back in 1973, addressed those concerns after a timid comment about the weather by one of the students. He explained that typically, crashes are less frequent on rainy days because everyone is aware that grip levels are low and they need to be more cautious with their riding. A reassuring answer indeed.

Photo Credit: Penguin RoadRacing School

I’m spending the day at the track to tag along with the Track Day Experience class. This class, run by champion racer and New Hampshire native Scott Greenwood, is designed for street riders looking to get a taste of track riding. While I unfortunately won’t be out tearing it up with the other students, I will be rubbing shoulders with some of the best riders in the state and sitting in on Greenwood’s classroom time. Greenwood was actually featured in the most recent edition of The Torque Tube. To read his story, click HERE.

After a short briefing in the garage, the students and I immediately head into our respective classrooms. There are three classes going on today: the Basic course, the Advanced course, and the Track Day Experience course, of which I am a part. The Basic course is for riders looking to develop their racing skills and techniques, the Advanced course builds off the Basic course’s skills, and the introductory Track Day Experience course. We gather in the Media Room in the track’s infield, which is normally occupied by journalists during a NASCAR race. There are a mix of students here today: some experienced racers, a few older riders, and some who admit to having no track riding time at all. As the rain throws one particularly nasty tantrum, one of the students asks, “Does anyone have rain tires?”

Photo Credit: Penguin RoadRacing School

Greenwood begins by covering racing fundamentals and safety with wet track conditions. He is clear, thorough and confidence inspiring as he discusses the rules and techniques for staying safe in the rain. The amount of information involved in racing, as I learn throughout the day, is vast and more than a little intimidating, but all the instructors make the ominous track conditions and volume of information easy to manage. Soon after the class starts, the tension dissipates from the classroom like the rain clouds as the blue sky tries desperately to break through.

Greenwood made an excellent analogy that helped me understand what make this sport so challenging and exciting. “In normal sports like hockey, your body can only get ‘so good.’ In racing, it’s so mental that you can always improve and grow and get better. Technology changes, bikes change, and there is always room to work on improving lap times.” Because racing isn’t static and it doesn’t entirely rely on the physical dimension, there is always room for growth.

Eric Wood said it another way. “It’s very much a thinking persons sport… there’s absolutely a physical component, and then there’s a very mental aspect to it to… you’re constantly thinking it through and analyzing what is going on… then you mix in the element of courage that you need to take in order to get better.”

Photo Credit: On TrackMedia, LLC

When classroom time is over, the students head to the garage and fire up their motorcycles. They line up on pit road and several students are assigned an instructor to follow on their first lap. This practice session lasts about 15 minutes, and is followed by another classroom session. They’ll alternate between riding and classroom time throughout the day. It’s literally painful to stand along pit road and watch the students hammer down the front straight; chills run down my spine as the heavy guttural exhaust note from Greenwood’s white Ducati Monster tears past me. The prospect of riding a motorcycle on a track as hard as prudence deems possible literally makes me salivate with excitement. As the day progresses, it’s fascinating to watch the students become more comfortable on the track. The mental demons have ceased their terrifying bombardment and are in full retreat: the students ride faster and faster, their bodies are more relaxed on the motorcycle, and their smiles continue to get wider.

“The biggest thing we like to see is smiling faces, and hearing ‘I can’t wait to come back in April,'” said Greenwood.

Photo Credit: On TrackMedia, LLC

The Penguin RoadRacing School was born from a desire to provide a place where riders could learn to become racers. Back in the ’70’s, there was little in the way of track days or programs where a street rider could come and simply ride on the track for a day. As riders’ needs changed and track days became increasingly popular, the school adapted their curriculum to meet those new needs, hence the Track Day Experience program. I asked Wood what new evolutions students could expect to see in the future from the school. “I envision the opportunity to utilize technology that’s becoming more and more readily available to add to our arsenal of tools… We’ve been experimenting a bit with GPS this year, and I’d be willing to bet that as technology evolves over the next few years, we’ll be able to provide… more individual attention that will allow us to connect to more people on a totally new level.”

