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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Buckley’

New England Expert Josh Clarks Receives Support Ride from Warthog Racing

Josh Clark

Josh Clark is turning pro this weekend at Southwick. Paul Buckley Photo.

Up and coming New England expert Josh Clark, 17 of Franklin, Connecticut, has recently been given a two race support ride from Warthog Racing for the Southwick and Steel City Nationals. Josh is one of the most talented and hardest working riders in New England and is hot off a successful week at the Loretta Lynn's / Air Nautiques Amateur Motocross Championships and a dominant day at the Unadilla Amateur Summer Classic.

Josh is ready to move up to the next step in his motocross career and this support from Warthog Racing and Scott Kandel is just what Josh needs to make a successful transition from the amateur motocross ranks to the highly competitive national scene.

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James Stewart Revolutionized the Sport of Motocross

James Stewart - Photo by Steve Cox

James Stewart revolutionized motocross in ways he never imagined – Photo by Steve Cox

You may not have noticed it, but our sport is changing. In the past few years motocross has gone through incredibly significant changes. Yes, the four stroke has become the dominant motocross technology and yes Leatt Braces are now prevalent in almost any motocross event across the country. However, what I'm talking about it something different.

Ever since James Stewart turned pro, his riding style has pushed the limits of what is possible on a motocross bike. It was shocking watching him hit bigger jumps than anyone else (on a KX125, no less) and scrub speed on every double, triple and table top. James Stewart's riding style was truly evolutionary.

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Christopher Dodd and Joe Courtney Respond to Lead Based CPSC Act Against Youth Motocross

CPSC

If you are a regular visitor here, or an active member of any online motocross communities, you probably have read about the outcry over the latest CPSC act which essentially outlaws youth motocross across the country.

As part of my fight against this legislation, I sent email correspondence to Connecticut’s Senator Christopher J. Dodd and Representative Joe Courtney. A few weeks after my emails were sent, I was somewhat surprised to receive a response from both politicians. I know many of you are actively fighting this yourself, so I decided to share their responses with the motocross community.

Senator Christopher J. Dodd

Christopher Dodd Supports the Ban on youth Motocross. Photo by sskennel.

Photo by SSkennel.

Dear Mr. Martin:

 
Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 4040, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Reform Act. I appreciate hearing your views on this important issue.
 
The responsibilities of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission are some of the most critical to our nation. The CPSC is charged with protecting consumers from unreasonable risks of serious injury associated with faulty consumer products. Created by Congress in 1976, the CPSC is responsible for examining more than 15,000 types of goods, and has contributed to a 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the last 30 years. However, public alarm about a series of product recalls, particularly of toys and other products used by children has focused attention on major reforms to the CPSC.
 
As Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Children and Families, child safety issues are of the utmost importance to me. That is why I am proud to have supported the final passage of H.R. 4040. Signed into law on August 14, 2008, this critical overhaul of the CPSC contains key reforms that will help to protect American consumers.
 
This legislation requires that as of February 10, 2009, products intended for use by children may not be sold if they contain more than 600 parts per million (ppm) of lead, even if they were manufactured prior to that date. Other products may also not be sold after this date if they contain more than 0.1 percent of specific phthalates, which have been determined to cause reproductive development issues in children. You may be interested to know that on January 30, 2009, the CPSC voted to grant a one-year stay of testing and certification requirements for manufacturers and importers of regulated products intended for children under 12 years of age. This decision will provide CPSC staff time to finalize and clarify the four proposed rules relating to lead testing. The stay will remain in effect until February 10, 2010. For further information relating to the stay of testing, the proposed rules, exempt materials, or other issues relating to the administration of the Consumer Product Safety Commission Reform Act, please visit the Commission's website at http://www.cpsc.gov. Please be assured that I will continue to monitor the implementation of this law closely, and will continue to support efforts to protect the health and safety of all children.

Thank you again for contacting me. If you would like to stay in touch with me on this and other issues of importance, please visit my website at http://dodd.senate.gov and subscribe to receive my regular e-mail issue alerts. Please do not hesitate to contact me again if I can be of assistance you in any way.

 Sincerely,
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD
United States Senator

After reading Dodd’s response, I was slightly disappointed. It is obvious that Dodd openly supported the recent bill. On the other hand, I can see where his point of view is from. The CPSC covers many other types of consumer goods besides motocross bikes and they are responsible for protecting children from lead in mass produced products.

However, I was surprised to see that he did not address the fact that this legislation was much farther reaching than initially anticipated and prevents children from riding motorcycles which contain lead that is never in contact with the child.

