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Archive for September, 2008

September 22, 2008

Blair Morgan Injured

Well it looks like I might be getting my first taste of the white stuff a little earlier than expected. Our whole crew is rendezvous.jpgpacking up and heading out to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler this weekend for the Yamaha Motor Canada, 35th Anniversary Dealer Conference. Randy Swenson (who just finished putting his sled away for the season) sent in this photo taken topside of Whistler just yesterday. I’m thinking my trusty Birkenstocks aren’t going to cut it.

Richard from the PassionYamaha Forums sent me an email reminder this morning about a very interesting event which will also take place this coming weekend. Gilles Gagne and his Attak team from Gagne Lessard are goigagne.jpgng to make their final assault on the world snowmobile land speed record. Gilles is pictured in this months Supertrax with his G Force Division twin turbo Yamaha Attak. The magic number is 200mph and if I know Gilles, he’ll most likely exceed it. His dream was to perform the run during the Bonneville Salt Flats speed week but the promoters of the event do not have a class for sleds and consequently required an additional 30,000 USD to establish one, ouch! The record attempt is now going to be for the Guiness book instead and will take place at the Val d’Or Airport on the 27th. Good luck guys.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if Yamaha snowmobiles recorded the world distance record (Bob ‘Hondo’ Davis) and the world land speed record both within the same year. Hmmmm I can see it now, the worlds most reliable and the worlds fastest…  the boys in Valcourt won’t be very happy when they hear about this! 🙂

I hate to end on a down note, but as you have likely heard, Blair Morgan was involved in a nasty crash at the Montreal Supercross this past weekend, sustaining a very serious back injury. There has been a black cloud hanging over our office all morning and we are all hoping to hear some good news from the surgeons and wishing Blair a complete recovery. He has been the defining icon of snowcross for over a decade and a fierce competitor in Canadian motocross. Get well Blair.

cr

UPDATE: I received the following information this morning and am passing along to all of you…

We have received this update from Blair Morgans wife, Terri letting us know what his condition is.  Please free to send this out to the media and they can post this on the industry websites as you feel.

Blair Morgan September 22, 2008

As most of you know Blair has suffered a substantial injury due to a crash while practicing for Montreal Supercross at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.

During Saturday afternoon practice in Montreal, Blair sustained substantial injuries to his middle back. A surgery was performed and went well, however it was soon discovered that as a result of the vertebrae separating from each other on impact, Blair’s spinal cord was severed, leaving him with paralysis from his middle back down. He was taken off the ventilator soon after surgery and has been progressing well since. This afternoon (September 22, 2008) he was moved out of ICU to the orthopaedic floor and arrangements are now being made for his transfer closer to home. He is resting now and he is focused on recovering and working closely with the physiotherapists. I know as most of you do as well, Blair is a fighter and this incidence will not keep him down for long.

Special thanks to everyone for their well wishes, just so you know there are so many people rooting for Blair and we really appreciate it so much.

Please feel free to e-mail your questions and well wishes to Blair at blairmorganrecovery@gmail.com

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Posted @ 1:47 pm in Competition and Racing,Yamaha People and Communication   

September 16, 2008

Snowmobiling defined

In the mid-west states, the official start of winter is Hay Days, well here in Ontario its the Go Snowmobiling Show. Kind of interesting to watch the buzz around the office as we start to prepare our media fleet, show units and demos for the upcohaydays-1.jpgming season. The metal crate remains are getting stacked by the back door awaiting the arrival of Sanford and Son and our storage shed is becoming swollen with new sleds in need of trail permits. Still haven’t spotted my new Apex GT buts that’s probably a good thing… which brings me to a small muse.

Snowmobiling differs from all the other products we sell in the way the hardware is viewed.hd2.jpg

Motorcyclists are very tuned to their bikes but in the end, its clearly the ride and image which create the emotional response. ATV’ers can be very aware of the machine and its features but end of the day, its the promise of exploring and related outdoor activities that become available given the access afforded by the bike. Outboards, well these are essentially appliances used to propel the main vessel and aquatic focus of the owner. That leaves snowmobiles.