Halfway through the day I go with Wood and the Advanced students for a track walk. Wood, who has won at NHMS dozens and dozens of times, knows every racing line, every braking point, when to get on the throttle, how best to position his body on the bike for the next turn –  walking with him is enlightening. I always knew there were a lot variables and things to remember about getting around a track, but Wood has this place so dialed that when he’s in turn five, he’s already setting himself up for turns six and seven. Our group’s responses to Wood’s teaching sounds like the time the repeat button got stuck on my iPod. “You do what in this turn? Oh. I never even thought of that. Wow…. You do what in this turn? Oh.”

Photo Credit: Penguin RoadRacing School

I walked away from the day deeply impressed with the level of knowledge and experience the instructors have, how well the huge amount of information was imparted to the students, and just how desperately I want to ride a motorcycle on the track. It would be far too difficult to try and explain all the concepts and topics covered during the day. Instead, go take the class and find out for yourself. “It’s a lot more than just a track day. What we focus on is the education on top of the track time and helping our students learn as much as possible so they can walk away and be a better rider,” said Wood.

“Nobody walks into this sport and goes to the front right away. This is a process, it doesn’t happen instantly for anybody… That moment when the guy comes off the track and has the look in his eye that says, ‘Hey! I get it,’ that never gets old,” said Wood. “I remember doing that and I still do that… I enjoy trying to inspire someone to be better, to learn more. You teach someone something that makes a difference for them and that earns their trust and you can then move on to the next level. If you can inspire, they can become a life long addict of the sport.”

Look for another entry on the Penguin RoadRacing School coming sometime in the spring. Next time, I’ll be on the bike!

Photo Credit: Penguin RoadRacing School

Many thanks to the Penguin Racing School for allowing me to spend the day with them. Special thanks to Scott Greenwood for being such a gracious host, and to Eric Wood for his time and for allowing me to tag along. Be sure to visit their website HERE.

Photo Extravaganza: Tutto Italiano

When you’re a certified car junky and you find out there’s an Italian car show in Brookline, Mass, it’s like Lindsey Lohan finding out there’s going to be a rager down the street: unbridled excitement, dilated pupils and sweating palms, rounded out with the undeniable certainty that you’ll be there no matter what. That’s exactly what happened with the Tutto Italiano Auto Show held this past Sunday, October 16 at the amazing Larz Anderson Auto Museum.

Located in Brookline, the Larz Anderson Auto Museum was born out of a tradition started by its owners Larz and Isabel Anderson: they would open up their doors on Sunday afternoons and let people admire their spectacular antique automobile collection. Today, the museum contains cars from nearly every era of automotive history, from ancient Lincoln limousines and Renault phaetons, to a modern McLaren Mercedes SLR supercar.

Fast forward to today and the museum’s function hasn’t change much from those early days. From the museum’s website, “Today, the museum’s primary goal is it’s continued support of the collector car community through educational outreach and the preservation of our permanent collection of early automobiles. The Larz Anderson Auto Museum hopes to serve as a resource for your collector car interests.” And shows like Tutto Italiano are one of the ways the museum does this. Head over to their website to see all their cars, read the full history, and find out when the next event is.

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The first sight you see as you enter the Tutto Italiano is Ferrari red. Rows, and rows of Ferrari red. On the right side of the driveway are dozens of Ferraris: 308’s, 512’s, Dino’s, a sparkling new 458 Italia, two pristine 430 Scuderias. Closer to the museum are a smattering of Lamborghinis; their low, wide stanches and menacing profiles a stark contrast to the flowing shapes of the Ferrari Dino and 612 Scaglietti. On the sloping hill to the left is a sheet of Alfa Romeos, many with their hoods and doors thrown wide open, while Alfa aficionados mill about swapping tips and war stories.

Follow the driveway up the hill and around the museum and vintage Ferraris from the 1960’s share real estate with a rare Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione, and an old Michael Schumacher Formula1 car (I know. Awesome.) Families relax out on the museum’s lawn enjoying the gorgeous fall day. The smell of cooking hamburgers and hotdogs wafts up from the grill that shares space with more Italian machinery in the form of pristine Ducati and Moto Guzzi motorcycles. The immaculate carbon fiber body panels on several Ducati 1198’s shimmer in the warm autumn sun.