Dodd almost failed to defend the outlaw of youth motocross and instead just listed his support of the bill in general. I totally agree that many products imported into our country contain dangerous levels of lead and should be outlawed. Motocross bikes, are not one of these products and Dodd’s failure to address this oversight strikes me as an admittance that the CPSC has gone one step to far with this legislation.

Representative Joe Courtney

Joe Courtney Does Not Supports the Ban on Youth Motocross Bikes

Dear Michael,
 
Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.  I appreciate your comments and having the benefit of your views.
 
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which is charged with regulating and enforcing consumer product safety standards, has proven ineffective in its duties. Our nation bore witness to these failings in recent years, with unprecedented numbers of unsafe consumer products being pulled from shelves in  Connecticut and across the nation. The passage of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA, P.L. 110-314), which was signed into law on August 14, 2008, delivered promise of much needed change to the CPSC and consumer protection standards.  Since passage of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, the CPSC has been responsible for implementing commonsense applications of the law. 
 
A major provision of the CPSIA established limits on lead content in children's products. Under current law, children's products cannot contain any component that exceeds a lead limit of 600 parts per million (ppm).  In response to these

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restrictions, many ATV manufactures have sent notifications to distributors regarding ATV parts that may exceed the allowable lead limit.  This in turn has impacted ATV businesses as well the availability of children's ATV for purchase. 
 
I understand concerns regarding the application of lead limits restrictions on parts that could, realistically, never cause lead exposure.  Under the CPSIA, the CPSC has the authority and responsibility to establish exclusions of materials or product parts from lead content limits if they will not result in absorption of lead into the body.  I would encourage the CPSC to closely examine ATV parts, including brake components, battery terminals, and other components that could be excluded from lead limits.  I would also encourage the CPSC to use the flexibility granted to them in this legislation to establish commonsense applications of the law and to improve information for those affected by the new requirements. 
 
As the CPSC moves forward with implementing provisions of this law, I will continue to monitor the balance of regulation for both practicality and the goal of consumer protection.  Should you have any additional comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me in the future.  For more information on my views on other issues or to see what I have been working on in Congress, please feel free to visit my official website at www.house.gov/courtney and sign up for my e-newsletter.
 

                                                                  Sincerely,
                                                                  
                                                                  JOSEPH COURTNEY
                                                                  Member of Congress

Joe Courtney’s response, on the other hand, was much more reassuring. He addresses the fact that the CPSC has to outlaw unsafe products, but does not fail to mention that motocross bikes and ATV’s are not unsafe and their lead would never realistically come into contact with their youth riders.

I was extremely pleased to read that Joe Courtney has the safety, yet also enjoyment of youths across the country in mind and that he totally understands the impact of this ban.

Joe Courtney's reviews almost exactly reflect mine on this issue: The CPSC must continue to ban unsafe products, but they crucially need to exclude motocross bikes and ATVs in order to preserve the sport we love and the economic ecosystem which is the motocross community.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that not all politicians think alike. Obviously, if they did our democratic system would just not work. As a result, the lead politicians of Connecticut, and undoubtedly other states across the nation have different views on this issue.

For me, Joe Courtney sympathizes with my views while Christopher Dodd apparently does not. Because of this, I will continue to support Joe Courtney in his political ventures. If certain politicians from your state are supporting the review and modification of this latest CPSC act, then you should return the favor and support them in return. This will ensure that they see results from their actions and continue supporting pro motocross legislation.

What Can You Do

Paul Buckley Photos

Photo by Paul Buckley

Even if your politicians agree that HR 4040 is incredibly far reaching and needs to be reviewed, then cannot accomplish the goal of fixing this act alone. They need your help! There are a number of things you can do to help this effort, check them out below!

  • Spread the Word: Do you have a podcast or blog? Are you active on social networks? Leverage this communities to your advantage. Spread the word of this atrociety and make sure that all of your friends are aware of the ban and are helping in the fight.
  • Submit a Letter: The following letter has been prepared by the MIC to be sent to the CPSC in support of the petition and ultimately in support of the removal of this ban. Download CPSC Letter here
  • Sign the Petition: visit http://www.tomself.com/, submit your info and sign the petition.
  • Write to your Congressmen and Senators: Let them know the far reaching affects of this law and the many benefits provided to families by the small powers ports industry.**Thanks to Commenter Joe Roth, I have been made aware of an automatic system to submit a letter to your congressmen and senators which has been set up by the AMA. Check out the AMA’s Rapid Response System right away.**
  • Watch and Spread the Video: Matt Wozney of MXPTV has produced an awesome video regarding the ban. Watch it, spread the link, and embed it on your site. The more people aware of this issue the better.

