1 November 2008 – Dissed

Mark sent me a link to a tricked out HM1100s for sale on Ducati.ms. I checked out the ad and thought the bike was beautiful. When I went to post a reply to that effect, I got the following message:

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
In other words, I can’t do shit.  Now the last time I posted on Ducati.ms was over a year ago, and that was since I wrote my scathing (but truthful IMHO) report of for-pay message boards for MCN. Now I find I’m locked out of everything, but my user ID is still active. Coincidence? I’d prefer to believe in intrique rather than the single bullet theory, so my take is the board adminstrators are dissing me. Who knows? Who cares? And what’s Oliver Stone’s phone #?

31 October 2008- Track day report…Happy Halloween! (by Mark)

As usual, I had a great time at the track last Saturday with Turn One Performance at Jennings.  I loaded up and trucked out solo around 1500 Friday.   After driving through some torrential down pours I arrived at Jennings about 2130 local (EST).  I quickly setup camp and with the bike now protected it poured some more until midnight. 

The next morning we all awoke to a very damp/wet track.  Rider briefing conducted, festivities got under way at 0900 with my group, expert/advanced, out first on the track.  Two bikes ran out of about 10 of us.  Too damn wet man.  I did my first run an hour later during the second session.  First lap was nice and easy even though the tire warmers had done their job.  The second lap a bit faster and then lap three was still slow by dry standards but the bike was sliding a bit if pushed.  Coming out of turn 2 and on the gas on lap 3 I had the biggest tank slapper I’ve ever had, no doubt giving a show to the two guys behind me.  I got it under control and had another mini one a couple laps later on the other end of the track.  By late morning the track was MOSTLY dry so it was full speed ahead.  Coming down from about 140mph on the back straight into turn three I successfully found a lone wet patch and had to stand it up through the esses…track, dirt, track, dirt, track…lots of dirt.  I was descellerating through about 30 or 40 mph when I was unfortunate enough to find a wet mud hole and it threw me down.  I was muddy but the bike survived.  I cracked the nose of the fairing slightly from impact and the left shift lever was bent.  Oh well…it’s a track bike!  Through some industrious work by ingenious friends in the pits, I got the shifter repaired enough for the rest of the day and trusty duct tape repaired the nose.  Woo hoo!  Dusted off, the 999 and I trashed some tires and knee pucks for the rest of the day.  We arrived home dirty and tired but with good learning done and fun all around.  I ran into Rich, formerly from D&D at the track. We had good times between sessions and played some chase out on the track. Good times. The bike should be back up to my standards in short order.   I now have a bit longer list of “things to take” when heading to the track.  I think I’ll go for Saturday AND Sunday next time. 

As for the other fellows? Well, a 1098 guy I was riding with had his bike all decked out with the exception of his lights and factory plastics. Slicks all around, he was by me with ease after the lunch break down the back stretch. I attempted to keep up a bit down the back half of the track but he steadily pulled away between the twisties. Coming in to turns 12/13 I saw a cloud of dust as he had lost the front end and low sided off track but was okay…physically. His right side of leathers were torn up pretty well as well as the bike. Bent clip on, rashed plastics right side, missing foot peg. Two sessions later he was back in action thanks to spare parts. Woo hoo! It’s a track bike! No other Ducati madness thank goodness. A Honda 600 got wadded up pretty good with a high side so we felt spared. No injuries at all on track for the day. Any other incidents were minor offs by comparison. Says alot for the required full gear.
Too much fun…

Happy Halloween!

30 October 2008 – Up and at ’em

My insomnia has taken a bit of a reprieve, and I’ve had decent nights of sleep for the past few weeks. Maybe it’s the cooler temps that have helped. It has cooled off in a big way in the Panhandle for the past few weeks, and I’m loving it. Low to mid 70s temps are predicted for the next week or so, which is perfect for riding. Of course, the Army will grab me for a free weekend in Montgomery instead for the 2nd weekend of Phase II CGSC. Today I have to crank out a term paper. Let’s see, I could go for a ride, or spend the entire morning writing a term paper I’m not that interested in. Guess what I’ll be doing? Writing.

It looks like there will be 6 Ducati’s on the grid next year in MotoGP. One factory squad, one B-team on GP09 bikes, and a third satellite team. I’m guessing the satellite team will get GP08 bikes.

