Erik Buell Racing To Field Geoff May And Aaron Yates In World Superbikes In 2014

Erik Buell Racing have officially confirmed they will be competing in the World Superbike championship in 2014. Today, EBR announced that they will be fielding Geoff May and Aaron Yates in the WSBK class, racing Erik Buell's EBR1190RX, an 1190cc 72° V twin, which has its roots in the Rotax-built machine produced when Buell was still part of Harley Davidson. Both May and Yates are long-term veterans of the AMA Superbike series, May having already raced for EBR in the AMA in 2013.

The EBR team will be backed by Hero, the Indian motorcycle manufacturer which is a minority shareholder in the EBR manufacturer. As a small manufacturer, EBR will need all the help they can get from Hero, as the homologation quantities required to be accepted for World Superbikes are sizable. EBR must have already produced 125 units before offering the EBR1190RX for homologation for the WSBK series. They must have produced a total of 500 bikes by 30th of June 2014, and 1000 in total by the end of 2014. They then have to produce another 1000 by the end of 2015, averaging three bikes a day, a real challenge for a small manufacturer. They also have to sell these units, and though the EBR1190RX has been favorably received by the press so far, there is no official word on sales figures at the moment. For more details on the homologation process and how it affects EBR, see this story on Asphalt & Rubber.

The addition of EBR brings the total number of manufacturers involved in WSBK up to eight. It also adds another country to the manufacturer list, with the USA joining Japan, Italy and Germany. The involvement of Hero is even more important, and a sign of the growing interest and importance of Asian markets for motorcycle racing. With Mahindra in Moto3, and Hero represented in World Superbikes (albeit by proxy via EBR), India is beginning to stretch its racing limbs.

Below is the official press release:

Team Hero EBR to contest the 2014 eni FIM Superbike World Championship

Barcelona (Spain), Thursday 12 December 2013 - Dorna WSBK are pleased to announce that Team Hero EBR will make the switch from the AMA Superbike series to the Superbike World Championship in 2014. This will be a two rider team running the new 2014 EBR 1190RX, represented by riders Geoff May and Aaron Yates.

Both May and Yates make the move to the WSBK series after a number of successful seasons in the AMA Superbike series. May, who is an accomplished AMA rider, has ridden the EBR machine in the states for the past two seasons claiming a podium finish at the Sonoma Raceway circuit in 2012 on his way to 5th position overall in the rider classification. Yates, who has over 20 years racing experience, joined the squad for their 2013 AMA campaign finishing a respectable 8th overall in the final standings, one point ahead of May.

The team will be run by Claudio Quintarelli, Team Owner, and Giulio Bardi, Team Manager, both proud to field the first American motorcycle to contest the World Championship with two American riders.

Team Hero EBR is bringing back Erik Buell’s passion onto the world stage: the founder of the Buell Motorcycle Company is a pioneer of modern race motorcycle technology.

Former racer Buell has himself competed against some of the greats in the past, and is excited and optimistic about this challenge ahead:

“More than three decades of racing, engineering, and manufacturing experience goes into every EBR motorcycle” said Erik Buell, Founder, EBR Motorcycles. The EBR 1190RX has some very unique engineering technology, and how to optimize this for each race series is something that takes time to learn. With the winter testing ban, we will have to wait and see where we are in terms of current pace and performance. Nobody is expecting podiums, but we will be hard at work, learning and improving. We are confident EBR will bring a fun and exciting story to the series, and know the results will come.

Mr. Pawan Munjal, Managing Director & CEO, Hero MotoCorp Ltd: “We are delighted to be partnering with EBR at the Superbike World Championship this year. Hero is the first Indian two-wheeler brand to be associated with this event and this is also the debut year for Team Hero EBR at the series. This is in perfect sync with brand Hero’s fast-paced global expansion into new international markets. I am sure it is going to be a lot of fun and we do look forward to some exciting times at the championships this year.”

