Mikekay, what got you so involved in the Honda/cheating story? It seems you're real worked up about something other than just documenting Honda's course cutting. I'm not being disrespectful but what did Honda do to you personally or is that off base.
Its true. I am worked up about it. What started out as an abstract thing, a discussion about Honda cheating several years ago here on Thumpertalk-- is now a personal vendetta by several employees of American Honda against me!
I have been Honda loyal since 1971. I owned a few other brands--but usually had at least one Honda in the garage. Like all of us i associated the brand with the highest quality-plus there was a special Honda mystique. I felt it was somehow 'The Best'
As a long time baja guy i also liked the association with the winning Honda team. Not to mention the stone reliable XR line.
Anyway-heres what happened:
--as i got back into racing 6 years ago and stated seeing all the cheating that was going on down in baja--my heros--the same guys we all have looked up to , started to loss their shine. Then in '02 we actually where in the lead in the Baja 1000--only to have the Honda A team mysteriously pop-up miles in front of us. Then at each Honda pit during the race-- they dragged their feet. It was incredibly obvious what was going on.
When its an abstract thing-Honda cheating-thats one thing. When its happening against you--thats another.
So fast forward a few days after the '02 Baja 1000. A Honda employee-Ron Miller-(aka Mainjet) got on Thumpertalk and responded to a rumor about how Honda might get disqualified. He said it was horseshite and Honda would never cheat.
Well it was one of those nights when i had just enough wine. I was sort of OK with Honda cheating (not sure why--but somehow i was ok with it)--but to read a Honda employee on TT just straight up telling a lie--that drove me over the edge. I responded with a now famous rant telling exactly what lines and where on the course Honda had cheated.
It was the straw that broke the camels back. Guys like Grider and Blaise and Childress and O Neil and Larry Roesler and many many others started to talk openly about the need to end the cheating. Roesler even got up in front of the entire riders meeting for the '03 Baja 500 and tried to convince everyone to stop cheating. (he was paving the way for KTM to get involved). The rallytrackers where then introduced by SCORE to stop the cheating. The dialogue that erupted after the TT posts was part of the momentum to get the rallytrackers...so yes--there is some irony in all this.
But wait--theres more...much more...Well --when i posted that rant on TT--i worked for Chris Haines Motorcycle Adventures--the largest tour bike outfit in Baja. I was more than just a sweep rider--i was one of the main guys conducting the tours--leading the rides as a guide, etc. It was a cool gig! It only took a couple days for Ron Miller to talk to his son--Honda Off Road Manager Chuck Miller...who figured out who i was...he called Chris Haines--and i was fired. Haines was contracted to HRC to use Honda dirt bikes on his Baja tours. Some really petty people at Honda took it all to a much higher level.
Frankly i was surprised by the reaction by Honda. I didnt start any rants agaisnt Honda. Nor was it really my intention to be some kind of whistleblower. I guess i was naive. I figured it would blow over and at the most Honda would realize the racing rank and file like me where on to their gaimes.... All i really did was tell the truth--under an anonymous name. Wasnt looking for a fight--not at all! But i have felt the wrath of Team Honda ever since. Several guys i have planned to race with have backed out--fearing Honda back lash. Tim Morton aka Bajaboundmoto hired me for a time as a sweep rider--and then dumped my ass when he got closer to Honda. His wife has confirmed to me it was 100% becouse of their growing closeness to Honda.
There is more to the story--i could go on and on--but really thats the meat and potatoes of it.
I assumed that with the introduction of Rallytrackers (GPS recorders) for all pro vehicles in Baja races--that Honda wouldnt cheat anymore--and that in time things would smooth themselves out. I guess i was wrong.
And now at the SF 250 they have been DQ'ed. Its the culture of the Honda race effort that has to change. Its not one racer or another. Johnny Cambell is my neighbor. I see his wife and his kids playing out on the street all the time--run into them at the local Lowes, local taqueria, etc.--they seem like very nice people. But with so much importance placed on Honda winning--the incredible pressure from all that marketing--the need to cheat is obvious.
Thats what has kept the cheating culture going--even after all credible competitors pulled out of baja years ago. That culture at Honda Off Road has to change.
SCORE racing is evolving--fast. Its getting all kinds of publicity and setting attendence records each race -- over 30 trophy trucks are taking it to the next level---and along with that increased media attention a cleaner and more honest race is quickly replacing the old school "ya aint cheatin' less ya get caught' mentality.
Take away from all this?
I am a nobody who spoke the truth one stormy night on the internet. Honda employees Chuck Miller and Bruce Ogilvie followed it up with a personal vendetta against me. Now several former Honda support riders, team riders, and a few industry brown nosers - hell, even a magazine editor - have me in their sites. Really there isnt much they can do--but the whole thing has really soured my feelings about the Honda company. Throw in the end of the XR line---well - Adios Honda....Hello Husqvarna!
Honda needs to clean up their off road act-big time.