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Erik Buell speaks out after company closure

Published: 20 April 2015

Updated: 20 April 2015

Erik Buell has made his first comment following the closure of Erik Buell Racing; the company he founded from the ashes of Buell following parent company Harley-Davidson’s decision to close it in 2009.

EBR closed down last week shutting the doors to the factory and filing for bankruptcy protection against $20million of liabilities.

The US motorcycle maker, which is 49.2% owned by the huge Indian firm Hero Motocorp Ltd, laid off 126 staff at its Wisconsin-based factory, right now it looks unlikely that a rescue bid will be mounted to save the firm.

On the EBR Facebook page Buell said: “Thank you for the supportive posts, texts, and e-mails since the announcement that EBR has ceased operations. This is a difficult time, and your comments mean a great deal to me personally and also to the EBR team that has done such amazing work over the past few, intense years.

“No doubt, it was an incredible ride, feeling like the longest qualifying lap ever. And, then, just when we knew we were about to set an all-time record, we tossed it in the last corner…

“Keeping with racing analogies, now we need to get back on the track and look ahead remembering all the things we were doing right around so many turns.

“Unfortunately, in the end, we tried to do too much with too little funding, but it doesn't diminish the accomplishments. We introduced the world class American super bikes of 1190RS, 1190RX and 1190SX, while at the same time doing revolutionary work for Hero on the HX250R, Leap, SimplEcity, iON, RnT and many others, plus concepts never publicly seen. It was great EBR innovation and design, and introduced new technology to Hero and its suppliers to provide a real kick start for them. But in the end all of this simply overwhelmed us, and for that we are sorry and saddened.

“I want you to know that looking ahead my focus is 100% on helping the receiver best maximize the value from EBR to benefit all, and I will make every possible effort to get the new organization to where it can support the dealers and customers first, and then help find investment to get back to full throttle.

“Thank you for your support, it means a great deal. Please stay tuned - I cannot predict the future, but always believe the best is yet to come.”

When Buell shut its doors in 2009 after Harley closed it down as part of a move to shore up the core Harley-Davidson business, Erik Buell regained control of the firm – which had existed since 1983 prior to Harley’s takeover in the late 90s – and it seemed that the investment by Hero Corp would pretty much guarantee the firm a future.

Bids will be solicited for the company, with the winning bid to be determined by a state court. Any proposed sale is subject to court approval and higher or better bids, but the company anticipates that its assets will be sold, according to a state Department of Workforce Development notice that announced the immediate termination of the employees' contracts.

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