• Peter Hickman Wins His Third Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix

    It’s a hat trick as Peter Hickman wins his third Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix. The British Superbikes and road racing star led an all-British podium finishing ahead of team-mate Michael Rutter and Martin Jessopp. The 2018 event was the 52nd time the event has been held, and followed wins for Hickman in 2015 and 2016.

    Peter Hickman Wins His Third Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix
    Peter Hickman Wins His Third Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, ahead of Michael Rutter and Martin Jessopp

    The race on the 6.120 street circuit finished on lap nine of 12 after the race was red-flagged due to a crash involving Phil Crowe and Ben Whylie. The early leader had been Honda-mounted Michael Rutter, before Hickman was able to move past on the Aspire-Ho by Bathams Racing BMW S 1000 RR.

    2018 Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix
    The 2018 Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix gets started

    Hickman was the pre-race favourite after claiming his first Macau pole start. And the Louth-based rider moved into the lead on lap 3. He began to pull away from Rutter and the chasing riders including Jessopp, Danny Webb and Gary Johnson until the race was brought to a premature end.

    Michael Rutter Leads The 2018 Macau GP From Eventual Winner Peter Hickman
    Michael Rutter Leads The 2018 Macau GP From Eventual Winner Peter Hickman

    A delighted Peter Hickman said: “Michael got a much better start than me which is usual as he is always good off the line. I was quite happy to just sit there and follow him to watch where he was strong and where he wasn’t. I could hear the Ducati behind me so realised Martin was fairly close so after the third lap I decided it was time to go and got my head down, passed Michael and began to pull a bit of a gap.

    After half distance he began to gain ground on me and was only 0.7s behind so thought I had better get my head down again and pull the gap back out again. I looked at the TV screen at Lisboa and saw that I had pulled away again but unfortunately the red flag came out. I really hope the boys involved are ok, which is the main thing to be honest. It is fantastic for myself, the Smiths Racing crew, (I had my usual team around me) and Aspire-Ho Bathams who are the sponsors for the team, to give them a win here is absolutely brilliant.”

    Peter Hickman on the Bathams BMW at the 2018 Macau GP
    Peter Hickman on the Bathams BMW at the 2018 Macau GP

    Hickman has achieved wins in every international race in 2018, along with qualifying for the British Superbike Showdown. That includes victory in the Superstock and Senior TT at the Isle of Man TT, along with the fastest lap record of 135.452mph. Plus victories at the North West 200 and the Ulster Grand Prix.

    Behind the podium finishers of Hickman, Rutter and Jessopp were Danny Webb (BMW) and Gary Johnson (Kawasaki). Horst Saiger took sixth ahead of Davo Johnson, Derek Sheils and Davey Todd. Completing the top ten was the returning John McGuinness.

    Davey Todd, Didier Grams and Michael Sweeney - 2018 Macau GP
    Davey Todd, Didier Grams and Michael Sweeney – 2018 Macau GP

    In total, 24 riders completed the race, with Craig Neve the final classified finisher. Only Davy Morgan and Didier Grams failed to finish, as the red flag meant Wylie and Crowe were included in the provisional results in 15th and 16th place. Fortunately the reports are that Wylie was taken to hospital with injuries understood to not be serious, and Crowe was pretty much unscathed. The crash occurred at Fisherman’s Bend as Wylie struck the barrier on his Bimota before Crowe collided with the fallen motorcycle.

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  • Get Trials Style With The New Watsonian International Sidecar

    We all know how popular adventure sport and off-road style motorcycles have become. But what if you want to take more passengers or luggage than a motorbike can manage? Whether it’s for a round-the-world expedition or picking up the weekly shop? Well, now you can go trials style, with the new Watsonian International Sidecar.

    The New Watsonian International Sidecar

    The prototype version pictured will be close to the final release. It’s shown fitted to the Royal Enfield Himalayan, and Watsonian have also been hard at work creating a universal fitting kit for their current sidecars for the Enfield.

