When Frank and I spoke about a monthly column in the MGNOC, it was undecided how to approach the first blank page. Suggestions ranged from "just the facts ma'am" to rally reports to introductions. My first austere list of company facts was met with "why, this is pretty dry, (cough cough)". Good advice. This venue is new to me and over time, I will find my voice.
Let me introduce myself to you and tell you how I came to be speaking about Moto Guzzi in these pages.
I took my first ride on a motorcycle when I was a wee child of less than six. There was a motorcycle shop around the corner from my house where I spent many wonderful hours fulfilling my role as mascot. I took one of my first rides on a black Triumph at a terrifying and exhilarating 100 mph down the West Side Highway in NYC. After that, I could be found hanging around the shop, begging for more rides. Eventually, the shop closed and the owners moved elsewhere. They took with them a piece of my heart and eventually, I put to sleep my dreams of riding a motorcycle.
Twenty years later, a friend asked me if I wanted to take the safety course with her. I had taken a long sabbatical from the idea of riding motorcycles, but the desire was never forgotten. Within the year, the MSF course was completed, a motorcycle purchased and a rally circuit circled in red ink. I quickly became engrossed in the sport and rode locally for several years.
About 7 years ago, I sold my businesses and took to the road for two years. I journeyed solo to most of the National Parks, stopping to meet other travelers and to take in the amazing beauty of this country. I owned a Lemans III but bought a V65SP until my skills matched my desire to ride the larger beast. That little V65SP never caused me even a burp of trouble on the road in 22,000 miles that first year.
Then I learned another lesson about motorcycling. I was involved in a motorcycle accident as a passenger. I had to take three years away from the sport and lifestyle. My life felt vacant, dull and flat during that time. Then one day, I saw a special on the television about four women on a road trip from Sturgis. I felt the spark rekindle. I would be a long journey back to riding, but I filled my world with motorcyclists and took in their support, wisdom and caring.
As therapy, I started the Women in Sport Touring (WiST) list on the Internet to fulfill one of my lifelong ambitions - to be involved with an international group of excellent women riders. It is one of the high points of my life, sharing our stories, research, embarrassing moments and support of one another. It kept me motivated as I struggled with the physical and mental aspects of my return.
Finally, I pulled my Lemans III out of his slumber and had Franz of Spare Parts return him to his former luster. My first long trip on him was to Mid-Ohio racetrack (a 550 mile riding day) with Jeff Anderson from Japan. It was a terrific weekend - I was back!
Soon after, a newspaper article appeared in the NY Times last summer and by chance, Mark Hauser (read it. It was a general motorcycling article that featured a few paragraphs about me, what I rode, and where I worked. Within a few weeks, I received a call from him at my work. Could I meet with him and Howard Chase to share my thoughts about Moto Guzzi? Why yes - I could.
I rode up to their offices from Brodheadsville (Parts is Parts), in full leathers, in 100 degree weather. I was soaked through after sitting in traffic for over 30 minutes outside the Lincoln Tunnel. But my first impression, however saturated, must still have been a good one.
When Mark Hauser asked me if I wanted to have a job with Moto Guzzi, what could I say? The glass slipper fit and I felt as if I had preparing for this work all my life. Eight months of communications, meetings and agreements turned into a position with the newly reorganized company.
My work so far has included distributing press releases, arranging test bikes and growing relationships to help Moto Guzzi's exposure. I have also been listening to customer's ideas, requests, complaints and issues in several different forums from rallies to races to dinners that I try to host across the country when I visit different areas. The work has been insightful and meeting Moto Guzzi riders has been not only educational but exciting. And from what I have gathered, the riders enjoy them as well.
Other current projects for Moto America is the support of Zachary and Karen in their Search for Giuseppe (check out their web page if you get a chance - http://www.13pt.net/giuseppe) and the groundwork is being laid for Moto Guzzi to participate with certain charities. I am attending, along with John Porter, Keith Showalter, Rex Marsee, Emily Banks and Shelby Kennard, rallies and races and we're working on making our participation more creative and fun. (See Moto Guzzi Parade Lap at Laguna July event information.) So far I have been to the AZ Rally, Italian Bike Night in Freehold NJ, a Marsh's (CT) open-house and a women's seminar at Point Cycle (PA). Other events are in the works and you should start to see Moto Guzzi involved in some non-traditional venues soon. I will write about them as plans become finalized.
Shelby Kennard and I are researching some new accessories for Moto Guzzi that you will start to see after the new year. We are hoping to fill some of the voids as well as create some interesting alternatives in the market. We will also be working on customers having better access to the accessories that we are already producing.