To say this show was awesome is a severe understatement. There are multiple Tutto Italiano shows coming up next year, so be sure to keep an eye on TDC and the museum’s website for dates in 2012. Viva Italia!

Adventures of a Wanna-be Racecar Driver

TDC was doing a little consulting with a good friend recently, and an idea for a new TDC Series was born: Adventures of a Wanna-be Racecar Driver. This brilliantly named series would chronicle TDC’s escapades through all types of motorsport. Somewhat surprisingly, New Hampshire has a diverse and varied motorsport history and is home to a large number of racers of all kinds, and the opportunities for exciting racing related pieces for TDC are incredible. Clearly being a racecar driver would be the best thing ever (who wouldn’t want to be like Fernando Alonso?) and this series could provide unique insights into the racing itself and the personalities behind the wheel or at the handlebars.

So, what do you think? Would you like to see a series like this? What do you think of the name of this series? Comment on this post or on TDC’s Facebook page and speak your mind on this. TDC is actually heading to the Team O’Neil Rally School this coming Monday so we can kick off this new series. Bring on the comments!

The Torque Tube: Local champion Scott Greenwood and life on two wheels

When championship winning motorcycle racer Scott Greenwood of Dunbarton, New Hampshire talks about racing, his eyes light up. He speaks excitedly, he relishes in the telling of every detail, and you can tell he has no shortage of enthusiasm and passion for what he does.

Engines, racing, and speed run in Greenwood’s family. He grew up in the Manchester area and began his riding career on dirtbikes. His brother Bill began road racing in 1989, and was the one responsible for getting Greenwood involved on the sport. In 1999, his oldest brother Dale also started road racing along with his nephew Marshall, and way back in the day, Greenwood’s father was actually a NH State Go Kart Champion and did a bit of regional and national kart racing in the 1960’s.

From L to R: Daughter Kelsie, Scott, wife Heidi, and son Samuel.

Greenwood’s first motorcycle was a 1987 Honda Hurricane CBR600. “My brother bought it as a parts bike; it had been in a street bike crash and the front end was bent so bad the front wheel hit and broke the motor.” With help,Greenwood got the bike back into riding condition and rode it from his home in Manchester to Freedom Cycle in Concord where he was working at the time. When the weekends rolled around, off came the motorcycle’s lights, and it was turned into a weekend race bike.

Having a supportive family is an important element when pursuing a passion full bore, and Greenwood is fortunate to have just that. His wife Heidi, fifteen-year-old daughter Kelsie, and his thirteen-year-old son Samuel travel to Scott’s races as often as possible, and Samuel is actually turning into a promising rider himself. It’s easy to see that motorcycles and racing are a part of the Greenwood family, just like they were when Scott was growing up, and the whole family are all engaged and involved in helping this dream grow and be successful.

Greenwood’s home track is the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH. (A little fun fact, Greenwood is second on the all-time list of most championships won in the track’s history with 38.) NHMS is also home to the Penguin Racing School where Greenwood has been an instructor since 2010. He brings his substantial racing knowledge to the Track Experience program offered by the Penguin school and he helps riders of all levels get their first taste of track riding.

“It has been very rewarding, and it’s refreshed my attitude about racing. Seeing a new guy start out and get hooked is exciting. People who take the school are always smiling when they leave.” Riders of all levels learn body position, what their motorcycle is capable of, fundamentals in a classroom setting, how to read the different flags and corner worker signals, etc. Be sure to check out the Penguin school’s websiteand learn about all their classes, track days, and other events.

How would you describe what’s it like racing a motorcycle?

“Adrenaline! It’s more mental than physical, it’s very much a mental sport… It takes a lot of mental strength and bravery. In order to get better, you have to scare yourself and make that your new comfort level.”

What do you like best about what you do?

“It’s always a challenge. The challenge of winning the race, the challenge of beating your best lap time.”

What makes racing in NH different than racing in other states/tracks? Is there anything that makes NH riders different?

“The [Loudon Road Race Series] is similar to other clubs across the country. There is a good sense of community and sportsmanship, lots of willing people to help out another rider in need. There are many stories of guys getting hurt and neighbors and friends from the pits helping out to pack up that riders stuff or help repair a motorcycle so they can continue racing or loan parts, etc. Also, whenever we have had fundraisers for seriously injured riders… the LRRS racers have always stepped up to the plate. From having auctions to raise money for guys or their families – buying the stuff or donating items.”

