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Shop Rag

November 2020
By David Sturgis
Posted: 2020-11-30T21:36:00Z

Greetings to all our members and guests,

BMWNEF’s Winter Rally, Executive, IT and Marketing committees have been busy these last few
months trying to get things organized for our 38th Annual Winter Rally. I am pleased to announce we have made arrangements with Camp Weed to hold “Florida’s Coolest Rally” at their venue. Mark it on your calendars, save it to your phones, have your wife remind you or whatever way is best so you remember. Our 38th Annual Winter Rally will be held on Friday January 22nd & Saturday January 23rd, 2021.

We encourage all members and guest to
CHECK OUR WEBSITE ( for current information. Member registration is now OPEN! Non-member registration will open soon. PLEASE DO NOT CALL Camp Weed. All lodging will be handled by BMWNEF and will be on our website. Lodging options will be available starting on Thursday evening, January 21st, and will be open to all members, non-members and guest on a first come first serve basis. Membership has its privileges, so secure your lodging accommodations now.

Some changes you will notice about our 2021 Winter Rally. First our venue has changed.
Second, the dates have been moved to the weekend after the MLK Jr. holiday. Third, there will be an option to purchase catered meals.YOU MUST PURCHASE YOUR MEALS IN ADVANCE DURING REGISTRATION! YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PURCHASE MEALS AT THE EVENT! We are still looking for volunteers so please go to the volunteer page after you register.

Mark your calendars for November 1st. We will be having our Members Meeting at the Fleet Reserve Association #91. Breakfast will be served starting at 8:30am and our meeting will begin at 9:00am. Come out and see the nominees for our 2021 Executive Committee officers. Get more information about upcoming events. Share all the wonderful things you got accomplished on your Honey-Do-List. All members, guest, and motorcycle enthusiasts are welcome to attend.

Nominees are:
President -James Allen
Vice President -Steve Wishard
Secretary -Vicki Decker
Treasurer -Myron Beachy
Elected Director -Pedro Afable
Elected Director -William Botkin

For those who did not attend T.W.O. Suches you missed a great time. It reminded me of a trip to Wet & Wild theme park. Flying down twisting and turning paths only to end up soaking wet at the bottom. Photos have been posted in our website’s photo album. Have photos? Share them! Great riding, when weather permitted, and wonderful camaraderie. Our Events Committee is working on other fun events and rides for the near future. Check our events page for details.

Christmas/Holiday Party -2021 EC Elections -December 5th -Camp Chowenwaw Park -These events are still on! More details will be coming later this month.

My time as your President is coming to a close and I have so many people to thank. I know if I list names, I would forget several. Let me first thank each and every member, non-member and guest who has ever volunteered or assisted in one of our events. You are our Club! You are the backbone that supports everything we do. I have to admit, when it comes to large events you do not shy away from taking responsibility or getting your hands dirty. I cannot thank you enough for all your effort and passion in making this one of the greatest motorcycle clubs around.

To all those who spend countless hours, days weeks toiling behind the scenes. Those members
who operate under the cover of darkness and cloaked in secrecy. You guessed it, our committee members. You ladies and gentleman rock! Without your support, guidance, ideas and suggestions we would not have accomplished as much as we did. We all know what a trying time this year has been. Who could have imagined the huge impact COVID would have on our lives? Our committee members were able to overcome many obstacles, entertain new approaches, work through the challenges and produce some awesome results.To each and every one of you, Deborah and I send our sincere gratitude and thanks.

Philip J. Mulé

BMWNEF TWO Wheels Only
by Bill Botkin

T'was a wet and stormy Thursday (9/24/2020) as BMWNEF members made their way to Two Wheels Only (TWO) Motorcycle Resort in Suches, Ga. My travelling companion, Jimmy Stockton, and I were comfortably enclosed in my truck, trailering our 2 motorcycles. Being the Club "Mule" has its’ benefits. The truck was packed with tents, food, adult beverages and cooking gear. It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta' do it!!

It started raining near Macon, from the remnants of Hurricane Laura as she tracked north. We arrived in Suches early in the afternoon, and began to set up the "kitchen" area.

Our cabins were to the right of the main lodge. The area had been marked off with "warning" tape. We all assumed, wrongly, that this was to keep others out, and limit how far we could take our vehicles into the camping area. More on this later.

The set up went smoothly with all hands pitching in. We were able to get all this accomplished in a slight drizzle. Per our announcements, the Thursday night meal was a carry-in affair. Jeanette Meeker made her wonderful spaghetti casserole, and Ruth Allen brought dessert.

Dining was done under two pop-up tents. As the evening progressed, the rain continued, then intensified. Around 2-3AM the rain really came! I felt fortunate to be in a cabin and felt bad for the tent campers. Friday morning EVERYTHING was wet.

