MIC Ponders New Proposal for AMA Superbike Racing Series
The Motorcycle Industry Council is in the process of evaluating whether to issue a request for a proposal seeking a series promoter and sanctioning body for the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) Superbike Championship series.
“Our members are better served by having alternatives to the changes for the AMA Superbike Championship that the Daytona Motorsports Group (DMG) has so far described,” MIC President Tim Buche said in a press release.
The AMA’s board of directors unanimously approved the final agreement regarding the sale of certain of its AMA Pro Racing properties to the DMG. Under the terms of the sale, DMG will own the sanctioning, promotional and management rights to AMA Pro Racing. The sale does not include the rights to the AMA Supercross and AMA Arenacross Series, which are held by Live Nation and will continue to be sanctioned by the AMA.
“We fully appreciate the expertise, hard work and connections the DMG may bring to motorcycling,” Buche said, “however the independent interests of the manufacturers call for a racing series that helps promote specific motorcycle brands. Historically, motorcycle makers have boosted bike sales based on their success in racing.”
Under the new proposal, the MIC intends to consider input from key industry stakeholders, including racetrack owners, riders, interested sponsors and enthusiast and trade media.
Buche says the MIC wants a racing series that best promotes rider safety, competition, innovation, racetrack attendance, television viewership and ridership. The organization also wants a championship that ultimately benefits the consumer — an exciting, popular series that develops new technology that finds its way to production motorcycles. He believes the series should be clearly recognized as the top level of U.S. road racing, drawing both world-class riders and upcoming stars.
“It makes little sense for bike manufacturers to heavily invest in any competition that highlights sponsors and teams and downplays the machines themselves, as well as their technological development,” Buche said. “So we are obliged to investigate alternatives that could do a better job of meeting our members’ respective marketing needs. This is especially true given that it’s mid-summer and there is still uncertainty over the DMG’s 2009 rules.”
Suzuki Consolidates its Business Units
American Suzuki Motor Corp. announced that it will consolidate its independent business units — automotive, motorcycle/ATV and marine, along with corporate operations — under a new president.
Suzuki said all of the changes are focused on internal restructuring and do not affect the separate dealer bodies that support each of the company’s product divisions.
New President Kinji Saito, who most recently served as deputy executive general manager of global marketing at Suzuki Motor Corp. in Japan, will oversee all of the operations, sales and marketing activities of American Suzuki.
Rick Suzuki, who has served as chairman of American Suzuki, will become its board advisor. Masaaki Kato, president of the motorcycle, ATV and marine operations, will now become executive vice presidents of the consolidated company and will continue to oversee their respective operations.
“American Suzuki believes it is very important to make changes and respond to the evolving needs of American consumers,” Saito said in a press release. “It is ideal for all of our divisions to work more closely together, plan together and communicate together as a single company, rather than as separate business units.”
Husqvarna Names New President
Mark Brady, a veteran of the motorcycle industry, has been named president of Husqvarna Motorcycles North America.
In his new role, Brady is charged with re-establishing the Husqvarna brand as a leader in the North American off-road market. The region is key for Husqvarna and is the only market with its own national sales organization.
Prior to joining Husqvarna, Brady served 15 years with Triumph Motorcycles where he was most recently the CEO of Triumph Motorcycles America.
Husqvarna Motorcycles North America is a subsidiary of BMW (U.S.) Holding Corp. Husqvarna Motorcycles announced a return to off-road racing competition earlier this year, after reaching an agreement with Scott Summers Inc. to provide a two-man race team. psb