    Although it’s got off-road trials style, the new Watsonian International sidecar has been created primarily to use on the roads. As a result, it’s got a glass fibre body to be durable and easy to maintain. But it does have aluminium panels to echo the style of the original International, which was around in the 1940s and 1950s. And there’s an aluminium mudguard holding the indicator and brake light.

    There’s the off-road bench seat, under which you get your spacious luggage locker. And the the black metal rim for passengers to grab to keep them stable. Underneath the new Watsonian International sidecar is the tubular steel platform chassis Watsonian have been using for a long time, with elded joints and epoxy power coating.

    To keep things comfortable there’s  hydraulic suspension with a rising rate spring. And the sidecar is mounted on a 16″ stainless spoked wheel with a black powder coated steel rim and a Bridgestone Trail Wing dual sport tyre.

    The new Watsonian International Sidecar will be available in Spring 2019 and will cost £3,995 including VAT. The Royal Enfield Himalayan Watsonian fitting kit costs £450.

    The Original Watsonian International Sidecar:

    Inspiration for the trials and off-road style of the new Watsonian International sidecar actually comes from the firm’s original creation launched in 1938.

    The first International featured a lightweight all-aluminium body. But production was interrupted due to the outbreak of the Second World War. So it didn’t actually become available to buy until 1950.

    The original 1950s Watsonian International Sidecar

    But when the original aluminium Watsonian International did reappear in 1950, it competed in the International Six Days Trail at Llandrindod Wells. And was regularly used by the company management team of Ron Watson and Cliff Bennett in a variety of trials events during the early 1950s.

    You can certainly see echoes of the original outfit in the new Watsonian International sidecar. And while it might not be suitable for off-road competition, it should be rugged enough to cope with whatever adventure you might fancy on the roads.

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  • Casey Stoner And Ducati Part Ways After 3 Years

    After three years, Casey Stoner and Ducati part ways. The Australian two-time MotoGP champion has been a test rider for the Italian firm since 2016, including developing the Desmosedici GP bike, and the Panigale V4.

    Stoner has also appeared at various events as a Ducati brand ambassador, including World Ducati Week and other events. He originally rode for the team in 2007, taking the MotoGP title in his first year. And stayed with them until the end of 2010. After retiring from racing in 2012, he tested for other manufacturers and made a one-off appearance in the 2015 Suzuka 8 Hours before signing a deal with Ducati.

    Casey Stoner And Ducati Part Ways - Pictured in 2017 with Andrea Dovizioso

    “Casey is and will always remain in the hearts of Ducatisti and it is also on their behalf that we wish to thank him for the important collaboration he has offered us over the last three years,” commented Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati Motor Holding S.p.A. “His technical indications and suggestions, together with the work and the feedback of the factory riders and Michele Pirro, have helped to make the Desmosedici GP one of the most competitive bikes on the grid, and his advice for the development of our production bikes has been just as precious and useful. Ducati and its many fans wish to offer their sincere thanks and their best wishes to Casey and his family for a serene and happy future.”

    Casey Stoner And Ducati Part Ways - Testing in 2017

    “I want to thank Ducati for the great memories and especially the support and enthusiasm of the Ducati fans for our shared passion for racing and motorcycling, I’ll always remember this,“ added Casey Stoner. “Over the past three years I have really enjoyed doing my job with the test team, the engineers and technicians, as we worked towards improving the Desmosedici GP package and I sincerely want to wish the team all the very best for their future endeavours.”

    Casey Stoner And Ducati Part Ways - Testing in 2017

    After retiring at just 27 years of age, there has been constant speculation about whether Stoner might return to racing competitively. Or where he might contribute in 2019. There have been rumours that Alberto Puig has been keen for the Australian to test again with Honda, alongside Stefan Bradl. Stoner won his second world title for the Japanese factory and tested with them before his Ducati deal.

    Meanwhile Ducati will get ready for 2019 with Andrea Dovizioso, new team-mate Danilo Petrucci and continuing test rider and occasional MotoGP wildcard Michele Pirro.