In the morning, one of the pop-up tents had collapsed, and anything made of paper was soggy. There was mud, more mud, and even more mud. After tossing wet things away, and wiping the racoon footprints off the tables, we moved the kitchen tents about 20' out of the "Swamp". When we were resettled, Chef Jimmy made scrambled eggs and sausage for the crew.

Members went their merry ways, doing rides as the roads would allow. One of my personal favorites, Wolf Pen Gap Road, was tricky on the way out. I was headed to Waynesville to meet old neighbors. Turning on to Wolf Pen Gap Road, it became clear this would not be a speed run through the curves. The road was wet, and heavily littered with debris from the previous night's storm. When I returned, the roads had dried up, but were still littered with debris.

A Friday night tradition, well not really a tradition since we've only done it 3 years, but a fun thing anyway, is the Chili and campfire corn bread dinner for attendees. "Many hands lift a heavy load" as helpers joined in while Chef Jimmy and I made the chili. I had pre-mixed all the dry ingredients for the cornbread at home, so all that was needed was to add the liquid(s) and cook.

By the time dinner was ready, our headcount was about 20 members. A very good turnout considering the forecast. We had dinner, cleaned up, and finally were able to gather around a campfire courtesy of Phil Mule'. Somehow, he managed to find dry firewood.

Saturday dawned dry! Spirits were lifted as things began to dry out. A simple breakfast was prepared and members took off for their rides. WPG Rd was finally dry and clear of debris, and I was finally able to lay the GS over and enjoy the curves.

Members returned to TWO around 4-5PM. We made our way to the main lodge for the BMWNEFprovided evening meal. TWO has adjusted their service to conform to COVID requirements. We ordered inside and received our fare at the take-out window. Most enjoyed their meal on the patio or picnic table by the lodge.

After dinner we broke camp and loaded the truck for our Sunday drive home. All members made it home safely and dry!

About the Mud! The "Warning" tape was intended to keep ALL traffic, foot and vehicle traffic off of a freshly seeded area. Oops! We were informed of this Friday AM, after we had moved the kitchen out of the "swamp" we had created. We apologized profusely for our error.

We'll head to the North Georgia Mountains again next September. Look for an announcement.

Bill Botkin

2020 AFT Champions Crowned in Daytona Beach
by Steve Wishard


American Flat Track (AFT), the guardian of the Grand National Championship series established in 1954, is America’s original extreme sport. At its core, professional flat track racing is a hyper-competitive, adrenaline-fueled American motorcycle sport. Featuring custom-built and production-based motorcycles piloted by world-class athletes, top speeds of 140mph on the straights and 90mph in the corners are a common occurrence. Many past and current Motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) champions have come from the ranks of flat track racers.

Today’s series is comprised of three classes:
• AFT Super-Twins - consisting of twin-cylinder motorcycles (650 - 900cc), which contain the latest in motorsport technology.
• AFT Singles - consisting of production-based 450cc off-road machines specially prepared for flat track competition.
• AFT Produsction-Twin - (racing at 15 events this year), consisting of production-based, twincylinder street bike engines with displacements between 649 and 800cc. Race-only engines from machines such as the Harley-Davidson XR750, Honda RS750, and Indian Scout FTR750 are not eligible in AFT Production Twins.

Riders in today’s series have competed in 18 races across the country, featuring four distinct track formats:
• Mile Ovals
• Half-Mile Ovals
• Short Track Ovals
• TTs - which incorporate right-hand turns and a jump

Interest in American Flat Track racing has seen significant growth since 2017. Changes which simplified the class structure and television coverage on NBCSN are considered the primary drivers. In fact, this past weekend’s racing action will be re-broadcast, back-to-back, on October 31st at 11pm EST.

This weekend’s racing action also included a BUILD TRAIN RACE event. BUILD TRAIN RACE is a program, launched in late 2019, sponsored by Royal Enfield North America, which creates opportunities for women to enter competitive flat track racing. The program tasked four women with modifying Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 Twin motorcycles for flat track competition, then training with Moto Anatomy X Royal Enfield AFT racer Johnny Lewis in the lead-up to competition. Originally, the women were set to race in several events this year, but due to COVID-19 many of the events were either rescheduled or canceled.

This weekend’s BTR races saw Melissa Paris (#13) & Jillian Deschenes (#31) finishing 1 & 2, however, splitting victories. Friday evening Paris took the top podium spot which was then occupied by Deschenes at the conclusion of Saturday’s event. Melissa Paris, also an accomplished road racer, will play a key role in Royal Enfield’s plans to expand the BTR program in 2021.

