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March 13, 2006 – ORBA will discuss sound practices for exhausts

March 13, 2006
Filed under Features

The Off-Road Business Association (ORBA) invites aftermarket suppliers to the “Turn Down the Volume Summit No. 2”, scheduled for March 15 at Pole Position Raceway, Corona, Calif.
The event, an attempt to understand and diminish the role of loud exhausts in the loss of OHV opportunity, will feature two keynote speakers and three roundtable discussions.
Steve Whitlock, MX/SX Series manager for the American Motorcyclist Association, plans to discuss current and future amateur and professional racing sound rule enforcement and procedures.
Ralph Gonzalez, U.S. Forest Service Fire Program leader for the San Dimas Technology and Development Center, will discuss spark arrestor certification, a proposed sound rule for national forests, and the possibility of the U.S. Forest Service sound certifying exhaust systems.
Roundtable topics include discussions regarding an independent sound level certification program for aftermarket manufacturers, including placing a product’s proven sound levels in all promotional materials, and the voluntary phasing out of certain products.
ORBA is a trade association composed of off-road related businesses united to promote common goals that support the prosperity and growth of the off-road industry.
“The industry needs to accelerate the development of quieter high performance exhaust systems like some are already making and focus more marketing efforts on those products,” said Bill Dart, ORBA’s director of land use. “On the enforcement side, more efforts are needed to enforce rules for competitive events as well as existing sound regulations and ordinances for recreational riding.
“We all need to work together and address excessive sound in a pro-active manner and take charge of our future. Excessive sound is a universal problem all across the nation, and it is the one issue that is turning the general public against all of us. We must deal with the problem ourselves or others will do it for us in ways none of us will like.”
ORBA organized the Turn Down the Volume summit series in an attempt to stem the avalanche of closures and restrictions on OHV the organization says is sweeping the nation, affecting private and public land, including both recreational riding and competition events. Dart said he believes the problem can be reduced significantly through education, engineering and enforcement.
“Right now, if an aftermarket exhaust manufacturer has product stamped ‘U.S. Forest Service-approved,’ it may only indicate that the exhaust system carries an approved spark arrestor and not that the unit is sound-legal,” Dart told Powersports Business. “There have been cases where riders have been stopped and tested too loud for the area they’re riding in. But it’s a surprise to the rider because, judging by the stamp on the exhaust unit, he or she thought it was an approved product.
“One of the things we have to figure out is how we — the industry and the government — can come together to form a universal testing and certification procedure.”
The first “Turn Down the Volume” summit was held in December. The event included speakers from California State Parks OHMVR Division, the Motorcycle Industry Council, the American Motorcyclist Association, the BlueRibbon Coalition and the National Off-Highway Vehicle Conservation Council.
ORBA member Malcolm Smith opened the meeting with his experiences and views on excessive sound, including his recommendation that all motorcycles and ATVs should have a 93 dba maximum limit at the pipe. Jeremy McGrath, another member of ORBA, later spoke about the possibility that he may not be able to ride on his private property in Riverside County because of excessive sound. psb

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