• 2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy Heads to Mongolia

    The 2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy will take place in Mongolia in a little over two years time. But the regional qualifies are open this year for men and women to compete to represent their country.

    The GS Trophy is open to any non-professional BMW rider. Teams of three compete, judged on their riding, adventure and teamwork skills. And even if you don’t win the overall trophy, you’ll get to spend time riding in Mongolia with bikes and equipment provided. To be in with a chance, you’ll need to try out in a regional qualifier, which generally replicates the main event over a couple of days.

    2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy
    The 2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy heads to Mongolia

    In addition to the top three overall riders from each country being selected, there’s also an International GS Trophy Female Team. The best two women from each regional event who haven’t made the top three anyway will be sent to an International GS Trophy Female Qualifier, with the top three from that going on to Mongolia.

    2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy Confirmed Teams:

    • Argentina
    • Australia
    • Brazil
    • Canada
    • China
    • France
    • Germany
    • Japan
    • Latin America
    • Mexico
    • Russia
    • Southeast Asia
    • South Africa
    • South Korea
    • UK
    • USA

    Want to give it a try and be in with a chance of competing in the 2018 BMW Motorrad International GS Trophy? You’ll need to head to the GS Trophy website for the entry details. Or check out our previous coverage of the BMW all-female team, and how BMW shipped 114 BMW R1200 GS bikes to Thailand for the 2016 event.

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  • The Mercedes‑AMG GT R

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    Once again, the skunkworks in Affalterbach has driven a new stake into the ground and set the new benchmark for racetrack-bred performance. Introducing the 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT R, the embodiment of all that is Mercedes-AMG: driving performance at its most passionate, pure and uncompromising.

    The Mercedes-AMG GT R is designed as a track car off the showroom floor, with sinister aesthetics and adrenaline-pumping performance dynamics to match. Its handcrafted AMG 4.0L V8 biturbo engine with “hot inside V” configuration grinds out 577 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque, and the all-new AMG TRACTION CONTROL with 9 input levels is literally at your fingertips in the center console.

    The motorsports technology goes beyond just the engine. Active rear-axle steering turns up to 1.5 degrees of toe angle for increased cornering response and high-speed stability. The light dual-mass flywheel is responsive and ready to handle rigorous torque spikes of transmission kickdowns on-track. Forged cylinder heads are durable and more resistant to heat. And a sophisticated engine management system adapts based on your driving style, reading your throttle inputs, g-force indicators and more.

    When it comes to styling, the purpose remains the same — extreme performance. Aggressive aerodynamics combine with an advanced cooling system to reduce drag and improve heat dissipation that comes with rigorous track use. And the wide track makes an audacious persona feel all the more visceral and real when you´re behind the wheel.

    The all-new 2018 Mercedes-AMG GT R begins its reign in summer 2018.

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    Key Highlights*

    *European specification; US figures may vary.

    • Handcrafted AMG 4.0L V8 biturbo with dry-sump lubrication
    • 577 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque
    • 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds; top speed of 198 mph
    • Active rear-axle steering
    • First-ever 9-mode AMG TRACTION CONTROL
    • Extensive use of carbon fiber in key areas to lower the center of gravity and add torsional rigidity
    • Aggressive active aerodynamics coupled with an advanced cooling system
    • Wider front and rear fenders by 46mm and 57mm, respectively
    • Exclusive new color:”AMG Green Hell Magno”
    • New face of AMG: the Panamericana Grille, inspired by the AMG GT3 racer
    • Prominent central exhaust outlet with standard AMG Performance Exhaust

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  • The Rescogs Guide to Winter Biking

    Riding a motorcycle in Winter happens for a variety of reasons. For some of us, the lack of a car or car license makes it a necessity. Scottie went through almost 20 years relying solely on two-wheeled transport, come rain, wind, sleet and snow. For others, it’s still worthwhile to avoid the endless traffic jams and the joys of public transport. But it isn’t all doom and gloom when the days get shorter, especially if you do it right.

    Good Reasons to Ride in Winter:

    • A dry, sunny Winter day is awesome. A dry, sunny Christmas day is even better, as most car drivers (And law enforcement operatives) seem to either be in front of the TV or in the pub. Which means empty roads away from town centres.
    • You’ll still be sharp come Spring, rather than spending the first couple of weeks getting used to being back on a bike.
    • You’ll also build up a good feeling of smug superiority over fair weather riders, and endless tales of Winter riding to bore them with when you speak to them.
    • Winter Hacks: A chance to pick up something different and cheap, and then abuse it.
    • Winter kit: It gets better, and cheaper every year.
    • You might have to be a bit more careful, but you’ll still get there faster without having to worry about traffic jams.

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  • INDYCAR: SO YOU WANT TO DRIVE THE INDY 500?

    We’ve suspected this for many years and now it’s official. The Indianapolis 500 is no longer a reasonable aspiration for most racing drivers, blogs Stephen Cox.

    Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) president Doug Boles was kind enough to talk with me briefly at the annual PRI trade show in Indy. I asked him what his plan was to increase the number of entries at the Indianapolis 500. His answer took me by surprise.

    “We grew up falling in love with the sport when you had that number of entries,” Boles said. “A lot of those entries were guys who sat around in December and said, ‘You know what? We’re going to build a car in our garage and we’re going to enter it at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500.’”

