Just got a question from Matt about what is going on with racing in the U.S. The Motorcycle Industry Council has issued a press release about their new USSB Championship Series. This will be a superbike and sportbike series run separate from the AMA/DMG series. As of right now, Yamaha is staying put, Honda, Suzuki and Kawasaki may be going to the MIC, … or not, does anyone know for sure? Sounds like a mess.
Everyone involved in racing seems to have a strong opinion but, as usual, the argument comes down to different ideas about the rules. Fragmenting fans between the 2 competing events doesn’t sound like a good plan but that’s what will happen. The details of all of this will probably change a lot in the coming weeks and months so race fans and teams will be watching closely. If you’re really into racing, RoadracingWorld and CycleNews have updates about the move but here on The Kneeslider, we focus more on the machines so what this means for development in that area is the interesting part.
The Indy cars went this way for a while and finally got back together, now it’s motorcycle racing’s turn. Rules, who needs ’em?
From the press release:
The Motorcycle Industry Council, the national trade association representing top motorcycle manufacturers and 300-plus other members, will launch a new professional road racing series next year in the United States.
The MIC has formally established USSB, Inc., and already is at work creating a national championship for 2009 that will take place at major racing facilities, feature factory superbike teams and rules similar to those now in place – rules encouraging technological development that advances motorcycle engineering.
The USSB Championship is being designed to carry on America’s tradition, spanning more than two decades, of world-class superbike racing that showcases the nation’s best riders on the best motorcycles in the country. The premier class, U.S. Super Bike, will invite teams running the highly developed, factory-backed, fan-favorite racing motorcycles (1,000cc fours and larger-displacement twins) that have long been the basis for superbike racing. The inaugural USSB series will include U.S. Sport Bike, a 600cc category similar to the World Supersport Championship and others.
“We initiated USSB because next year it will offer the only racing series in America for unrestrained factory superbikes and their teams, as well as those who aspire to join their ranks and compete with them,” said MIC President Tim Buche. “We recognize the strong support for this level of racing, among enthusiasts, among manufacturers and among riders. With the other series set to abandon superbikes as we’ve come to know them, USSB will fill that void.”
Buche said the MIC engaged in a development process for USSB that takes into consideration the various needs of industry members, manufacturers, track owners, sponsors, racing fans and riders, as well as the desire to grow the sport of road racing. In particular, there is a need to allow manufacturers to use road racing to advance research and development and improve future production motorcycles available to consumers. Buche said that the MIC possesses the resources, the capabilities, the access to talent, and the ability to contract with various groups and firms, to meet all of those needs and wishes.
“This is America, a big country with a big motorcycle market that deserves a world-class championship with full-on factory bikes raced by star riders,” said Ty van Hooydonk, USSB managing director. “The USSB Championship is our answer. We want to steer away from engine restrictors, away from mandated power-to-weight ratios, spec tires and spec ECUs. We want to set the stage for racing teams to compete, on the track, in the R&D shops, in the way they develop their bikes and help develop production bikes, in how they develop their engineering staffs and crews, and their riders, too. Let them do what they do best and go racing.”
The not-for-profit MIC has established USSB, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary, to be the owner-operator of the series. As the sole shareholder for the subsidiary, the MIC board will appoint the USSB Board of Directors that will then function independently and guide the series.
To maintain the integrity of the competition, USSB, Inc. also will establish an affiliated, but independent sanctioning body, USSB Sanctioning, Inc., which will employ the series commissioner, a racing CEO who will have ultimate responsibility for all competition-related aspects of the series. USSB, Inc. will serve as the series promoter responsible for developing series sponsors, managing series communications and partnering with stakeholders and others to present the series.
Four stakeholder groups will each have a voice and participate in series governance: riders, manufacturers, sanctioning and promoters.
USSB will help establish a riders association that will then operate independently as it represents all of the on-track competitors in the series. Participating manufacturers will form their own committee through the MIC and represent factories. Sanctioning will oversee tech inspection, rules and regulations and will manage race organization and administration. Promoters will include individual promoters and a racetrack association in collaboration with USSB, Inc.
Marketing and Communication
“We’re going to have a compelling story to share,” van Hooydonk said. “The USSB Championship will feature the nation’s top level of motorcycle racing, with phenomenal riders capable of competing in any league, and high-tech superbikes that are among the fastest on Earth. We have a great deal of experience with marketing the story of motorcycling, and we will apply all of it to road racing.” USSB news and updates will be available 24/7 at USSBCHAMPIONSHIP.COM. The site will be live Friday September 12, 2008.
USSB, Inc. will establish a communications campaign to improve visibility and interest in road racing, include all types of media, and bring in new fans while maintaining its enthusiast base. For 20 years, the MIC has generated major mainstream media coverage through Discover Today’s Motorcycling. DTM promotes responsible riding by generating positive print, broadcast and online coverage, and through a responsive news bureau that annually fields thousands of inquiries from journalists nationwide.