AMA-logo-230PICKERINGTON, Ohio — A “Fuel for Thought” lobbying day to educate federal lawmakers about the need for independent research into the possible harmful effects of E15 fuel on motorcycle engines is the focus of the American Motorcyclist Association’s “Freedom Friday” on April 19.

The AMA “Fuel for Thought” lobbying day will be held Wednesday, June 19, in Washington, D.C.

E15 is a gasoline formulation that contains up to 15 percent ethanol by volume, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t approved its use in motorcycles or all-terrain vehicles. The EPA has approved its use in 2001-and-new light-duty vehicles, which include cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles, however.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association announced today its AMA Motorcyclist of the Year: AMA member and president of KTM North America Jon-Erik Burleson. Awarded annually, the AMA Motorcyclist of the Year designation recognizes the person or persons who had the most profound impact within the motorcycling community in the previous 12 months.

“Jon-Erik’s innovation and leadership have positioned his company to take full advantage of what could only be described as a challenging environment in the motorcycle industry-an industry that is fighting back from its worst downturn in history,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “It is also important to recognize our honoree’s passion for, and commitment to, motorcycling. Jon-Erik exemplifies the motorcycle lifestyle. He was raised in a motorcycle racing family and has been around motorcycling his whole life.”

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) member Randy Odom of St. Louis will take his dual-sport passion to an entirely new level this summer. That’s because the 29-year-old Odom just got an unexpected bonus for riding in last year’s AMA KTM National Dual Sport Trail Riding Series: a 2012 KTM 350 EXC-F from 2011 series sponsor KTM North America.

The annual AMA drawing, conducted by independent auditing and accounting firm Plante & Moran of Columbus, Ohio, included participants in all of the AMA events on the national dual-sport calendar.

“Man, this is awesome,” said Odom, whose current bike is a 10-year old 125cc two-stroke. “My boss got me into dual sports, and I’ve been having the best time ever. Everybody on these rides is great. They’re friendly. They’re helpful. Everyone is a die-hard rider. The riding is super challenging, but without the full-on pressure of a flat-out race. It’s great. I can’t think of a better time on a motorcycle.”

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — Motorcyclists know that there are few things cooler than a sweet vintage ride — except for a sweet vintage ride that you pick up for a sweet deal. The hunt for those bargains brings enthusiasts back to the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) vintage swap meet in droves every summer during AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

The July 22-24 extravaganza is expected to be one of the biggest swap meets ever, as hundreds of vendors and thousands of buyers converge at the largest celebration of motorcycle heritage in the country.

“Covering nearly 20 acres of landscape around the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course complex, the swap meet is an impressive site to behold,” said AMA Director of Operations and Motorcycle Hall of Famer Jack Penton. “There are new-old-stock pistons, crank seals, fork boots, wheels, complete running bikes, not-so-complete and not-so-running bikes, shocks, fenders — the list goes on and on.

“This is the place to find that one elusive part you need to finish your prized project, or get started on your first one,” said Penton. “With 2011 shaping up to be one of the biggest swap meets in the history of AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, the opportunities for great deals and great finds will be considerable.”

Penton added that, as a premier attraction for many attendees at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, the AMA seeks to make enhancements every year.

“Last year, we introduced a number of improvements that helped the flow of traffic and better utilized the space for individual vendor displays,” Penton said. “We will continue to evolve those improvements for 2011 to ensure this the best vintage motorcycle swap meet in the country.”

Vendors can pre-register for AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days through Thursday, June 30, for the best available locations. (Vendors who miss the preregistration deadline can still purchase space at the event.) To register, call AMA Member Services at (800) AMA-JOIN (262-5646). For additional registration information, see AMAVintageMotorcycleDays.com.

Kawasaki will be honored as the 2011 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days Marque of the Year. There will be a number of Kawasaki-themed activities, from displays to demo rides to seminars to autograph signings. Attendees will also have an opportunity to win a new Kawasaki Z1000 and a classic Z1, given away in a single raffle that benefits the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

Held at the world-class Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days features vintage and post-vintage competition in motocross, trials, hare scrambles, roadracing and dirt track. In addition to the swap meet and demo rides of current production bikes, the event includes educational seminars, bike shows, motorcycling seminars, the new product Manufacturers’ Midway, and club corrals featuring marque and regional clubs.

Proceeds from AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days benefit the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, which is located on the campus of the AMA in Pickerington, Ohio. The mission of the Hall of Fame is to “celebrate, elucidate and preserve the rich tradition of motorcycling in America.” Its exhibits honor the distinguished men and women whose competitive spirit, passion, vision and entrepreneurship have played a vital role in shaping the sport, lifestyle and business of motorcycling. For more information, call (614) 856-2222, or visit the Hall of Fame’s website at MotorcycleMuseum.org.

Tickets to AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days can be purchased online at MidOhio.com. For more information about the event, visit AMAVintageMotorcycleDays.com.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona has reversed an unwritten policy and is now allowing street-legal motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) on certain roads, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

After being alerted by AMA member Keith Dishong that street-legal motorcycles were barred from three public access roads while trucks and other street-legal vehicles were allowed, AMA Western States Representative Nick Haris and Brian Hawthorne of the BlueRibbon Coalition contacted officials at the refuge, which is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Haris noted that the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge Comprehensive Conservation Plan allows street-legal vehicles to use three access roads, so there was no reason to bar street-legal motorcycles and ATVs from those routes.

