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Archive for December, 2010

December 21, 2010

Pete’s Pics

By Danny Brault

If there’s one thing you can count on at a Yamaha event, I mean any event, like we could be promoting new brake levers or grip donuts, it’s that Peter Swanton will be there and he’ll be taking pictures. Jokes aside, Swanton, Yamaha’s National Motorsports Sales Manager, is one passionate motorcycle man and does everything he can to help the company.

After an event, Pete normally organizes a PowerPoint presentation full of interesting pictures and notes and then sends it through to colleagues. With snow falling across Canada, Pete is now swamped selling snowmobiles and he didn’t have time to put together a report from the Toronto Motorcycle Show on December 10-12. But rather than let his flawless photos fall to the wayside, I thought I’d share some with you. I hope I make ya proud, Pete!

For those of you who are passionate about Yamaha, motorcycle technology or adventure touring, you’ll understand why the 2012 Super Ténéré garnered so much attention in TO. Although the bike isn’t available in Canada until June 2011, you can order one now (and receive some bonus incentives). It has many impressive features, like a unified braking system, ABS, D-Mode, adjustable suspension, double-T style rims, and much much more. Long story short, it’s a really cool bike.

To give fans a better view, our service department stripped down a ST (the one that endured this off, on and everything in between road trip) and offered a more intimate look into the machine.


Women riders are becoming a much more common sight on the road these days, and we think that’s great. Friday night was ‘Ladies Night’ at the TO show and that meant free admission for them. The new Stryker (above) with its low seat height and cozy ergonomics was favoured by many ladies… does that mean we can’t say it delivers “badboy” attitude any longer? “Badperson” just doesn’t have the same ring to it…

Mr. Tough Guy: You’re going to laugh, but I’ll be honest: performance and handling aside, riding the Raider makes me feel like the toughest, baddest rebel on the road. Seriously–this bike oozes appeal. What’s also funny is the time I brought a Raider home for a weekend. I was at a Tim Horton’s (the unofficial hangout of MCists everywhere) and two Harley dudes came outside to check it out. They were impressed, but after asking what it was and I said “Yamaha,” they turned their backs and walked away….


People are always asking “Can I buy anything?” when visiting our corporate booth. Unfortunately, we normally have to tell them to keep their money. Not this year! Kelly’s Cycle Centre stepped up with their booth, and retailed a boatload of quality Yamaha leathers and casual wear at heavily discounted prices. Way to go, team.

The new Stratoliner Deluxe is making friends everywhere. It’s amazing the difference, visually, simple bolt-ons, like a shorty fairing with windshield and hard saddlebags, can make.


Start’em young! The Yamaha Riding Academy (YRA) has become a mainstay at Motorcycle Shows across Canada. It’s no wonder, as Clinton Smout and his band of riding professors have a very methodical and practical approach to teaching not only kids, but anyone how ride. In an attempt to offer better visibility and “cleaner” conditions, the YRA setup was moved into the main showroom. By all accounts (except for a minor smoke alarm sounding) it was a success.


The kids are outfitted with the latest gear and protection and mini-bikes from Yamaha. There are a few thrills and spills, but most every kid leaves with a big smile on their face. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

2010 was another big year for Yamaha on the motocross front. For the third year in a row, we captured the MX1 Canadian National title with Dusty Klatt, and Tyler Medaglia won his first MX2 crown. Even though the MX crowd is the minority at the TO show, we still had to display our racing honours. To help, we had Blackfoot Motorsports ship us Klatt and Medaglia’s championship winning Yamaha’s. Pictured here is Klatt’s one-of-a-kind ’94 YZ inspired 450F. Kudos to his mechanic, Andrew McClean, for the creativity!

You know what’s really cool about Blackfoot’s factory race bikes? You can buy them! Yep, that’s right. Each fall BF sells off their riders’ practice and race bikes (at a pretty good price, IMO). View them all here.

Scary fast: That cliche rings true when looking at the new 2011 YZF-R1. The world champion inspired, crossplane turning crankshaft, sweet sounding supersport is now available in this ghosty red styling that has to be seen to truly appreciate. Speaking of scary and cool, if certain things come together, you may see a very unique “UFC” inspired R1 in the near future….


Like father, like son.


