McGrath calls it quits
Jeremy McGrath, a rider who was instrumental in bringing the sport of supercross to the masses, has decided to retire from competition at age 31.
The seven-time American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Supercross champion and the winner of a record 72 main events rode in two races in Europe in December, but formally called it quits earlier this month.
He said past injuries were still bothersome and that he had lost “the passion.” McGrath, who had switched from Yamaha to KTM after the 2002 season, finished seventh in the Netherlands and sixth in Switzerland during the two most recent world supercross events.
McGrath, who began his racing career riding dirt bikes as a teenager, obtained his first 250cc Supercross Championship as a rookie in 1993.
Murray joins Global Motorsport Group
Maurice Murray, most recently vice president of sales and marketing at S&S Cycle, Viola, Wis., has been named vice president of marketing at Global Motorsport Group, Morgan Hill, Calif. In his new position, Murray will oversee the marketing function for all Global’s divisions, including the newly combined Custom Chrome & Chrome Specialties, Motorcycle Stuff, and Santee Industries. An avid motorcycle rider and enthusiast, Murray brings more than 20 years of powersports industry experience to the position. Murray will report to Global Motorsport president, Frank Esposito.
Murray, 39, previously led Bombardier Corp.’s watercraft and snowmobile racing divisions. He replaces Ed “Mr Lucky” Martin, who will continue to represent Global in the Japanese market. Murray is the latest in a series of senior executive additions to the company since CEO David Sadler took control last June. He will be based in Morgan Hill.
Ratzloff joins FTM
Jeff Ratzloff has been named general manger of FTM Enterprises Inc. and is scheduled to join the company in February 2003. He most recently served as director of purchasing for White Brothers.
At FTM, Ratzloff will be responsible for purchasing, new products and R&D, as well as oversee the company’s Race Sponsorship Program. Leslie Sowden, long time general manager, becomes director of sales and will focus her efforts on creating sales alliances and programs with FTM’s distribution partners in a new worldwide growth effort.
FTM is an international sales and marketing firm. It’s the North American sales agency for RK Chain, RK Chain & Sprocket Kits, Excel MX Rims and Wheelsets, and Excel’s New Harley Wheelsets.
Indian adds Sales exec
Indian Motorcycle Corporation (IMC), Gilroy, Calif., has appointed John Koehler to the position of vice president of sales. Fran O’Hagan, formerly in the position, was recently named senior vice president for sales, marketing and product management.
Koehler joins IMC after 15 years at Mercedes-Benz, where he was most recently regional operations manager for southern California. Prior to that he held several corporate and field positions with Mercedes, including national retail network manager, market manager and dealer development manager. An avid motorcyclist with an MBA from Pepperdine University, Koehler was a district sales manager for Audi before he joined Mercedes.
Merch to Realign Management team
Merch Performance, Inc., Calgary, Alberta, Canada, says its newly elected board of directors has approved a restructuring of the firm’s management team.
Gerald Merchant resigned as president and CEO of Merch during an October shareholder’s meeting, when he became a part of the firm’s board of directors along with Nace Panzica, Jim Sekora, Dan Fitzmaurice, Larry Strilchuk and Jim Wild.
Wild, president of Harley-Davidson of Southern Alberta, Inc., has been named interim president and CEO. Wild has more than 25 years of motorcycle industry experience in engineering and marketing.
With over 85% of its sales taking place in the U.S., Merch Performance is a rapidly growing manufacturer operating in the cruiser aftermarket. The firm produces a big bore V-twin Evolution-style engine.
Dan White Joins OMS
Dan White has joined OMS Sports, LLC, where he will be in charge of the sport marketing agency’s soon-to-be-launched southern California-based operations.
“Dan’s 35 years of motorcycle industry experience was paramount in our decision to hire him and will be a valuable asset in the opening of our new West Coast office,” said Cory Jonson, OMS Sports’ general manager. “With the rapid expansion, both geographically and client-wise that OMS is experiencing, we were in need of somebody to step in and perform immediately. And Dan White certainly fits that need.”
BMW Motorrad names president
Dr.-Ing. Herbert Diess has been named president of Germany-based BMW Motorrad. He replaces Marco Frhr. v. Maltzan, 47, who was named chairman of the board at BERU AG, Ludwigsburg, Germany. Diess, 44, served in various management roles at BMW before heading the company’s Oxford plant in 2000. He began his career with BMW in 1996, following a seven-year stint with Robert Bosch GmbH.
