India’s largest 2 wheeler manufacturer, Hero Motorcorp announced this week that they will officially field a WSBK team in association with their technology partner EBR (Erik Buell Racing). Hero & EBR together will enter the race only version of the recently launched 1190 RX superbike. This surprise but welcome move will now ensure that an Indian manufacturer will have bragging rights of having slugged it out with the big boys of the highly competitive WSBK racing series. Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Suzuki, Ducati, BMW and the likes will take on an American thoroughbred wearing Indian colours.
Philip Island, Australia is where things will come to a head in February 2014 when the series kicks off on the 23rd of that month. Expect regular fast paced, nail-biting action right through to November 2014 when the season will draw to a close in an as yet undisclosed location.
Hero & EBR have been around the paddock for a while having participated in the AMA superbike series for a few seasons now. They are now confident that they have what it takes to move on to the next level. The team has opted to retain its existing riders. This means Geoff May & Aaron Yates who have been in the AMA series with the team will now also move on to the next level.
Expect fireworks to fly & tempers to wear thin though because this is the first season for the team & the learning curve in WSBK is quite steep. Yates & May & finished last season in the eight & ninth place respectively but only time will tell how they fare against the relatively established riders & teams in the WSBK series.
Encouraging times ahead indeed as we hope the boys do the team as well as the nation proud and we also hope that the learnings from the track are acted upon & incorporated in Hero’s existing range of road-going 2 wheelers. Stay tuned for more.