MIC announces new racing series

USSB to run against AMA Superbike

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Sep. 11, 2008
The Motorcycle Industry Council will introduce a new professional American road racing series in 2008.

The MIC, a not-for profit national trade association representing the top manufacturers and more than 300 members, has confirmed earlier speculation and formally established a new subsidiary named USSB Inc., which will operate its new national championship.

The USSB announcement comes at a turbulent time for AMA Pro Racing. Since the AMA’s professional racing properties were transferred to Daytona Motorsports Group, AMA Pro Racing has come under fire by manufacturers, fans and riders over proposed changes planned for next season. Making things worse for AMA Pro Racing is the recent disqualification of one of its harshest critics, Mat Mladin, from a pair of races which eliminated his chances of winning the 2008 AMA Superbike title.

“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,” says Tim Buche, MIC president. “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.”

American road racing fans may see riders such as Mat Mladin competing in the MIC's U.S. Superbike series in 2009.For 2009, the USSB Series will include several classes, headlined by the U.S. Super Bike class. The U.S. Super Bike class will feature factory-backed teams racing four-cylinder literbikes and larger-displacement Twins. Also announced was a 600cc support class that will be similar to the World Supersport Championship.

The USSB is still working on finalizing its rules for 2009, but the MIC says they will be similar to the AMA’s 2008 rules. In subsequent seasons, the MIC says it intends to develop rules to remain compatible with World Superbike rules and those of other national racing series.

According to Buche, the USSB was established with consideration of the various needs of industry members, manufacturers, track owners, sponsors, riders and fans. One key factor was the role that road racing plays in advancing the development of production motorcycles. Many of AMA Pro Racing’s proposed changes included spec tires and fuel as well as limits to power-to-weight ratios, which critics say will hamper research and development.

“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,” says 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.”

Since the MIC first announced the possibility of starting its own racing series in June, critics have voiced concern that the new series would create a two-wheeled version of the Champ Car World Series and Indy Racing League rift that severely damaged the popularity of open-wheel racing in the United States.

The MIC addressed those concerns saying the two situations are not as similar as people would think. According to the MIC, the main difference is that auto racing team owners were mainly concerned about making a profit while the main goal of motorcycle racing teams is to market their brands.

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