Javier Alonso, WSBK Executive Director: "It is a great pleasure for WSBK to welcome an attractive and unique brand like EBR to the series. The American Manufacturer is the eighth different brand to compete in this new and challenging edition of the Championship, and we are equally confident that their involvement will add to the show. Moreover, it is really good to have two American riders on the starting grid again representing a strong nationality in the history of the series.

The Team will launch a new website shortly.

About Hero MotoCorp

Headquartered in New Delhi, India, Hero MotoCorp is the world’s largest manufacturer of two-wheelers in terms of volume units sold in a calendar year by a single company. Even in the midst of a highly-competitive market in India, Hero MotoCorp has retained clear leadership in the domestic motorcycle market with well over 50% share, selling a total of over six million two-wheelers in the financial year 2012-13. On July 1st this year, Hero announced acquiring a 49.2% stake of Erik Buell Racing.

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I'm sorry but no way Erik Buell can or will be competitive in WSBK with 1 over the hill rider, Aaron Yates and one reject from Suzuki and others Geoff May, and an over engineered dog of a motorcycle!

We have a 20 year history of Buells and his penchant for anything other than the KISS principle! I sat in a garage in the Poconos with the guy in the early 80's when he was trying to get a oddball square four 2 stroke running for an AMA F1 race. He never did get it to run but lucky for him the race was rained out.

Erik's a nice guy but an engineering genius, not so much!

You have to start somewhere. Are they going to win the championship?... not a chance. Are Yates and May of the caliber to win against the WSBK guys?... Don't think so.

But, you have to walk before you can run. With the big bucks and resources of Hero behind them, I think we might be surprised what they can develop over the next few years. And Eric is not the only engineer walking the halls at Buell racing, from what I've heard he is attracting some really strong talent to help develop the bikes.

And most good (not genius, but good) engineers will use those talents to compliment theirs. I think Eric is one of those guys.

And lastly, they're not going to win at first, but it's great to see a smaller guy go against the big companies on the world stage. That's exciting in of itself. As long as we keep our expectations reasonable at first.

I believe if anybody deserves it, Eric Buell does. Never been a huge fan of the bikes, but I have immense respect for Eric and what he has doggedly tried to accomplish.

I see alot of bikes now of late with exhaust systems that reside under the bike.
Buell has made an impact on all of motorcycling with that one simple but logical idea based on the concept of centralizing mass. He is an out of the box thinker and a viosionary and aparently has learned alot since the early 1980"s. I personally think we need more people like him in motorcycling.

Yates and Geoff May are good experienced AMA riders.

Buell has never accomplished anything of significance in racing or manufacturing. Buells biggest claim to fame is burning through investors, good-will, and lapdog press coverage.

Sorry to be so harsh on Buell and its employees, but i've been embarrassed by this company for years.
American racing fans, myself included, desperately need a US motorcycle company to raise the flag of American motorcycle engineering. After decades of embarrassment, we can all figure out that Buell is that that company.

>>Buell has never accomplished anything of significance in racing or manufacturing.

Merely competing with a clean sheet design is a significant achievment. And creating a company that produced over 100k motorcycles is definitely an achievement of significance. They are not my cup of tea but he has had more success than the vast majority of people who thought they could design and produce their own bike. Perfect, no, but what bike is? Besides mine?

A builder hoping for 1% of Buell's production numbers

Buell HQ is about 1hr drive from my place, we went there after HD dropped them and everything in the facility was for sale. From work benches to air tools. Was it spotless and tidy like HRC facilities may look, NO. Its your typical midwestern factory that gets stuff done and to the point. Buell was also building a whole line of bikes at that time. Now they have 1 bike to build. Getting them built wont be an issue, getting them sold will be. Walk into a HD dealer in Wisonsin that was selling Buells, the salesmen didnt know a damn thing about them. "But hey the new FTLCHD Cross Wide Glide now comes with a new state of the art braking system called ABS"!!

First we go racing, and then we'll see. That would be my reasoning behind this.

Rules can always be changed, especially if you do not crush the competition. Just look at Suzuki engine allocation in MotoGP......