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Let the Kids Ride! New CPSC Act Essentially Outlaws Youth Motocross

The CPSC has effectively outlawed youth motocross

Effective February 10th, 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has effectively outlawed all power sports equipment for children under the age of 13. Connecticut residents will recall in years past where motocross racing was outlawed for children under the age of 13. This new act, however, is quite different. It outlaws the sale of both new units but also parts for late model vehicles due to their high lead content. From the article on Racer X:

We have already begun to experience the devastating consequences of this new legislation upon our sport, as OEMs have already pulled these machines from their showroom floors. Youth racing is the foundation of our sport. That is when most of you fell in love with motorcycles in the first place, only to grow up to bring your own kids back to the racetracks. Only now, they can't ride.

This recent act has all but shut down the entire small powersports industry in all of America. From racing to riding, children under the age of 13 are facing a future without motocross. This is, obviously, horrible for the entire industry and will affect bike sales throughout the lineup, not just for smaller models.

We All Know Lead is Bad

Lead is a toxic substance, but youth motocross should not be banned!

Photo by NIOSH on Flickr.

Let’s face it, lead is a dangerous substance. Everyone knows it. It has caused thousands of health issues throughout our country, and the changes we have made as a country in the past years are remarkable. There is no doubt that lead needs to be all but eliminated in our world.

On the contrary, this recent move by the CPSC is irrational to say the least. While I do believe that in the long term, lead should be eliminated the truth is that lead, along with many other toxic chemicals, it is, and has been for many years, in motocross bike parts. Has this ever caused health issues for the thousands of youths who enjoy motocross each year? Have you ever heard reports of children becoming sick due to use of their motorcycle? Absolutely not. The lead in motorcycles is not in a position to harm the children, and while I still believed it should be eliminated, it is not of direct harm to young motocross riders.

Slower Transition

So what would be the best way to go about removing lead form children’s (and adult’s) motocross bikes? A slow, gradual transition to lead free components. Rather then outlawing the current models in one broad swoop, the CPSC should have set a series of guidelines set to gradually eliminate lead in all motorcycles within the next 5 to 10 years. This could have included an act for motorcycle manufacturers to have the lead content down to 50% of what it is today by 2010, 25% by 2012, 12% by 2014 and totally eliminated by 2016. This method would have been both safe, economically feasible, and controlled. However, rather than do what is rational, the CPSC decided to essentially eliminate nearly half of the motorcycle/motocross industries market in one act.

Economic Impact of the Ban

There is no doubt that our world, country, and industry are in tough economic times. While the motocross industry may not be a huge economic boom to the small towns visited by motocross races throughout the summer months, it does provide a small economic boost to the small mom and pop stores surrounding the tracks we love. In addition, motocross is an economic dependency for track and shop owners alike.

This recent ban which eliminates the market for children’s motocross will have short and long term effects on the motocross economy. In the short term, track and shop owners profits will be cut nearly in half. With almost half of their demographic eliminated, they will quickly fall into economic turmoil. Motorcycle shops and track are already in a tough situation economically, but without little Johnny running around the shop begging Dad for the latest gear, they will be hit even harder. We all know that small children are a huge market, and this recent ban eliminates that market, and with it, almost instantly limits the potential profits of many motorcycle based businesses.

The long term effects, however, are even more frightening. Without a strong youth rider base, the entire motocross industry will quickly decline. The youth are the heart, the soul, and the backbone of the motocross industry. Who begs their parents to take them to the track every weekend? Who convinces their dad to hop back on a bike after 20 years of not riding? Who stays up late on Saturday nights to watch the live broadcast of Anaheim 1? Under 13 year old motocross fanatics, thats who.

Without this entire group ever being exposed to motocross, amateur races will be in desperate need for riders, and the entire skill level of the sport will drop significantly. For example, Ryan Villopoto went pro at age 16. If he had never raced a dirt bike before

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the age of 13, do you believe he would have been as good as he was at age 16? Absolutely not! Not only will it be harder to get gets interested in motocross at age 13, but it will take more time for their skills develop to the point that they can make a serious contribution to the sport on the pro level.

This ban immediately eliminates the youth motocross market, and leaves the sport in a situation where future talent will be hard to come by, and riders will no longer peak at the age of 16, but at a much later age, if at all.

Motocross is a Family Sport

Motocross is a Family Sport

Photo by Fazen on Flickr.

Anyone who rides, or has ever ridden a dirt bike has certainly noticed one thing, it brings families together. Motocross families are some of the tightest knit clans that I know. We spend every weekend traveling hours, setting up hundreds of pounds of equipment and racing in some of the gnarliest conditions known to man. Our grit and determination helps families to relate to each other and ultimately results in more dynamic family values and relationships.