After investigating, refuge officials agreed.

The officials announced on May 18 that street-legal motorcycles and ATVs are now allowed on three public access roads: the El Camino del Diablo, Christmas Pass and Charlie Bell roads, which are outside designated Wilderness areas. No other roads or trails in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge are open to motorized use.

“This action does not open the refuge to unrestricted off-road vehicle activity,” refuge officials said in a news release. “Only the three public access roads already open to 4×4 vehicles are open to street-legal motorcycles and ATVs. These vehicles must abide by the same rules and restrictions as all other vehicles that access the refuge.

“Furthermore, permits for accessing these roads are required,” the officials said. “To reduce impact of large caravans, an additional special use permit is required for a party size of five or more vehicles traveling together or traveling in smaller groups but part of a larger organized event. This applies to all vehicles, including motorcycles and ATVs.”

Street-legal motorcycles and ATVs must run a mast displaying an orange flag at least 8 feet above the ground.

As part of ongoing efforts to recover endangered Sonoran pronghorn, seasonal road closures are in effect at the refuge through July 15.

Haris praised the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for reversing its policy that barred street-legal motorcycles and ATVs, and urged all appreciative motorcyclists and ATV riders to send notes of thanks to: Manager Sid Slone, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge,1611 North Second Ave, Ajo, AZ 85321 or send an email to Sid_Sloane@fws.gov.

“Land managers at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge were responsive to our inquiries, and forthright in evaluating their existing policy banning street legal motorcycles and ATVs,” Haris said. “Motorcyclists everywhere can appreciate their efforts.”

The 1,000-square-mile Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge shares a 56-mile border with Sonora, Mexico. Almost all of the refuge is designated as Wilderness, which bars motorized recreation. The refuge features rugged mountain ranges, sand dunes and hardened lava flows.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) member Rod Overstreet of Campbellsville, Ky., received an unexpected reward for his participation in last year’s AMA KTM National Dual Sport Trail Riding Series: a 2010 KTM 530 EXC from series sponsor KTM North America. The annual drawing included participants in all of the AMA events on the national calendar.

“This dual-sport program that the AMA has is great,” Overstreet said. “Not only with this KTM giveaway, but also the turnout is unreal and the rides are exciting. It’s a whole lot of fun and probably the most grassroots form of off-road riding that we have going now.”

KTM North America Inc. President Jon-Erik Burleson said he’s pleased to see the 530 EXC go to a die-hard KTM rider, many of whom participate in the series.

“KTM is excited to continue the sponsorship of the AMA KTM National Dual Sport Trail Riding Series and is proud to give away a KTM 530 EXC to a true orange-bleeder,” Burleson said. “The orange-bleeders are KTM’s true customers, and the primary reason we are a proud sponsor of the series.”

Overstreet, a long-time off-road rider, says the people who ride and organize the individual events in the AMA KTM National Dual Sport Trail Riding Series are a big part of the series’ success.

“Looking at this year’s schedule, I was really glad to see the Renfro Valley [Ky.] event back this year,” Overstreet said. “As long as this series has guys like John Strange and Jesse Thomas down in Kentucky, Bill Kaeppner in Ohio — these guys are true enthusiasts — it will do well.

“These rides are the best bang for the buck going today,” he continued. “They really breathe fresh air into motorcycling. When the economy is down and the industry is hurting, you can go to an AMA KTM Dual Sport and see the enthusiasm of the riders, and you know the sport is alive and well. When I see that, I think that motorcycling in general owes a lot to [KTM Ride Manager and long-time dual-sport series proponent] Mark Hyde’s influence and KTM’s dedication to the EXC line.”

Events on the AMA KTM National Dual Sport Trail Riding Series calendar are one of the best programs in off-road riding. For a reasonable entry fee, participants can ride hundreds of miles of trail and backroads in some of the most breathtaking areas of the United States, all supplemented by the local knowledge of long-time clubs and riders. The series features weekend events, with one-day rides optional, that include riding on everything from gravel backroads to enduro-level singletrack that challenges riders of all skill levels.

Overstreet’s new 530 EXC is one of KTM’s competition-oriented dual-sport motorcycles. Sharing parts and design with the off-road and motocross competition models, the EXC line is engineered to withstand the rigors of the toughest off-road motorcycle competition in the world. However, the 530 EXC is also 50-state legal in the United States, making it one of the most versatile off-road bikes on any showroom floor. For more on KTM’s line of off-road, dual-sport and street motorcycles, see www.ktmusa.com.

The 2011 AMA KTM National Dual Sport Trail Riding Series, which will award another KTM dual-sport motorcycle to one lucky rider, kicks off on May 7-8 in Renfro Valley, Ky. There are events scheduled in Ohio, Missouri, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, Indiana, California, Virginia, New Jersey, Arizona and Texas. For the full schedule, see the Dirt Riding section of AmericanMotorcyclist.com.