In mid-October, Royal Enfield North America announced its plans to expand the BTR program, to include AMA Road Racing, during the 2021 season. As in AMA Flat Track, women will be chosen to participate in a program to modify Royal Enfield Continental GT 650 Twins for road racing, train in preparation for competition with current top competitors (Paris being one), and then race in several events within the AMA Road Racing Series. We will be following both BTR series, Flat Track and Road Racing, in 2021 in both Shop Rag and the BMWNEF Podcast. Stay tuned… Paris #13 & Deschenes #31 During AFT Qualifying in Daytona Beach

AFT Super-Twins
The 15 round AFT Super-Twins Championship battle, between Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) and Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750), was settled Saturday night during the AFT Finale at Daytona II.

With a second-place finish on Friday evening, Bauman reduced the importance of the Saturday evening outcome and left himself in a good position. Baring a significant mistake or mishap, Bauman only needed to finish 8th or higher to successfully defend his title.

However, multiple rain-related weather delays caused the cancellation of the class semi-finals and the rescheduling of the class final to run first. While the weather-related disruption could have easily knocked Bauman off his game, that in fact did not turn out to be the case. Responding like the champion he proved himself to be, Bauman jumped off to a 3rd place start, locked in on the rear wheel of his rival, and followed him all the way to the 2020 AFT Super-Twin Championship.

AFT Singles
Multiple rain-related weather delays forced the cancellation of Saturday evening’s AFT Singles semi-finals. As a result, Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) was unable to improve his 4th row starting position. He was able to advance a couple of positions during the race, turning in a 9th place finish for the season finale. However, that was good enough for him to capture the 2020 AFT Singles Championship Title.

The weather shortened event consisted of just four minutes plus two laps. Henry Wiles (No. 17 RMR Honda/Honda Talon CRF450R) grabbed the lead position out of the gate and retained that spot throughout. In doing so he re-enforced the belief, held by many, that he is one of, if not thee, greatest Short Track racer in the history of the sport. Briar Bauman AFT Super-Twins Champ Dallas Daniels AFT Singles Champ

AFT Production Twins
James Rispoli (No. 43 Latus Motors Racing Harley-Davidson XG750R) had to overcome multiple challenges, in Daytona, on his way to the 2020 AFT Production-Twins Championship. Not the least of which was the stellar performance put on by 2019 champion, Cory Texter (No. 1 G&G Racing/Roof Systems Yamaha MT-07).

Friday evening’s event found Rispoli pinned under his motorcycle follow an opening, turn-one, multi-bike, crash. The resulting red flag moved him from the front row to the back of the pack.

Seizing upon the advantage the crash produced, Texter grabbed the lead on the restart and held it all the way to his 4th win of the season. However, that was simply not enough to retain his title or the #1 plate.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Respoli, in equally impressive championship fashion, battled his way to a 6th place finish. No easy feat on a short, difficult track with little time. While the 6th spot represented his worst finish in an otherwise consistent season, it was none-the-less still impressive. Respoli’s seven wins, four seconds, two fourths, and a fifth gave him the #1 plate and 2020 AFT Production-Twins Championship.

Television Re-Broadcast
The Progressive AFT Finale at DAYTONA I & II will air back-to-back on NBCSN on Saturday, October 31, starting at 11:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. PT. The broadcasts will include exclusive features, cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage, and the expert commentary of Progressive AFT legend Chris Carr.

More Information
For more information on Progressive American Flat Track visit

BMW Motorcycles of Jacksonville Demo Event
by David Sturgis

It’s always exciting when you have the opportunity to ride some of the latest and greatest motorcycles from BMW Motorrad. There was a great selection of motorcycles for this event, including the S1000R, many GS models and the new R18.

The sign-up experience was available in advance online, and many riders used that to get on the waiting list for bikes. I came specifically to ride the S1000R, since I had heard so many good things about it. I was not disappointed! I saw several demo ride groups roll out onto the demo circuit, so many riders had the opportunity to ride new BMW motorcycles.

The demo route was a mix of suburban roads and highways. We were able to get comfortable on the motorcycles in slower-speed areas with stop signs, street lights, crossing busy roadways and lots of turns. Then we rolled out onto 295 for a few miles at highway speeds.

The ride leaders were respecting the speed limits and traffic flow on the roads, which resulted in a safe and enjoyable ride on some of the 2021 BMW Motorrad motorcycles.

Special thanks to BMW Jacksonville for hosting the Demo Event this weekend.

The Safety Minute
by David Sturgis

Staying Safe In A COVID-19 World
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our lives in many ways. Some of us are working from home, while others’ jobs are shut down due to the pandemic. Most forms of travel were impacted, though much of that has lifted. Our kids or grandkids attend school virtually, on a computer…. I could go on.