Definitely one of the most unique experiences of Greenwood’s career is when he had the opportunity to participate in a race in Uruguay in December of 2010. The following quote was taken from an Argo Cycles press release before Greenwood headed down to the race. The press release can be found on RoadRacingWorld.com. While you’re there, be sure to check out the other articles on Greenwood’s victorious racing exploits.

“This was a very rare opportunity that I could not resist. Back in October, the owner of Argo Cycles asked if I would be interested in racing this event in his home country of Uruguay. We put together a shipment of parts to use…Miguel Orpi, a long-time customer and friend of Argo’s has assembled a nice racebike for me to use… National Championship rider[s] from Argentina, Brazil and also racers from Uruguay will be in attendance. It looks to be an exciting event for the fans of Superbike Racing in Uruguay. It was an epic event and Greenwood ended up taking first place in the Superbike Elite class, and placing second overall.

Greenwood (center) celebrating victory in Uruguay. Photo credit: Mike Buira

In an email response, Greenwood talked about the reaction of the crowd to his victory. “The guy that loaned his street bike to the effort jumped the fence and met me on the back straight-away. I stopped next to him and did a big burnout to celebrate, and he was bawling! Tears squirting out of his eyes type of crying… The whole crew… met me on pit lane and surrounded me and were hugging me and crying. It was very exciting for them to be involved and to win was unbelievable for them. Just a year before they watched the race from the fence as a spectator and now they were not only involved, but were a big part of the show.”

Greenwood (center) and crew. Photo credit: Luis Benzo Mintegui

Greenwood was something of a celebrity when he was down there. His name appeared on posters, he was asked to do a radio and a TV interview for media from Uraguay and neighboring Argentina, and the South American President of the FIM (a world level sanctioning body for racing) commented on the significance and importance of his involvement in the race.

What was your most memorable race?

“Daytona Formula USA National Series Race [in the Pro 600 Sportbike class.] I qualified on the front row, and got the holeshot and lead from start to finish. The pack of riders behind me started battling from the first lap and with all the passing and re-passing they were
slowing each other down and my quick start allowed me to break away from the pack and check out on them. I won by a couple of seconds and we were all on the similar 2003 Yamaha R6 motorcycles. I was 1 or 2 points behind in the Championship (I was in 3rd) going into the final round… the top 3 [were] separated by 3 points. It was truly a winner take all.”

Greenwood doesn’t actually do a lot of street riding. There are hazards that even racetracks don’t have: Old ladies turning into the street without looking, people not paying attention when switching lanes, among others. For him, racing is the ultimate motorcycle experience. And, even after all these years, he’s still hooked on the sport. “[Racing] draws people in for long periods of time. It makes them lifers. They fall in love with the sport and race for a long time.”

Photo credit: Cristian Indart

Welcome, Scott Greenwood, to The Torque Tube.

What does a race motorcycle look like? Greenwood’s current machine, a 2008 Yamaha YZF-R6, is built to Supersport specifications. Here is the list of the modifications done to the bike:

– OEM bodywork has been removed, racing bodywork installed

– Billet aluminum engine cover with removable sliders (The aluminum cover prevents oil from spilling out after a slide.)

– Frame sliders

– OEM exhaust removed and racing one installed (the one on Greenwood’s bike was actually built by the Yamaha factory team)

– Racing handlebars

– Racing rear sets

– Racing ECU

– Ohlins rear shock

– Ohlins internals in the OEM front fork

– Quick shifter

– Engine: Head has been milled, valve job, cam timing adjusted

– Front and rear sprocket

– Lightweight chain

– Steel braided front brake lines

– Racing brake pads

Cars (or motorcycles) in the Wild

At TDC, we’re not into discrimination. When it comes to transportation and engines, if it makes a good noise, is built with passion and goes like stink, we follow what our boy Ice Cube says: We’re down for whateva. Also big fans of summer, and this photo is one of the reasons why. This pile of motorcycles was spotted parked out front of Gold’s Gym in Manch-ganistan. Pin the throttle!

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