The last WSB of the year is this weekend. Watch Troy finish out his career at a new track with no pressure on him. My guess is he’ll either win both races or crash out. That was a tough call to make, but Bayliss is consistent in his drive to win at all costs, especially when he has nothing to lose. I watched the last round of WSB on the computer yesterday. What a great series. And with BMW and Aprilia entering the fold next year, the competition will be even better. Actually, I don’t expect them to REALLY compete next year, but if they can at least get into the top ten like the Foggy Petronas team did ocassionally I’d be impressed. I’m dying to hear what Aprilia’s new V-4 sounds like.

Good comments yesterday guys.

Enjoy your Th.

29 October 2008 – Dieing Healthy

I’ve been on a fitness kick of late, and spend about an hour a day, six days a week trying to stay fit. To what end? Well, I suppose it’s so that I can die healthy. Actually, I’ve never been really out of shape, but compared to my current state of tune I was paunchy 6 months ago. I’ve also worked out so much in the past that it has led to a few injuries that still plague me. All in all, I’d say being fit has rolled back the clock more than a few years for me. In don’t take any medications, am relatively lucid most of the time, and feel good. Given the stresses the past few months, I’m sure it’s helped me keep things together. It’s hard work though, and there are few incentives out in the real world to stay in shape. It’s easy to get wrapped up in careers and other activities that can seem a whole lot more fun than sweating and enduring pain. The insidious part of fitness is that while it can delay the ravages of time, time will conquer all. And, as soon as you get an injury or illness, the body atrophies at an amazing rate. If I stop running for a mere week, I begin feeling the effects. Likewise with working out and stretching. It’s a shame that our bodies aren’t like our bikes. So long as I keep a Ducati on a trickle charger, it’s ready to go at a moment’s notice. Of course, my Ducs have been known to break down, so perhaps I need to assess their fitness regimen. One thing’s for sure. My bikes will look good far longer than me. On my office wall is a picture of me with some colleagues from about 10 years ago. I’d like to think I look the same, but the mirror doesn’t lie. I look way older and more worn out compared to the picture. Maybe I should paint over all the mirrors in the house with Ducati murals to make me feel better, and get rid of those old pictures.

28 October 2008 – Depreciation

Since you write the state of the industry articles, maybe you can help me with this one. I paid about $16k for my 999 and sold it for $9500 with 6k miles on it. In round numbers, that’s a $6k loss or about $1 a mile. This pig here was probably $23k new, is selling for about $16k and has 71k miles on it or about 10 cents a mile. Is the demand for a Harley that much greater that it retains its value by that much, near 1/10 the depreciation rate? As a percentage, the 999 retained 60% of my initial cost (more like 55% if you use the $18k sticker) whereas the HD is near 70%. Does the value of bikes asymptote so at some point my 999 would’ve near flatlined and I’d just not yet hit it? You know, I’m beginning to think that a few years back, I should’ve taken my 401k, cashed it, bought two loaded Harleys and kept them in an environmentally controlled garage without riding them. At least they’d still be worth what I paid for them.

Depreciation has a lot to do with appeal of a bike. H-D has had the luxury of high resale values, but even that brand is taking a hit, thanks to 2 million used cruisers flooding the market. Your 999 took a hit in resale because it didn’t appeal to a lot of people, including many of the 1% that actually purchase Ducatis. Ducati’s, like most bikes, bottom out in value at approximately 30-40% of their resale value for Monsters, SS and tourers , 40-50% of their value for the Superbikes and 50-60% for rare numbered collectibles. That’s about it. Obviously if you have a ton of aftermarket goodies, it will fetch a bit more, but you’ll get about the same return on aftermarket parts – 25-40% of their value. Misery loves company though, and right now nothing is selling. Take a look at your local paper and you’ll probably see a flood of H-Ds for sale. Owning one aint’ what it used to be, but then what is as it used to be?
  

 

27 October 2008 – Nicky’s First Day

American Ducati fans have been waiting for a day like this for years. A day when an american rider would once again ride a Ducati at the world level. Although Ben Boz was a crowd pleaser, he is a streak rider, and never was able to get the results sufficient to keep his ride with the Ducati WSB team. Now it’s Nicky’s turn to try with the GP9. His comments today about Stoner’s prowess are telling. He noted that whatever they pay Casey isn’t enough by a long shot. We know Melandri couldn’t conquer the Desmosedici. I hope that Nicky is up to the task. If well-wishing could be converted into horsepower, Nicky would certainly have an advantage.