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  • SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!

    SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!

    Recommended reading from Keith Cornett, CorvetteBlogger and founder of VetteFinders. Not only a ‘pretty face’, CORVETTE SPECIAL EDITIONS is an invaluable resource for information about iconic and collectible performance models.

    SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!At first glance, Keith Cornett’s new book is a little misleading. The title does not reveal the wealth of photography and information that goes well beyond Special Editions. To many, Special Editions often refers to Indy Pace Car replicas, commemorative models celebrating racing victories, anniversaries, performance achievements, regional editions, or a particular individual who has devoted a great deal of his life to elevating the status of the Corvette. It is all that, but so much more.

    CORVETTE SPECIAL EDITIONS is way beyond the 43 official Chevrolet limited production, special edition Corvettes starting with the 1978 Silver Anniversary and Indy 500 Pace Car replica and ending with the 2018 Carbon 65 I found the most interesting sections of this book are devoted to the history of the Corvette and iconic road and track performance models that are coveted by serious collectors.

    SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!Even the first Corvette in 1953 must be considered a “special edition” since only 300 were built! Coverage of low-volume, track-oriented Corvettes started when Zora Arkus-Duntov convinced the powers at Chevrolet of the value of being involved in sports car racing. Nothing showcases Duntov’s position more than the first fuel-injected, four-speed, 283/283 ’57 Corvette with RPO 579D “Airbox” option. Just 43 were built and they led the charge to the Corvette earning America’s Sports Car cred! Great coverage on a black Airbox car, above, with coke-bottle hubcaps tells the unique option’s story.

    SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!After Keith runs out of actual factory production Special Editions, like the Grand Sport, Z06 Sting Ray, 1967-1969 aluminum-head big-block L88s, above, the yellow all-aluminum big-block ZL1, above, and Zora’s hardcore ZR1small-block and ZR2 big-block Stingrays, he focuses on low-volume, very-special-edition “tuner” Corvettes that go one step beyond what the factory could do. Corvette-based, tuner cars and their builders make up one of the most interesting chapters, Chapter 6, DEALERS, TUNERS, AND THIRD-PARTY SPECIAL EDITIONS.

    SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!Many, like the Baldwin-Motion Phase III, Maco Shark, Manta Ray, Can-Am Spyder and the ultimate Phase III GT Corvette, above & right, were created by Joel Rosen between 1968 and 1974, were built to order. Horsepower started around 500 and, like Alice’s Restaurant, “you could get anything you want!”

    In addition to Joel Rosen’s Baldwin-Motion, there’s coverage on John and Burt Greenwood’s extensive lineup, Reeves Callaway who is still producing tuner Corvettes, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, American Custom Industries’ Duntov Turbo, Dick Guldstrand GS80/GS90, Avelate Corvette, Larry Shinoda/Rick Mears Special Edition, Pratt & Miller C6RS and others. This chapter is a treasure trove of seriously high-performance, some over-the-top, fantasy rides.

    SPECIAL EDITIONS: CORVETTES THAT MATTER!2018 Carbon 65

    Well-written and beautifully illustrated, CORVETTE SPECIAL EDITIONS presents the cars as a group instead of chronologically. It’s organized into six categories: Anniversary Editions, Indy 500 Pace Cars, Commemoratives and Tributes, Special Editions, Historic Corvettes, and Third-Party Special Editions. This 192-page coffee table book is available at https://www.amazon.com/Corvette-Special-Editions-Pace-Callaways/dp/1613253931/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&qid=1537450923&sr=8-1&keywords=Corvette+special+editions&linkCode=sl1&tag=corvettespeci-20&linkId=a53cda67c42cfbbc1a9c4e2349fde608

    If you are interested in a signed copy, please visit https://www.corvettespecialeditions.com/

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  • ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!

    Chevrolet celebrates the golden anniversary – 50 years strong – of the legendary COPO Camaro at the SEMA Show.