The real problem for Buell is that sportbike sales are down overall still and he's launching a $40,000 oddball bike into a worldwide recession. 2,000 units? May the force be with him.

KTM races in the AMA and could be argued that they didn't do anything. However if KTM had a factory team in WSB no one would bat an eye. Buell deserves at least a chance to prove itself. All the Japanese and even Patronas struggled at some point.

1. For me and I imagine most of us on this site, the idea of going motorcycle racing for our daily jobs and way of life is on an unfathomable plane. Awesome and incredible in every way. Erik Buell loves motorcycles and racing and he's taking his life and experiences into his own hands with what he has to work with. Good for him. Most of us work in a cubicle and listen to some mid-manager asshat and do what we're told. I don't. I started a cool automotive/motorsport biz with my friend. We're successful, but success is always a struggle. There is so much more I'd like to do, but baby steps. Baby steps for EBR too. Congratulate the guy for having a real set, courage and determination. He's not showing up to the grid with the final product. He's showing up with version 1.0.

2. What if there were no EBRs in the world? What if there were no small guys trying to shake up the big guys? What if there were no Michael Czyzs (or however you spell it. Someone buy him a vowel!) or no Chip Yates, or no Erik Buells? We'd all be riding around on old, photocopied bikes made by two brands in Japan.

As motorcycle racing fans, we should support any newcomers that come to the grid. it's for the betterment of our entire sport.

Give it a red hot go EBR, if nothing else it makes it more interesting. And given that EB generally - for reasons of practicality or perhaps just blind patriotism - had to try and build sport bikes around POS Harley engines, I reckon he did a pretty god job. Rarely pretty, but always interesting.

Well said. I am glad to see this given a go. The engine was always the weak link. That said, there is some really neat stuff about these bikes. With engine rule changes heading towards Superstock is there room for surprises? Hungrily awaiting our showroom avail superbikes, first up being the Honda V4? What will Aprillia do as they appear to be the primary one getting the short end of the stick. Kawasaki folks must be pleased as all get out. Might the Panigale scoot a bit towards the pointy end? Can someone like Buell do it with the new rules? The BMW could have an incentive to stick around as they have much of thebrelative advantage that the Kawi does. And hey, what about Yamaha getting back in there now that it is going to be MUCH less financially prohibitive?
This Buell entry could be seen as a positive indicator of things to come.

Buell racing those things it's not really all that odd...but perhaps he should have put one of them new hotshots on the saddle, Aron Yates it's a good rider but too much old school style, dunno he's going to take too much risks at this point. Those new SBK rules leaning more to superstock do make sense to me, I know not everyone agrees, but from my standpoint as an amateur racer that buys my own stuff, it is more interesting for me to watch superbikes that I could "have", albeit in my wildest dreams :P

but buell needs a good rider. i wish buell all the best and i hope they wil be th fastest twin on track!

A&R say "World Superbike provisions do not factor in actual sales", Krop says " They also have to sell these units". I'm confused ...

From the FIM rulebook. It appears to deal with production, not sales.


The minimum required production quantities consist of units with identical equipment intended for sale to customers.
Evidence of production quantities must be provided to the FIM, certified by the manufacturer’s auditing firm and/or any other institution which may provide reliable documentation. This certificate must be written in English or French and
the model/type must be specified.

Market availability and sale to the public may be demonstrated by waybills, bills of lading and/or any other import, export or customs documents duly certified by the relevant authority.

... Also, I don't believe that the new Superstock-type regs have anything to do with Buell's entry. I think it's all about Hero wanting a cheap entry onto the World Superbike stage. Eric doesn't need much to support his race team - it's not like trying to lease a factory BMW or Aprilia - and it's unique enough to attract some attention. Eric and Hero have worked together, trust each other, and Eric has run a race team for a very long time. And Hero doesn't have to humiliate itself by trying to build a bike.

Will they be competitive? Not a chance. But it'll be fun to watch!