26 October 2008 – A beautiful weekend to ride

Yesterday I took the MTS out for a Blackwater blast and today it was the Sport Classic’s turn for a local spin. The weather this time of the year is perfect for riding. I haven’t ridden the Sport Classic in some time, and had forgotten whether I had sorted the suspension problems with it. As the ride started I was concerned with its lack of damping, but I found that the faster I rode it, the more stable it seemed. I still doubt its ability to handle mid-corner bumps, but I had a blast nonetheless. Mark and I did a local loop after breakfast. As we sipped on a Starbucks Frapuccino at a gas station, we spotted Patrick on his 996 turn off the highway onto the road we intended taking for the ride back to Pensacola. We looked at each other, grabbed our helmets, chatted with a passer by for a minute or two, and set off after Patrick. We caught him just as he finished riding the twisty road. Patrick must have been moving, because we were cooking trying to catch him. We weren’t doing triple-digit stuff, but were riding at a spirited pace. We stopped and chatted with Patrick for a few minutes, and then made our way back.

I came home, cleaned up the SC1000, and rolled the SS out of the Ark for the last time. Gregg Kirby is buying my venerable ultra-trick ’92 900ss. It deserves a good home to somebody that would appreciate all the customizations I’ve done, and Gregg fits the bill as a responsible owner. I’m going to give it the once over, change the oil, and Gregg can pick it up at his convenience. Now the Ark is back to its operating capacity — 13 bikes.

Enjoy your Sunday.  

25 October 2008 – Good Riddance

Today marks the finish of the worst week of sales in 2008 for DT. Stock market jitters? Coincidence? I checked the close of the markets today. Another 5 year low in prices, with estimates we haven’t hit bottom yet. I remember my Grandad telling me that, in his estimation, every generation needed to experience the lessons wrought from the Great Depression, if for no other reason than to appreciate the lessons it taught – expect the best, prepare for the worst. Even those that are fiscally conservative are now paying for the indescretions of people with bad credit, or those willing to give money to people who can’t afford to pay it back. I REALLY hope we don’t have to deal with 20%+ unemployment rates to learn the lessons from the current debacle. Unfortunately, history shows that even if we did learn, we’d forget within a decade or so. I remember what my Grandad told me, and I’d like to think I never forgot that lessons that many people have never learned. Or maybe I’ve just been lucky.

With only 2 months left, I think I’ll be glad when 2008 is over. It’s been a bad year overall for a lot of people, both financially and personally. Of course, enjoying today is usually more fun that trying to survive until tomorrow.

Ducati is outfitting BOTH thier Corse and B-Teams with the same ’09 spec GP bikes next year to make Ducati overall more competitive on the grid. I’m looking forward to racing in ’09. With 08 a lock in WSB and MotoGP, there’s nothing more to be accomplished other than pride.

Enjoy your Sat.

24 October 2008 – A Washout

Sometimes, Pensacola gets into a hateful weather pattern whereby bands of rain continually feed North from the Gulf and dump inches of rain in a continual soaking mess. Today was one of those days. I spent the morning on business stuff, and the afternoon running errands. Not a foot made it to the Ark. The Gods doth conspire against me.

All is quiet on the sales front. The last two backorders will ship on Monday, and I’m all caught up. That means that sales are way slow. That’s okay, because I have guests in town this weekend, and I could use a break from packing boxes at 0500.

Mark is heading to Jennings tomorrow for a weekend trackday. I’d be jealous, but I’m happy just to stay around here for a change. I’m traveled out for the year other than two more weekends in Montgomery for the Army.

Enjoy your Fr.

23 October 2008 – A foot on the 2nd floor

Although I didn’t plan on being able to pull it off, I may actually have time tomorrow to visit the 2nd floor of the Ark. Have you ever started a project, loathed having to finish it, and dreaded stepping foot near it again. If you have, you can empathize with my plight. I LOVE the first floor of the Ark. It is complete, functional, and looks great. All that stands betwee me and a completed 2nd floor is about 5 full days of work. A mere 5 full days.  or 10 half days, or 20 days of 2 hours per day. When expressed like that, it is a lot of time. So, I’ve been using up the odd spare hour doing other things, like shaving Moe, sweeping the kitchen floor, picking up around the house… anything to keep me from the misery of finishing a project that is almost 1.5 years old. Procrastine? Oh yeah, I’ve got that mastered.