    “But first and foremost in my mind is just really safety. I don’t think it makes sense for us to get back to fifty or sixty cars just from a safety standpoint,” Boles continued. “I’d love to see fifty or sixty or seventy cars entering and guys just being able to decide that they have a driver who’s running at Putnamville and we’re going to give him a shot to run at the Speedway. I just don’t think it’s practical anymore.”

    Let that statement sink in. American short track drivers – who routinely filled the field until the 1980s – are now considered unsafe and incapable of running the Indy 500.

    Don’t ever go back to the speedway and expect to find the next A. J. Foyt or Parnelli Jones. There won’t be one. Nor will you ever see another Stan Fox or Rich Vogler claw their way up through the ranks and make it to Indy. For that matter, we’re also unlikely to ever see another Rick Mears or Robby Gordon. Those guys got to Indy through off-road desert racing, not Indycar’s current ladder system. They would likely be considered unsafe at the speedway today.

    Boles countered by saying, “We have the best on-track product that we’ve ever had in the history of the speedway with the last five years. The number of lead changes we have, the number of cars in the field that have a chance of winning it.”

    True, recent events have had a certain NASCAR-green-white-checkered-overtime excitement to them. However, this was not achieved by eliminating drivers of sprint cars, off-road trucks, midgets, late-models or amateur sports cars from the speedway. It was achieved – if indeed, this can be called an “achievement” at all – through regulation.

    More teams are in contention because everyone is forced to use the same spec car. The additional lead changes were artificially created through “push to pass” legislation and turbo boost mandates. Using this logic, even better races could be manufactured by enacting a rule disqualifying anyone who leads two consecutive laps, thus assuring 249 lead changes in every 500!

    The bottom line is this – SCCA drivers are welcome to compete at IMS in the Run Offs. SVRA drivers are welcome to Indy’s vintage event. Short track drivers are welcome to buy tickets and sit in Turn Three.

    But the speedway has no intention of enlarging the field past forty cars and creating space that could be filled by new drivers from other disciplines. That is bad news for thousands of very good racing drivers worldwide. And it is even worse news for the Indianapolis 500 itself, whose relevancy continues to fade.

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  • ‘17 FIAT 124 SPIDER: CLASSICAL GAS!

    It’s what happens when you take a Mazda Miata and add a little Italian brio, blogs Road Test Editor, Howard Walker.

    Ready for a little Italian conversation class? Start by repeating after me: Bella piccolo macchina. Now say it with feeling, and maybe with an Italian-style shrug of the shoulders and upturned palms. The literal translation is ‘beautiful little machine’. And it’s also exactly how you’d describe Fiat’s new magnifico 124 Spider two-seater. Bella indeed.

    You might have heard about this new 124. It was developed hand-in-hand with Mazda – yep, I scratched my head too when I first read that piece of news. Fiat borrowed the underbody structure of Mazda’s much-loved Miata MX-5 and wrapped it with its own bodyshell – every panel is unique to the 124 – and squeezed in its own piccolo engine. Just don’t call it a Fiata!

    Makes sense. These days, small, affordable, old-school sports cars – even with $25-grand starting stickers – sell about as well as electric typewriters and Filofax planners. So it was tough for Fiat to justify going it alone to build a new 124. Split the costs with Mazda, send the two cars down the same production line in Japan, and it becomes a lot more financially sound.

    As much as I love the little MX-5, I have more amore for this little Fiat. It has oodles of styling cues from Fiat’s classic 1970s 124 Spider – the twin power bulges on the hood, the distinctive front grille, rear fenders that look like Joan Collins’ shoulder-pads in Dynasty. It’s also around five inches longer than the Mazda, which somehow makes it feel less dainty, more substantial.

    And while it would have been so much easier for Fiat to stick with the MX-5’s trusty 2-0-liter SkyActive four-banger, full credit to them for wanting to use their own 1.4-liter Multiair turbo from the plucky Fiat 500 Abarth. Not that there’s much difference in power; 160-horsepower for the Fiat, 155 for the Mazda, though the 124 gets a 36 pound-foot hike in torque which kinda counters the Fiat’s extra 100 pounds in weight.

    Thankfully they stuck with the MX-5’s brilliant folding canvas top. To me, it’s still the benchmark for a manual roof. Flip a lever, flop the top back to stow on the rear deck, 10 seconds max. And you do it with one hand. While in the car.

    So what’s it like to drive? Bellissimo. The whole point of a two-seater like this is for it to be fun, and to put a big smile on your face. And the little Fiat delivers. The fizzy turbo engine provides a ton of thrust to get you off the line fast, to zip you past slower traffic, and to punch you out of a tight bend.

    Interestingly our tester came with a six-speed automatic rather than the knife-through-butter-precise six-speed stick. My initial reaction was ‘no way’. But for our arrow-straight, traffic-congested Florida roads, it makes perfect sense. The shifts are smooth, it’s eager to kickdown and there’s manual shifting if you feel the need.

    Fiat offers three 124 Spiders to choose from. The base Classica kicks off at $24,995. Then there’s the leather-trimmed Lusso I’ve been driving with the bigger 17-inch alloys and silver windshield surround. For performance fans, there’s the feistier 124 Abarth with tighter suspension that starts at $28,195.

    Why would anyone buy a 124 Spider? It’s a fun, affordable ‘toy’ that’s a blast to drive, especially top-down on a blue-sky Florida winter day. And if you remember with affection the old 124 Spider, this car will rekindle those nostalgic memories.

     

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