The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) plans to launch a new professional road racing series in the United States next year, with rules designed to encourage technological development in motorcycle engineering.
Because of strong fan, manufacturer and rider support for the class, MIC has already established USSB Inc., the business entity for the series, and is working on a national championship that will span major racing facilities all over the country and include factory superbike teams.
Rules for the USSB are expected to be similar to existing race rules. The premier class, USSB Super Bike, will invite teams running factory-backed 1000cc fours and larger-displacement twins. The inaugural USSB series is also expected to include U.S. Sport Bike, a 600cc category similar to the World Supersport Championship.
"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. "With the other series set to abandon superbikes as we've come to know them, USSB will fill that void."
The MIC developed the concept with the needs of the industry — manufacturers, track owners, sponsors, fans and riders — in mind, Buche said. Manufacturers in particular need to use road racing to advance their R&D efforts to bring better bikes to market.
"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 USSB managing director Ty van Hooydonk. "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 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."
USSB Inc., a not-for-proift subsidiary of MIC, will be the owner-operator of the series. As the sole shareholder, the MIC board will appoint the USSB's board of directors to function independently and guide development of the series.
USSB Inc. will establish an "affiliated but independent" sanctioning body called USSB Sanctioning, Inc. It will hire 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 to present the series.
Stakeholders will include manufacturers, riders, sanctioning and promoters. USSB will help create a riders association that will operate independently to represent all the on-track competitors in the series. Participating manufacturers will form their own committee through the MIC and represent OEMs. Sanctioning will oversee technical inspection, rules and regulations and will manage race organization and administration. Promoters will include individual promoters and a racetrack association working with USSB Inc.
USSB Inc. will create a communications campaign to raise the series' profile and generate interest in road racing, extending to all types of media. The campaign will draw on the skills used in Discover Today's Motorcycling, which has secured key placements in national print and broadcast media.