And all of us at Moto America are working on creating better communications at all levels. I am signed onto the Moto Guzzi list on the Internet (http://inet-rendezvous.com) and will be writing monthly articles in the MGNOC, John Porter is addressing dealer communications along with the Keith and Rex, and John Stoddard is creating magic at the dealers with technical updates and handling service issues. Moto America is strengthening the things that work well and changing the things that don't.
I am honored to be associated with Moto Guzzi professsionally and I couldn't ask to be involved with a more motivated, dedicated and loyal group of people.
I look forward to meeting you one the road...
Company business: On March 8th, Trident Rowan Group completed it's merger with North Atlantic Acquisition Corp. and became a public corporation. Stocks will be traded under the symbol GUZI on NASDAQ. This merger provided Moto Guzzi with money for R&D, production expenses and the addition of corporate managers.
On March 25, 1999, Mr. Mario Scandellari was appointed Managing Director of Moto Guzzi SpA. He brings to the corporation years as an engineer and manager with such notable companies as Harley Davidson and Ducati-Cagiva. His recent accomplishments include successful restructuring of several Italian corporations. His understanding of the strengths of Moto Guzzi, motorcycle development, and the current marketplace give him the necessary tools to lead the company with a strong vision into the next century. He has also established himself as a leader among the staff both in Italy and in the US.
Moto Guzzi SpA has also added a bright new star, Mr. Nicola Poggio with a background in communications and marketing at Yamaha. He has brought challenging new ideas, style, and commitment. In his short tenure, he is responsible for many improvements and we expect to see many more.
In the US, John Porter was added to the staff of Moto America, initially in the position of Vice President of Marketing. It was a completely new position for the company, and one created to increase Moto Guzzi sales and exposure in the US. He brings to the company his formidable talent of 13 years with Yamaha in the product development and marketing departments. In his 29 years in the industry, he has covered the spectrum of jobs which give him a knowledge of all aspects of the industry. Some of his accomplishments include responsibility for the WaveRunner and collaboration on the RADD motorcycle.
His duties will include product development for the US, working with dealers and advertising. His job description was quickly expanded to President of Moto America Inc. when Fran Contaldi chose to step down and away from the company. Fran's departure is regretful but his choice to leave has all the right elements: A desire to travel both in the US and abroad, to pursue other professional goals, and to relocate closer to his family. We has our sincerest wishes for success and happiness.
Emily Banks, one of the original owners of Moto America has stepped up to the position of Vice President of Operations and Administration and has been named an officer of the corporation. Her duties include Treasurer and Operations Manager and running the company on a day-to-day basis. Her strengths come from her ownership and management of Midway Cycles (a Moto Guzzi dealership) and her subsequent years as an officer of Moto America. Her passion for the marque and regard for customers is renowned. Her current stable of bikes includes a '98 Centauro, '81 Monza, '58 Falcone, and a '65 Stornello 125 Sport.
Moto America also captured the walkabout woman, Kyrie Collins, who has garnered the title of Assistant Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations. Her history of being a successful New York City entrepreneur and long-term Moto Guzzi rider will bring to the company an interesting mix of business and advocacy. Her responsibilities will be public relations, press relations, communication, events, and accessory development including marketing. She will also assist John Porter in opening a Laguna Beach Marketing office this summer. Her stable includes a white Lemans III, 2 Monzas and half the non-running V50's on the East Coast.
John Stoddard comes back on board as a field technician for dealers. He visits dealers nationally assisting them with new technical information and solving problems. His work is excellent and we look forward to ensuring better support and service to our dealers (and thus our customers) as well as improved communication.
Mr. Scandellari officially declared Moto Guzzi a market-driven company. This is a benefit to all motorcyclists as the company is listening to customer requests, ideas and issues. The 5 year budget and business plans are already in place and Italy and its subsidiaries are gearing up to put these plans into action.
In keeping pace with Italy, the US will also be market-driven. Annual budgets, through the merger and support from Italy, have allowed Moto America to address under-exposure in the market, customer relations and technical support.
The new Jackal, which is featured on the cover, will be arriving into the US in July. It is based on the California EV but stripped down to it's most essential parts. One notable change is there is only one front rotor so the braking is not integrated. Oh, and the introductory price will be $7,999.00 (See Frank's article in this issue).
Quota: Promises, promises... Although it is a 2000 model, the Quota will be arriving this fall. Our apologies, we know it is not nice to tease.
V11 Sport: Yes, the ever elusive sport with the new 6 speed gearbox. The bike is in the pre-production phase at the factory, but will not arrive into the US until the calendar year 2000. We'll keep you up-to-date with the production and introduction dates.
Also, if you are undecided as to whether to buy that EV or Sport you have been lusting after for two years, Moto America just announced a limited time offer of a trade-in with cash back. See our advertisement in this issue for details.
Moto America will be attending the following rallies and races: