Mar 29, 2009

All the News that Didn't Fit (April)

Poor Little Wannabe-Racer Rich Kid

Alan Wilzig is being picked on by the other folks in his neighborhood. Wilzig, heir to a banking fortune (Those fortunes still exist?), wants to build a “recreational sporting course” (for his 60-plus bike collection) called the Wilzig Racing Manor. It sort of irked the neighbors that Wilzig built the track before asking permission from the local zoning board.
“What really infuriated us is that the world is falling apart, psychologically, financially, every way possible, and this man is worried about his Ducatis and his racetrack,” said Ben Shecter, who lives in a restored barn and silo near Wilzig’s property. “It is such indulgence, these billionaires, these Madoffs of the world, build these walls where they are just totally immune to what’s going on.”

After 3 years, the battle for the Wilzig Racing Manor goes on. The Zoning Board of Appeals will hear Wilzig’s petition, again, in March. Most likely this battle for another version of the Hearst Castle will go on for a few more years.

Motorcycle Stimulus
Along with tax cuts, buying a new motorcycle will provide you with a tax break in 2009. "This inclusive and equitable solution will provide much-needed relief to riders, as well as to those who sell motorcycles," said AMA Vice President for Government Relations Ed Moreland. "When it appeared that motorcycles were going to be overlooked in this bill, the AMA and the Association's members, along with Harley-Davidson and others, took our case straight to Capitol Hill and persuaded lawmakers that this was the right decision."

2008 Motorcycle Sales Figures

While the major media is still calling the current economic disaster “a recession,” readers with a more seasoned sense of history suspect the world is in a depression that could be a long term affliction. The Motorcycle Industry Council reported motorcycle sales suffered an overall 7.2% decline in 2008, with off-road sales taking a huge 30% hit. Small bike and scooter sales were up, substantially, particularly in the first part of the year due to rising fuel costs. Scooter sales, alone, were up 41.5%, not counting small non-MIC member manufacturers like Kymco, Hyosung, and the many Chinese imports. Dual-sport sales were also up 22.8%, for the year. Big iron manufacturers, like Harley Davidson and Victory are hard-hit by the economy. Harley has announced the company will be eliminating 1,100 jobs over the next 2 years and Polaris will cut 460 jobs.

Fuel costs could be the economic driving factor for 2009. MIC President, Tim Buche, said, "We could find that many people who are getting into bikes just for the economics will discover the moto DNA within themselves and wind up becoming lifelong riders."

New California Motorcycle Air Standards
The AMA reports, “California bill proposes emissions testing for motorcycles. Recently, California State Senator Fran Pavley introduced legislation that would ‘amend Section 44011 of, and to add Section 44012.5 to, the Health and Safety Code, relating to air pollution.’” The legislation requires California motorcycle owners to get smog tests every two years for all 2000 or newer vehicles. Obviously, California EPA approved exhaust and fuel systems would be required to pass the smog tests.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A judge just took Wilzig to the woodshed.......