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!An anniversary-themed ‘19 COPO Camaro racecar introduced today at the SEMA Show celebrates the 50-year milestone of the special order, ultimate performance models and launches the 2019 COPO Camaro program.

    “Chevrolet is proud to celebrate 50 years of the COPO Camaro legacy,” said Jim Campbell, GM U.S. vice president of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “It’s one of the most enduring legacies in drag racing, with a powerful past and fast future.”

    Featuring a special Anniversary Blue Metallic exterior color that pays homage to the original Laguna Blue offered in 1969, the SEMA show car previews the special color and graphics of the COPO Camaro 50th Anniversary Special Edition package offered for 2019. A 50th Anniversary Engine Appearance Package that emulates the look of vintage Chevy performance engines, with an orange engine block, chrome valve covers and a black high-rise intake manifold, is also available for the naturally aspirated LSX-based 427 racing engine.

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!The ‘19 COPO Camaro’s available engine lineup includes a revised version of the supercharged, LSX-based 350 engine, now featuring a 2.65L Magnuson supercharger as well as a 302-cubic-inch engine. The COPO Camaro also features a distinctive and exclusive front-end design not shared with other production Camaro models. Only 69 ‘19 COPO Camaro racecars will be built — the same number of ‘69 COPO Camaro models that were built with the all-aluminum 427 ZL1 engine.

     COPO CAMARO HISTORY

    The COPO Camaro program got its start in 1969 and was inspired by Illinois-based Chevrolet dealer Fred Gibb, who used the company’s special order system to build what wasn’t already offered in the Camaro. The goal was to make the car more competitive in Stock Eliminator drag racing, which was rooted in production-based vehicles.

    Racers scraped for every extra horsepower the factory could give them, and it occurred to Gibb that Chevrolet’s in-house special order system, known as Central Office Production Order (COPO), could provide an advantage. Typically, the COPO system was used for fleet vehicle services such as special paint or truck equipment, but Gibb used it to equip the Camaro with the all-aluminum ZL1 427 racing engine, below. With its lightweight block and heads, the ZL1 427 engine weighed about 100 pounds less than the iron-based 396 big- block engine offered in the Camaro and produced more power. It was the perfect solution for the drag strip.

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!Chevrolet didn’t simply rubber-stamp Gibb’s request. It took plenty of convincing and some cajoling from Vince Piggins, who was responsible for the Camaro Z28 at the time, to get the project approved. There was also another catch: To make the engine eligible for NHRA competition, at least 50 examples of the car had to be offered for sale to the public.

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!Gibb ordered them, but knew he’d have a hard time selling the pricey muscle cars, which were essentially twice the cost of a standard Camaro. He sold 13 and the remaining 37 were redistributed to other dealers. In the meantime, more dealers found out about the ultimate performance COPO Camaro models and ordered their own. A total of 69 COPO Camaro models with the ZL1 engine were built.

    The 1969 COPO Camaro program included a number of models equipped with an iron-block version of the 427 engine. In the years after, drag strip success evolved into collector car distinction, with the comparative handful of ZL1-engined models among the most coveted muscle cars with collectors today.

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!Chevrolet opened the next chapter in the COPO Camaro anthology in 2011 with the introduction of a COPO Camaro racecar concept at the SEMA Show. The overwhelming response helped Chevrolet make the decision to build the new COPO Camaro racecars in 2012. The contemporary COPO cars quickly picked up what their predecessors laid down on the drag strip half a century earlier, setting national records with eight-second ets.

    ’19 COPO CAMARO: SPECIAL EDITION GOLD!The ‘19 COPO Camaro joins the eCOPO Camaro Concept — an electrified racecar based on the ‘19 COPO Camaro — and approximately two dozen additional Chevrolet concepts and show vehicles at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas through November 2nd.

    Customers can register for a chance to purchase a ‘19 COPO Camaro at https://www.chevrolet.com/performance/copo-camaro

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