The Northern Stars Riders’ Assoc. were in the house. If you’re from Western Canada, or looking to plan a motorcycle adventure, we suggest looking into the Stars’ Cruise-In next July in High River, AB.


Hey, that’s not a motorcycle!?! That is correct, however, the new Apex with Power Steering is a must-have at all of our powersport shows. Our techs have re-jigged this unit to allow people to experience the ease-of-steering, sans snow. Ask anyone who has tried it (at the show or on the snow), this ain’t no gimmick!


What, outboards?! Again, with an impressive piece of machinery like Yamaha’s V8 outboard, you gotta show it off. Size matters.

Not sure why this guy is so angry…

…Pete found something to smile about.

If you like what you saw here, then be sure to visit an upcoming Motorcycle Show near you:

2011 Motorcycle Show Schedule
January 7-9: BMO Centre, Stampede Park – Calgary, AB
January 14-16: Edmonton Expo Centre, Northlands – Edmonton, AB
January 20-23: Trade Exhibition Centre, Abbotsford – Vancouver, BC
February 4-6: Centre de Foires – Quebec, QC
February 11-13: Moncton Coliseum – Atlantic Canada
February 25-27: Montreal Convention Centre – Montreal, QC

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December 15, 2010

He made it!

Part 4–and the finale –of Huggy’s ‘Labrador Labour of Love’

[Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3]

… The last 295km went by faster than I had expected. By this time, the shooting had more or less wrapped up until Goose Bay. It was time to make hay while the sun shone!

This is where I really got in the groove with the Super Tenere. I was able to ride for long stretches at a time at my own speed. After having about 750km on it, I was very comfortable with its handling and what to expect. Miraculously, about 60 to 75km from Goose Bay a perfect stretch of pavement presented itself with nobody around for miles. Thank God for stimulus spending! Nothing against the mostly gravel road I had been riding to that point, but it felt like a red carpet had been rolled out.

Being in marketing, I’ve always watched commercials with a keen eye and thought about the production of the ad. My last 50km entering Goose Bay felt like I was starring in an ad with cameras rolling. Here I was, riding the latest and greatest motorcycle down a pristine, tree-lined road without anyone else in sight. The leaves swirling behind me as I sped past. Life is good.


We stopped at the sign for Goose Bay for a photo-op and I had a chance to call Marty from Frenchie’s. He met us at the top of the main drag and led us to the shop for the finishing shoot with Pascal, the owner of Frenchie’s.

It was a wrap, I had made it. I hadn’t spent a dime on food or accommodations over the course of three days (and no, I didn’t pack any food either). As a result, Dave Hatch is to host an entire episode on National TV with the word “YAMAHA” written across his forehead! Hmm… Should I use Sharpie fine point or maybe a Yamaha tattoo?

Two good, hard working Labrador men….

To celebrate, Marty invited the crew back to his place … check that, his garage, for some caribou meat and beverages. The wood stove was blazing and it felt great to cozy up next to it while snacking on some of Labrador’s finest wild game. What a way to cap the trip off! (For those keeping score at home, I didn’t buy any food until the following morning.)

….and some wholesome Labrador dinner.

We did a summary shoot in the morning down by the water. Pascal then gave us the unofficial Goose Bay tour. I even found a T-shirt that read, “I survived the Trans-Labrador Highway,” while looking for souvenirs. How perfect was that? Pascal drove us over to the airport and we were off.

The more of these trips I do, the more I realize there are Yamaha enthusiasts all across this land in every nook and cranny willing to help you on your way. If you ever do plan on doing a long-distance trip, be sure to scout the Yamaha dealers along the way. They can always help or point you in the right direction for any people or places you might want to see. We’re united by a common passion. It’s remarkable how that passion can take you from strangers to friends in a mere instant.

For more photos please visit: facebook.com/yamahamotorcanada and visit the Photos section.

The season premiere of A Motorcycle Experience will be on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 11:30AM EST. All shows are broadcast on TSN.

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December 8, 2010

Part 3: Labour of Love

Part 3 of 4

[Click here for Part 1; Click here for Part 2.]


