The Granary


3/26/99 News this Week…

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, March 24 that Ducati Motor Holding SpA of Bologna, Italy was preparing an initial public offering.

Check the Big Board for the symbol DMH.  Ducati priced 90.2 million shares at $13.67 each, and you can buy them in units known as ADR’s, or American Depositary Receipts.  Each ADR represents 10 ordinary shares.

Ducati believes its reputation will make this a strong seller.  According to the Journal, the bikes themselves go from about $7,000 to $16,500, although they can be as high as $20,000. is very much a Ducati camp.  Chris rides one in Cincy, Rick used to have a Diana MkV, and West Coast correspondent Craig Echols has two vintage and one new one.  We had ours before they were popular, okay?  We really did!  We’re not yuppies!  R.H.

I got my hands on the prospectus.  A couple interesting facts.  Nearly 50% of Ducati's revenues come from sales of the 748/996.  Think the successor bike is important to them?  Also, the company has a negative net worth.  But then in this market when companies with multi-billion dollar stock values don't see a profit anywhere on the imminent horizon Ducati don't look too bad!  One thing that worries me is the new emphasis on the Ducati Lifestyle.  This sounds marketing not motorcycle people in control.  Time will tell. C.J.

Speaking of yuppies, Harley-Davidson also made the Journal with news that its buyers have a median household income of $73,600.  According to the paper (Tuesday, March 23, 1999) Harley riders include AT&T Chairman Michael Armstrong, Boeing vice president Laurette Koellner, and IBM senior vp for human resources Tom Bouchard.  R.H.

Ed Youngblood, President of the AMA, resigns. (2/19/99)

In a dramatic move, Ed Youngblood, 18 year president of the American Motorcyclist Association, resigned his position, on 2/13/99.  What led to this action, really out of the blue for AMA members such as myself who snooze through the American Motorcyclist every month for our AMA info, is surely linked to the recent North Carolina trial loss by the AMA in a suit with Roger Edmondson involving professional racing.  But what really put the heat on Mr. Youngblood was the report of that trial decision and subsequent follow-up reporting which appeared in ROADRACING WORLD (RW), edited by John Ulrich.  I am a subscriber to RW and I think it a fair statement that Mr. Ulrich has not been pleased with the AMA's performance in the professional racing arena.  So when this decision was rendered there was RW's reporter David Swarts whose article in the February RW painted a very nasty picture of a vindictive and bullying AMA, in the matter of Roger Edmondson, orchestrated by Youngblood.

The timeline for Mr. Youngblood's swift demise as I've pieced it together from RW,  AMA Superbike (no relation to American Motorcyclist Assoc) and the A.M.A.'s website follows.

12/18/98 -  Jury in the civil trial held in the US District Court in Western North Carolina returns a unanimous decision in favor of Roger Edmondson against the A.M.A.  After a trebling allowed under North Carolina law the fine with interest amounts to something in the area of $5,000,000.

12/30/98 - A.M.A./Ed Youngblood issues a press release saying that the decision will be appealed.

01/?/99 - ROADRACING WORLD article by David Swarts appears in their February issue.

01/?/99 - AMA/Youngblood send reply letters to members rebutting the RW article.

01/29/99 - Ulrich, RW editor, sends an open letter to the AMA board answering allegations in above AMA/Youngblood letter and calling for the board to fire Youngblood.  This can be seen on AMA Superbike's site.

At this point I remarked to a friend and fellow AMA member that either Ulrich was damn sure about his facts or ignorant of the libel laws because he was getting pretty pointed in his allegations.

02/09/99 - US District Judge who presided over the case denied the AMA motions stating that the jury finding was not flawed as alleged by the AMA attorneys.  I believe the motions the AMA made are necessary for them to appeal their case so in and of itself this is no bombshell.

02/13/99 - Youngblood resigns.

Some comments.  I didn't know that the AMA board is 50% motorcycle manufacturing representatives and 50% member elected.  I think manufacturers with the profit motive at heart have more than significant enough resources to have their own representation on issues without being so heavily influential in our motorcyclists association.  Some would argue that our interests are intertwined but I would suggest that no loss of cooperation would occur if such is truly the case and the manufacturers governance role is eliminated from the AMA.

John Ulrich is a road racer pursuing a road racing agenda.  This does not make him right or wrong on any given issue but it helps to know.

The AMA is critical to motorcyclists in presenting a constant and credible presence to International, Federal, State and Local governments.  Our freedom to enjoy motorcycling is under assault at all these levels.  Particularly scary is the manfacturers stated desire to see one world wide standard for motorcycles.  When such a goal is on the table it is inevitably shaped by the most onerous requirements by the more outspoken nations, ie French or German government regulations determining what bikes we can purchase in the US.  THANKS BUT NO THANKS and this is an area where I immediately see conflicting agendas between motorcyclists in the US and manufacturers.

Ed Youngblood did a great deal of good in his tenure as president.  18 years is simply too long.  It's why our Constitution forbids a President from holding office for more than 2 terms.  Change is endemic in life, so should it be in any institution.

Chris Jacobs - email