By this same virtue, motocross racers are some of the best kids I know. Determined, focused, and hard working, motocross teaches kids a host of important life skills that would be impossible to learn anywhere else. Motocross helps keep kids off the streets, and ultimately starts them off the path to a better life. Motocross keeps kids out of trouble, which is extremely important in this current era when drugs, crimes and juvenile deliquesce runs rampant amongst most teens.

This ban by the CPSC, completely eliminates this strong central bonding experience which has helped to bring families together, and has shaped thousands of children’s lives. Ultimately this will result in less kids riding dirt bikes and more kids getting into drugs and crime. I know that motorcycling and thus motocross has a connotation as somewhat of a rebellious sport, but the truth is that it is good for children of all ages and teaches them crucial values. Without it, many kids will be lost in their lives, with nothing to strive and nothing to work for, and as a result will find other uses of their time. Uses that are both detrimental to themselves and their society.

Lets Work Together to Stop This Ban!

Kid on a dirt bike

Photo by Paul Buckley.

Don’t let the government and the CPSC step all over yours and your children’s rights to ride motocross. We need to work together in order to stop this ban and bring back children’s motocross. Here is a list of things you can do in order to help the situation.

  • Spread the Word: Do you have a podcast or blog? Are you active on social networks? Leverage this communities to your advantage. Spread the word of this atrociety and make sure that all of your friends are aware of the ban and are helping in the fight.
  • Submit a Letter: The following letter has been prepared by the MIC to be sent to the CPSC in support of the petition and ultimately in support of the removal of this ban. Download CPSC Letter Here
  • Sign the Petition: visit http://www.tomself.com/, submit your info and sign the petition.
  • Write to your Congressmen and Senators: Let them know the far reaching affects of this law and the many benefits provided to families by the small powers ports industry.

    **Thanks to Commenter Joe Roth, I have been made aware of an automatic system to submit a letter to your congressmen and senators which has been set up by the AMA. Check out the AMA's Rapid Response System right away.**

  • Watch and Spread the Video: Matt Wozney of MXPTV has produced an awesome video regarding the ban. Watch it, spread the link, and embed it on your site. The more people aware of this issue the better.

This ban is, and will continue to be incredible detrimental to our sport, our families and our industry. Hopefully we can work together to get this banned as I fully believe that it is 100% out of line, unconstitutional and will have incredible impact on thousands of young children in the years to come.

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Breaking Into the Mainstream {Part 3: Is Supercross the Right Move for the Sport?}

Note: Before reading this post, be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of the series.

Breaking Into the Mainstream {Part 3: Is Supercross the Right Move for the Sport?}

In the previous post in this series, I outlined the reasons why Supercross would allow our sport the growth it needs in order to go mainstream. In this post, I will talk about whether or not Supercross is right for our sport.

Supercross is the fancier, more dramatic, and “fluffier” version of Motocross. It wasn't invented until years after motocross, and the truth is that it has become more of a show in recent years. The format is better suited to television, and it makes the industry much more money than Motocross does.

Motocross is beloved by hard core fans. Paul Buckley Photo.
-Photo by Paul Buckley.

However, regardless of money, Motocross is the sport for the hard core fans. Professional Motocross events happen on the same tracks as amateur ones, and the events resemble the same one that hardcore fans participate in week in and week out. This allows amateur riders to personally connect with Motocross riders and events which is why Motocross races are a favorite among hard core fans of the sport.

Supercross Abandons the Fans

Outdoor Motocross draws large crowds of dedicated fans. Paul Buckley Photo.
-Photo by Paul Buckley.

Supercross abandons the fans. I'm sure some of you right now are wondering what I am talking about. I listed several reasons in Part 2 why Supercross was better for the fans. The difference, however, is that Supercross is not friendly for the hard core fans who actually ride motocross. Supercross is a great way to bring new fans to the sport, but Motocross keeps them interested in the long term.

What keeps fans interested in outdoor Motocross in the long term? As I previously mentioned, it is the connection with which the fans can make to their favorite pros which keeps them loving the outdoor Motocross Nationals. Just like any good piece of literature, Motocross fans can identify with the struggles, triumphs, tragedies and emotions felt by pros while riding on an outdoor motocross track. This deep personal connection leaves them craving more races and is what leads them to battle the elements year in and year out to watch outdoor Motocross races.

Supercross simply cannot match this connection to the fans. Sure, there are some local Supercross tracks, and amateur Arenacross events allow riders to ride almost the same tracks which are used in Supercross. But, the truth is that most riders will never ride a professional caliber Supercross track, and if they do, they will not be able to carry any type of speed and rhythm. By nature, fans simply cannot connect with Supercross as well as they do with Motocross.

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