Huggy stares into the great unknown…

… In the morning, the guys woke me up with a surprise shoot. Let me set the scene: Mike and Tyler roll up the door, with the sun blazing and the record light flashing red. I don’t think People Magazine will be calling me anytime soon for their “50 Most Beautiful People,” if they ever see this footage. HD camera + sleeping Huggy + blinding sunlight + rough night’s sleep = Huggy Ogre!

It wasn’t long before we got sorted and on the way. Today we had to reach Labrador City/Wabush, by night fall, with stops in Gagnon, Mount Wright, and the Labrador border along the way. Not that hard when you consider it was only 268km, but we had a lot of TV to shoot with many stops and passes along the way. Filming is a lot of “Hurry up and wait!”

Gagnon was eerie; it’s the definition of a ghost town. Pavement, curbs, driveways, sidewalks, and sewer grates but, no housing or structures whatsoever. Turns out the mine that employed everyone in town went bust sometime in 1985. Since everything was pre-fabricated, they packed up and left!

We carried on, reaching Mont Wright, a gigantic iron ore mine, in late afternoon. I pulled over and was astonished to see that, due to the high iron content in the water, the lake next to the mine was completely red! At this point I was starting to get pretty fatigued and this shoot was tough. After non-stop riding for the better part of two hours my face was frozen. Who cares, right? Yes, but a heck of a lot harder to do a good job on the camera when your mouth can’t move and simply enunciating words becomes a chore. Just ask Sloth from the Goonies.

At kilomtre #570, we hit Labrador and the start of the Trans-Labrador highway. All that effort just to get to the start! We stopped at a gas station to get some fuel. The attendant took one look and knew we weren’t natives. After telling him we were looking for Morley at Hewlett Minpaco, he offered to drive over and show us exactly where it was. Now THAT is Labrador hospitality!


Just in case Huggy had any “accidents,” Morley asked him to sleep on the floor.

After touring the shop and chatting with Morley for awhile, I struck a deal for food and accommodations. Morley would allow me to sleep on the showroom floor for the night, and he would provide a large pizza and chocolate milk. In exchange, I would shine up all the Yamaha’s in his showroom. I was very thankful for this when I woke up at 5am and saw on the outdoor sign that it was -3 degrees. Why pizza to eat? I figured it was something that didn’t require a fridge and I would be able to eat the leftovers in the morning. You gotta be resourceful when you don’t have many resources!

Brownie and Tyler made their way to the shop in the morning and we set off. Today was a high mileage day. Shooting was the least of the three days but travel was nearly twice as much as we did in the previous two. The goal was to reach Frenchie’s Service Centre in Goose Bay, over 560km away, by dark. Again it’s not that difficult simply riding the distance, but when you factor in a slow moving UHAUL, a couple different shoots, and cold weather, the hours go by quickly.

Looking at this pic, we should note that the 2012 Super Tenere is only available in blue and black, not silver as shown here. Tennies will be available at Canadian dealerships June 2011!

The air was still chilly and as the kilometers increased so did the numbness in my hands.  The gloves I had were not exactly made for this type of weather. To compensate, I rode ahead while the boys grappled with the dirt road in the UHAUL. When I couldn’t stand it anymore, I would pull over and warm my hands with the exhaust or hold them together in my coat. After 15-20 minutes, I would see the UHAUL off in the distance with a trail of dust behind it. Push on!


Believe it! This raging river of rock was once a raging river of WATER.

We stopped just outside of Churchill Falls while crossing the Churchill (sort of) River. I was quite conflicted by this. On the one hand, it’s a shame to see something of such natural beauty be completely changed by man. On the other, it provides a source of income to those living in the area and power to Quebec and New York. I stared at the remnants of a raging river, reduced to a wide expanse of rock with trees on either side. It really put into perspective the amount of water that the hydroelectric plant requires. How much water, you say? The reservoir provides storage area for over 1,000,000,000,000 cubic feet of it, covering 5,700KM2!

We did a shoot outside of Churchill Falls, another at the top of the reservoir, fueled up and made our way down the homestretch. Goose Bay here we come!


There’s still more road to go…. Check back soon for the final installment of Huggy’s Labour of Love!

For more photos please visit: facebook.com/yamahamotorcanada and visit the photos section.

The season premiere of A Motorcycle Experience will be on Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 11:30AM EST. All shows are broadcast on TSN.

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