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Erik Buell Racing Teams with Hero MotoCorp

Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Geoff May on the EBR 1190RS - New Jersey 2011
Hero MotoCorp will support the Erik Buell Racing effort in 2012, sponsoring both Danny Eslick and Geoff May (above).
American sportbike designer Erik Buell has struck up a surprising new partnership. Buell’s latest venture, Erik Buell Racing (EBR), has entered into a strategic partnership with Hero MotoCorp - the largest motorcycle manufacturer in India. Hero will sponsor EBR’s American SuperBike racing effort, while Buell will lend his design skills to Hero for new model development.

Hero’s backing ensures funding for EBR’s 2012 AMA Pro Racing racing program, with the opening round next month at Daytona International Speedway. Hero will sponsor both EBR 1190RS American SuperBike entries, with newly signed Danny Eslick campaigning aboard a Team Hero branded bike, while returning EBR pilot Geoff May will ride an AMSOIL Hero branded mount.

Hero MotoCorp was formerly known as Hero Honda, a joint venture company with the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer. In December 2010 Honda announced it would divest its 26% interest in the JV and focus instead on its wholly owned Indian subsidiary Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India (HMSI). The partnership with Erik Buell helps fulfill Hero’s need for R&D assistance, as dissolution of the JV removed technical input from Big Red (though terms of the split allow Hero to sell some Honda developed product under license).

“The Indian two-wheeler industry is set to evolve and it is only natural that as the market leader, we are driving this change,” said Hero CEO Pawan Munjal in a company statement. “As a part of this plan, Erik is going to play an integral role in giving shape to some of my dream two-wheelers for the discerning youth of today. So my R&D team and Erik’s team together have made some definitive progress in this direction, and we will hopefully be putting a few scorchers on the roads soon.”

Said Buell in the announcement: ““EBR is delighted to partner with a company as iconic as Hero MotoCorp. Both HMCL and EBR share the common commitment to manufacturing world-class two-wheelers with technology of the future. I have personally been deeply impressed with and inspired by Pawan’s vision. He has given us a challenging brief, and our highly-motivated team is working towards giving shape to that dream. We look forward to designing technology solutions which are in line with contemporary global standards and also futuristic in their appeal and utility.”

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Elsinore74   February 23, 2012 10:45 AM
Unlike the dysfunctional relationship between Buell and H-D, both parties in this venture stand to benefit. Hero gets innovative design input from EBR, sure to distance it from the shadow of Big Red (while still manufacturing bread-and-butter domestic market products under license). I doubt Hero plans to sell many $45k EBRs there (although H-D has a growing market in India; someone's making enough money to buy their bikes). EBR gets access to Hero's resources and suppliers. Sourcing brakes, wheels, instruments and various other components at a low price will go a long way toward producing an affordable EBR bike for the majority of us. High-quality components can be made just about anywhere in the world today, and no major manufacturer builds everything in-house. EBR already has an American factory. I've been there, and have the impression it's not moving off-shore any time soon. Here's hoping they'll grow bigger than they were before H-D pulled the plug in 2009!
MotoFreak   February 23, 2012 09:02 AM
Geoff May is a C- rider at best. He will not do anything with that bike. Eslick is the only hope. As far as a Buell bike made in India. It won't sell in America, period. Sorry to be pesimestic, but Buell needs an American factory to bring back his core riders.
zenjim   February 23, 2012 07:18 AM
I've read several iterations of this story. I understand the sponsorship. And Hero is also talking about importing EBR bikes to India. $45k bikes for sale in a country with a mean annual household income of 34,551 rupees ($735). OK...
An Indian motorcycle manufacturing company sponsoring American racing? I had more people at my last fight night party than showed up at the last AMA race in Fontana, CA. Might there be something else going on? Could we be looking at a potential sugar daddy to get EBR bikes manufactured on a larger scale for sale at competative prices in the US/ Europe, etc.?
Sumanster   February 22, 2012 03:18 PM
As a Buell-riding Indian-American, I am both surprised and delighted by this news! Glad to see Hero influencing motorsports on a global level and providing EBR with an international sponsor, and eager to see the new Hero models with EBR's innovations.

Best wishes to Erik and Pawan and their teams!
Superbikemike   February 22, 2012 01:16 PM
surprised it took this long for someone to aquire erik's talents after the harley debacle... too bad a $40k bike is out of the question