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Posts Tagged ‘Steve Dorn’

A long time ago… back in 2010, Victoria Doyle, who along with her husband Mike owned Doyle’s Harley-Davidson in Eugene, Oregon (aka Duck Country).  They had recently closed their store in Roseburg because of the economy and were in a meeting at the Oregon Election Station talking about the impact to their Harley-Davidson business if Measures 66 and 67 passed.

You remember those “tax fairness” measures, right?

It was a special election where the public employee unions spent millions on “yes” campaigns to raise taxes on what they deemed were the wealthy.  Unlike previous failed tax measures, 66 and 67 was positioned to pit the financially challenge against the wealthy.  The wealthy should pay even more tax because there was a need to fix the broken tax system and funding structure in the state – it was portrayed as a “fairness issue” which resonated with many who were un/under-employed at the time because it would not affect them.

In the meeting hall, Victoria Doyle boldly stated “we’ll either lay people off or raise prices.”  At the same time, H-D corporate was pressuring Doyle’s to upgrade the building of which they didn’t own to come more in line with their other dealer “mega stores.” All this pressure had to create anxiety for the owners on whether the business could remain profitable given the weak sales environment.

Steve Dorn (L) and George Latus

Jump ahead a couple years and the dealership was sold last month to George Latus of Latus Motors.

On my recent trip to the Street Vibrations  we rode past the dealer and noticed the temporary Latus signs on the building.  As we rolled by on I-5 I was reminiscing about my Road Glide purchase from Mark Doyle last August.  He and his wife Janie were absolutely a joy to work with and Melody McCauley made signing the paperwork quick and easy.  This would have been Doyle’s 18th year anniversary celebration and I’m sure it was a difficult decision to sell the business.

There was a part of me that was sad for the Doyle’s, but I’m sure the new owner will do right in Eugene.

Back in the 80’s Mr. Latus was a motorcycle mechanic and Harley-Davidson had suffered a very bad decade.  It was an era when you could waltz in from Montana and open a dealership in Spokane and then later in Portland/Gladstone with relative ease.  Mr. Latus is  heavily involved in various racing activities from sponsorship of racers on the AMA Flat Track series and is the primary sponsor of Steve Dorn, Top Fuel racer for the All Harley Drag Racing series.  He is passionate about motorcycles and has established a good reputation with customers in all his dealerships.

I wish the Doyle’s the best of luck and much success in whatever they decide to pursue.

Photo courtesy Shetech/Flickr, and Latus Motors.

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Steve Dorn Burn-Out at N/W Nitro Nationals

I attended the AHDRA (All Harley Drag Racing Association) drag race about a week ago in Woodburn, Oregon.

Before we go any further, allow me to interject a disclaimer:  I’m not a big racing fan.  In fact, I attended NASCAR (Daytona 500) a few years ago – the so-called ‘superbowl’ of racing — on a work gig and for me watching guys make left-handed turns hour after hour ad nauseam was boring.  Fortunately watching the fans worship drivers with brightly colored advertising attire while discussing race strategy in that southern accent made the event.  Watching the tire changes in the pit were entertaining for awhile, but they can’t hold a person’s interest forever.

The Steve Dorn and Latus Nitro H-D

At any rate I walked through the AHDRA pits in Woodburn and got my fill of all the Nitro Methane action I could possibly handle. The rev/roar of engines created a race atmosphere and there was indeed some great racing competition on the track from the various fields.  As a “newbie” to the AHDRA, I had no clue who was on the 2011 qualifying and elimination sheets or did I understand the difference between Top Fuel, Pro Fuel and the Screaming Eagle backed classes other than the obvious noise level in the motor differences.  My observation was that after the too few Nitro Methane class motorcycles finished their runs everything else seemed in slow motion.  Yeah, the non-nitro motorcycles were fast, but there is a huge perceptual difference from 150MPH vs. 220MPH.

I love the smell of nitro in the morning...

When standing around the staging area/pits I did overhear some rumblings about how the entire AHDRA series is awaiting its demise.  Being a nu-bee at this motorcycle drag race gig I wouldn’t know about attendance figures.  I typically sit behind a desk and tap on a keyboard.  Clearly the economy has impacted most everyone so why wouldn’t race organizations be struggling (NHRA, NASCAR, ADRL, AHDRA) or see a drop in attendance and racers too?

I did leave feeling of bit hungry due to the fact there was no action in the new Draggin Bagger class.  A class that the H-D Motor Company backed and promoted heavily in December of last year for the 2011 racing season.  There was an amateur contestant who took his fully loaded cruiser, tour pak with dual antenna’s out there to run the strip.  I’ll give the dude a shout out for doing a burn out on that thousand pound behemoth.

On departure there seemed to be a number of people who had a secret fantasy of being an AHDRA driver.  The Steve Dorn wannabe’s came out as I was driving the bike 75MPH in a 65MPH zone, trying to shake the guys who were riding in my draft.  It seemed like the normal speed limit no longer existed and riders were looking for a side-bank to pass on the shoulder.  This went on for about 15 miles then the Wilsonville I-5 construction had brake lights flashing as an old lady (yes, older than me) shot a dirty look in the rearview mirror while she jockeyed for a pole position in a lane that was moving ever so faster.

Vroom, go granny, go.

The Northwest Nitro National race results are HERE.

Photos taken by author.

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