Sunday, February 18, 2007

Some Words From CJ...

Kevin Schwantz hasn't raced GPs in years, but he's still one of the most popular racers around, which is clear from one look at any of his autograph lines. Schwantz helps Suzuki out with various projects, including coaching reigning AMA Superbike champ and fellow Texas Ben Spies and attending official press launches, like the one Suzuki recently held for the GSX-R1000 in Phillip Island a couple weeks ago. With assistance from the lovely Marnie Lincoln (pictured here), he also continues to put on his Kevin Schwantz Suzuki Schools. Spies is here as well, but he's so fast we didn't get a photo of him.

One of the coolest things at yesterday's show wasn't actually at the show--it was next door at the Westin hotel, and it was based around racing legend, movie star, and all-around great guy Malcolm Smith. Smith is featured in the newest addition to Dunlop's incredibly cool "Legends" advertising campaign, which uses photos of old-school heroes to raises money for the Clayton Memorial Foundation (over $44,000 in the past two years). The poster features a shot of Malcolm at warp speed in the '71 Baja 1000, and it's a guaranteed instant classic. Smith showed up on crutches, having broken his hip last weekend in a dirt bike crash, but that didn't stop him from grabbing the mic and regaling those present with some bench-racing tales. Ken Vreeke put it best in his speech: "As Bruce Brown himself might have said, 'Typical Malcolm.'" Vreeke quipped.

No matter how cool your boss is, it's extremely unlikely that he doesn't top that of road racer Aaron Yates. The Georgian rides for Jordan Suzuki, and yes, that Jordan comes from the surname of His Royal Airness. After many years in the shadow of Mat Mladin at Yoshimura Suzuki, Yates is happy to be the focus of this strong satellite team. He was in the Teknic booth yesterday trying on some new gloves from his apparel sponsor, and he took time to pose with a set of his leathers from last year.

Most people associate AGV helmets with Valentino Rossi, but the Italian company has been around for a long time, and has also been associated with legends like Kenny Roberts, Barry Sheene, and Randy Mamola, as they reminded customers with this mini museum in their booth. The display also featured AGV's original lid (the one on the bottom) shelf, proving that they go back to well before The Doctor.

Indy is the biggest motorcycle show in the U.S., but it's not the biggest one in the world. That honor goes to the annual Milan show, and the Italians are on hand here, including EICMA General Manager Constantino Ruggiero, shown here making a speech during a dinner last night at St. Elmo's. In typical Italian fashion, the dinner was incredibly good and incredibly long, and Ruggiero took the opportunity to give the lowdown on next year's show, which will take place in November. Last year's show was a huge success despite having to compete with a big show in Germany, and since that show is taking a year off in '07, Milan promises to be the biggest motorcycle show ever. Mark your calendars, and if you're an American company looking to reach an international market, this is the place to be an exhibitor.

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