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Members of the motorsports industry are wondering why the government has adopted a rule virtually eliminating a key constituency – and possibly thousands of jobs – while at the same time developing a nearly trillion-dollar stimulus that supporters say is intended to create and protect employment.

At issue is a new federal regulation of lead that took effect just this month. The policy has virtually shut down the part of the motorsports industry that serves children under 12 who want to ride all-terrain vehicles and motorbikes, because some components of the machines – such as tire valve stems – contain lead.

“You’ve got a lot of kids involved in this,” Don Amador, western representative for the the Blue Ribbon Commission, told WND today. “But ATVs, dirt bikes have batteries  in them, components that use lead inside the valve stems on tires, lead in the electronic wiring, lead on battery terminals.” …  More info

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Motor scooter and all-terrain vehicle distributor Wildfire Motors may add up to 100 workers here over the next few months.

The company, which has about 50 employees, recently invested more than $1.5 million to expand into a new 55,000-square-foot facility. The project involved combining several facilities …  More info

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In April when snow begins to melt, Kern River Outfitters’ general manager Keith “Luther” Stephens will be on the Kern River surrounded by two dozen guide-hopefuls. The young men and women will be participating in the 2009 Kern River Outfitters Whitewater School – an annual six-day course designed to teach the basics of being a whitewater rafting guide and a sort of “on-the-water interview,” as Stephens put it.

“Each summer we hire about five or six new guides for our Kern River rafting trips,” said Stephens. Kern River Outfitters is anticipating more applicants for their guide school, which is slated from April 18 through April 23, and to hire more guide school participants than ever before.

“Most of the participants we have had are college students who want to work in a fun, exciting, and outdoorsy environment…  More info

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For the action sports industry in 2009, it’s all about keeping your head above water.

Already struggling with a glut of inventory, the $14.4 billion industry is forecasting sales to fall as much as 25 percent this year. Some surfboard makers say their business is down 30 percent to 40 percent as consumers put off larger purchases.

With numbers like that, industry insiders say some brands will disappear and the economic undertow will pull down a number of mom-and-pop shops, considered the backbone of the business because of their connection to the core action sports customer….  More info


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