One big change for me was that I almost stopped riding my motorcycles. Not by choice, but I had nowhere to go! Not like I ever needed that before, but now it seemed like it was better if I stayed home. The summer brought record highs, and the hurricane season brought weeks of daily rain and extremely high humidity. After 6 months of not riding them much, I decided to sell 3 of the 4 motorcycles that I own. I kept my favorite ride, and that freed up a fair amount of cash to buy another one in the future.

You may be thinking, “This guy needs professional help. Hades would freeze over before I would quit riding motorcycles.” Perhaps you are right. My wife and I went for a car ride the other night, in the Prius! That was when I self-diagnosed my condition, and am now self-medicating (see below).

The good news is that I’m riding now. I rode about 30 miles today (10/24/20), in the heat of the day, and part of that was in a total group of strangers. I rode an awesome BMW S1000R in the demo event at BMW Jax. It was inspirational!

As I was zooming across the Buckman this morning, riding to BMW Jax from Mandarin, I had to take stock of my riding ability. I could still ride with no problem, but realized that my riding senses may have diminished. Riding requires sharper senses that driving the Prius.

Has the pandemic caused you to slow down or stop riding your beloved motorcycle(s)? If so, you may need “Riding Rehab.” I definitely need it!

Here are the steps that I’ll take to push through the rehabilitation program:
• Review your health, medications, and exercise regimen. Are you healthy enough to continue to ride? Since I’ve been seeing my doctors and am in good health, there are no issue there.
• Check over your motorcycle to make sure it’s in roadworthy shape. Did the tires go flat, or the gas turn stale? Take care of anything needed to get it roadworthy. I switched to ethanol-free gasoline early in the pandemic so the gas in my bikes wouldn’t go stale for a long time. A little Seafoam helped too.
• Focus on the fundamentals of riding. Managing the clutch, throttle and brakes are learned skills, and will come back quickly. Check your mirrors, keep your head on a swivel.
• Don’t rush or push your way through traffic, but rather keep your distance and remain calm. If you’re getting agitated or frustrated, stop someplace for a cool non-alcoholic drink and relax.
• Ride at times when there is less traffic, and the sanity of drivers is better. Avoid rush hour and bad weather too, since they increase your risk significantly.

Soon you will be out of “Riding Rehab” and enjoying your motorcycle(s) again. Riding may even help us overcome being cooped-up from the pandemic. Ride safely and enjoy!

Stress - COVID & Highway Safety
My topic today is important both to motorcycle riders and auto drivers. Shortly after the lockdown started, police reported that drivers all over the country were driving at speeds in excess of 100 mph on highways and some surface roads. These drivers were taking advantage of less traffic and the idea that police were hesitant to stop cars.

Here is a story from the Detroit Tribune.

Unfortunately, it’s still happening. If you are on the road when this occurs, you may be a “rolling pylon” that the speeding vehicle swerves past as they blow through traffic.

Which leads to the first safety tip: In your car, use all your rearview and side mirrors often, especially when considering changing lanes.

I was in the car recently, going with the traffic on 295 approaching the Buckman Bridge. As traffic ahead slowed, I decided to change to the lane to my left. I usually check my side mirror for clearance, but somehow checked my rearview mirror. There was a speeding car in the lane to my right, who was starting to cross 2 lanes to the left to pass me on the left. He was flying! I would not have seen him in my left-side mirror, since he was to my right. It would have been a terrible accident.

While on the motorcycle, check both side mirrors if you are able before changing lanes.

My second topic is about how people deal with the stress of lockdown and the threat of dying from COVID-19. Besides the financial stress of possibly being out of work, missing house or utility payments, many also have the kids at home. In other cases, parents are working from home and also being the school teacher for their kids.

While most have seen the fights over toilet paper and water in the news, I am talking about a deeper and perhaps more unpredictable response to stress and fear. The stress of going back out in public to shop, eat in restaurants and interact with other shoppers. Many of these people are badly stressed.

Stressed people make snap decisions, become angry quickly and sometimes violently. It’s best to give everyone some distance and be gracious. The proverb says that “A soft answer turns away wrath.”

Stay safe and keep riding!


BMW duo Sykes and Laverty discuss "difficult" 2020 season
by David Sturgis

The BMW Motorrad team, with riders Tom Sykes and Eugene Laverty, had a challenging 2020 season. The season was shortened to 8 events, with each event having 2 full races and a SuperPole 10-lap race over the weekend. The team had its’ share of ups and downs throughout the season, including a few crashes and mechanical DNF’s. You can read the full story here on the World SuperBike BMW team page. Additional insights from the season are available including for the BMW team, in 2020 in a nutshell article.

The season had several highlights, including Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki) winning his record-setting sixth consecutive World SuperBike championship. The previous record of four consecutive was held by Carl Fogarty. American Garrett Gerloff, 5-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion, joined the Yamaha Junior team. He managed to podium three times, with 1 second-place and 2 third-place finishes in the 22 race season. 

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