No other product recieves so much critical attention relative to the design and performance. What I’m trying to say is many sled heads put the equipment ahead of the riding experience. It’s more important to achieve an extra hundred foot lead at the end of the lake than to be outside riding in the first place. Carrying an extra 5 mph throughout a long stretch of woop-de-dooed trail, takes precedent over cruising the same section and enjoying the view. If I had a nickel for every brand blind, POS diatribe issued by an impassioned rider in defense of their chosen sled, I’d be a rich man.

I try to imagine what it is like in this day and age for a newbie, who may be attracted by the notion of getting into the sno-mo game. More than likely the initial attraction is all about outdoors access , breaking away from TV induced ‘cabin fever’ and floating over endless miles of the white stuff in search of adventure. How long does it take for this person to get sucked in to the ‘mines bigger than yours’ mentallity? How quickly will they decide only one brand is worthy of ownership and all others should be critized and scoffed? You should have at least a 130hp horsepower with a foot and half of suspension to enjoy a groomed trail. And, oh yeah, if your sled is a bit heavier than your friends, you’re in big trouble. How many will get turned off by the sheer cost and competition of it all returning to the safe comfort of the living room and This Week In NASCAR?

If only we had as much energy devoted to promoting the enjoyment of being comfotably outside on a sparkling winter day with the whole world to explore. No strings, no pressure no equipment complex. Which brings me to the point.supertrax-mark-lester_sm.jpg

Mark Lester from Supertrax asked me earlier this week what I liked most about snowmobiling. Easy question… at first glance.

Give it some thought! I did.   😉   cr

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Posted @ 9:59 am in Opinions and Insights   

September 5, 2008

What Oil To Use

030.jpgYK reminds me of a promised article to discuss 4-stroke motor oil. First I must preempt my ramblings by stating, I am not a chemical or petroleum engineer. I did, however meet with a couple of them, pocket protectors and all, listened intently and read their ‘homework’ offerings. The more I dug, the more complicated and confusing the lessons became. I finally came to the conclusion that the whole ‘best oil’ thing is a leap of faith and for the most part we are at the mercy of the marketers and their ads. Case in point: How can an oil company claim to increase the manufacturers warranty if the engine suffers an oil related failure?? Easy… Prove it!

End of the day, Yamaha Motor Company recently embarked on a program to update and improve our genuine Yamalube offerings across all our product lines. We are in the final stages of completion, having developed new blends bottled in new packaging and available through your dealer. On the snowmobile side, the latest Yamalube to be created prior to this program was the semi-synthetic 0W-30 which comes in your new sled and which the vast majori040.jpgty of Yamaha 4-stroke owners are choosing for regular service. The big news, (and you heard it here first) is the soon to be introduced, all new premium grade Yamalube snowmobile , full synthetic with a 0W-40 rating, for those who are running in extreme conditions or are looking for that extra percentage of performance and protection. Note the attached images vary slightly between Canada and the USA, liters, quarts and the like. Also, just for the record, the W in multi-grade oils refers to winter (not weight) prefixed by the viscosity at a cold start.

The main point I learned and wish to emphasize here is actually quite simple. Oil blends have become very specialized and automotive oil differs significantly from the oil required by most other motorsports products. There are abundant claims on the performance achieved from various oils from both consumers and marketers alike. You have to do your own homework and make your own decision as to what you want to believe. Oil related failures will seldom happen in the first year(s) of service,  that’s given the fact that there is oil present at all…yeah, it happens! (but not to mention any names eh YK 😉 ).

 

 

The following article is a reprint of a paper I wrote for our accessories department to assist in educating our dealers with respect to the different standards and oil requirements leading up to our new Yamalube: just click ‘more’ if you wish to view it (more…)

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Posted @ 9:24 am in Tech Talk