MIC Adds Fifteen
The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) recently added 15 new members and marked the third consecutive year during which membership — currently at 304 — has surpassed the 300 mark.
New voting members to the MIC are:
Architropolis Corp. — Design firm preparing to manufacture a line of bikes.
AlphaSports Motors — Motorcycle, scooter, and ATV importer and distributor.
Moto-Connection — Motorcycle parts and accessories distributor.
Norton America, LLC — Motorcycle manufacturer and distributor
Renthal America — Motorcycle parts and accessories manufacturer
SAFECO Corp. — Motorcycle property and casualty insurance provider
STR, Inc. Motorsports Division — Distributor of motorcycles, scooters and ATVs.
Vengeance Performance Products, Inc. — In the development phase of manufacturing on-highway motorcycles.
New non-voting members to the MIC include:
ACE USA — property and casualty insurance and financial services provider
American Wire Wheel — Manufacturer of motorcycle wire wheels.
Carswell Distributing Co. — Distributor of mini-bikes.
E.P.I. Racing, Inc. — Manufacturer of motorcycle bodywork and accessories.
Murray, Inc. — Distributor of ATVs, and developing scooters and accessories.
Sanford C. Bernstein, LLC — Investment research firm with motorcycle clients.
The Keyboard Corp. — Transportation and warehouse provider for motorcycle industry.
China exports decline
Although motorcycle exports to Vietnam dropped 91% during the first 10 months of 2002, the Customs General Administration of China says the country exported a total of 2.1 million motorcycles during the period, down 10.3% compared to the export of two-wheelers during the same time period in 2001. Value of the exports reached $452 million, and reflected a 20.4% drop over the prices obtained in 2001. Average unit price when compared year-to-year dropped from $263 to $221, down 15.9%.
Malaguti USA Expands
Enjoying sales of one of the powersports industry’s fastest growing segments, Miami-based Malaguti USA has packed up its scooters and moved its entire operation to a larger location.
Joel Martin, president of the firm which serves as an importer and distributor for Italy’s Malaguti SpA, says the new facility offers 13,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space and 2,500 sq. ft. for offices. Martin says Malaguti USA can be reached at 1740-42 NW 93rd Ave., Miami, Fla. 33172; 305/599-8993.
Kawasaki Earns Bragging Rights>
Kawasaki recently announced that the company’s 2003 STX-12F four-stroke watercraft has earned a three-star rating from the California Air Resources Board. The three-star rating signifies that the craft meets CARB’s 2008 emissions guidelines, the most stringent emissions regulations currently on the books. Currently no other four-stroke is designated higher than a two-star rating.
Performance Motorsports, Inc., a subsidiary of Dover Corporation (NYSE: DOV), has acquired Chambon S.A. of Saint Etienne, France, an engineering and manufacturing company producing crankshafts for OEM customers and for the European automotive race market.
Performance Motorsports is an international group made up of companies in the motorsport industry, including JE Pistons, Wiseco Piston and Carrillo Industries of the U.S.; Vertex Pistons of Italy; Perfect Bore Ltd. of the U.K.; and ProX Inter B.V., based in the Netherlands.
Dover Corp. says it seeks manufacturers of high value-added, engineered products when debating targets for acquisition. The focus, according to company literature, is on equipment and machinery sold to a broad customer base of industrial and/or commercial users. Dover Corp. prefers companies that are “niche-oriented market leaders with either a #1 or a strong #2 market position.” Also, candidates should have “strong national distribu-
tion (if not international, which
Honda to Expand Plant
Honda Power Equipment Mfg., Inc. (HPE) says it will invest about $30 million in its Swepsonville, N.C., factory, and says it plans to increase the output of lawnmower and multi-purpose power equipment engines by 50% in 2004.
HPE’s current 142,000 sq. ft. facility represents an existing
capital investment of $114 million, yet plans call for Honda to add 70,000 sq. ft. for a third production line. The new production line
will have die casting, machining and assembly operations, is expected to begin mass production in spring 2004, and is projected to reach full production by fall 2004. HPE currently employs approximately 370, but the expansion is expected to add about 200 new full-time employees in addition to seasonal workers.
A story in the Dec. 9, 2002, issue of Powersports Business magazine suggested Global American Motors, Corp., San Rafael, Calif., planned to build a Norton motorcycle powered by an engine with a three camshaft design.
While Global does have full ownership of what it has trademarked as a “TriCam” engine, a company spokesman said the firm has no plans to use the powerplant in a Norton motorcycle and has no affiliation with any company building a Norton.