S.P.O.R.T.S. Europe acquires Bell Helmets Company
S.P.O.R.T.S. Europe has been the exclusive European distributor and partner of Bell Racing USA since 1986, the year it was founded by Stéphane and Martina Cohen. Over the years, under the management of Martina Cohen, S.P.O.R.T.S. Europe has grown from a small Private Limited Liability Company into a medium sized Incorporated Company with a highly skilled technical department and a good sales force.
Involved in Formula One since 1986, Stéphane Cohen has been the driving force behind the most recent technical innovations, having developed and produced new Bell products based on technology acquired in Formula One.
As a result of all these years of collaboration and effective today, S.P.O.R.T.S. Europe has acquired Bell Auto Racing for Europe, Asia and Africa and will change its name to Bell Racing Europen SA.
Bell Racing Europe and Bell Racing USA will both be structured as totally independent companies. They will operate independently from one another but will continue to share part of their Research and Development programs and product lines.
Bell Racing Europe will more than ever remain involved in Formula One, working with the best teams and the best drivers in a constant effort to bring the best and safest products to their drivers. A new revolutionary racing helmet concept has already been tested by McLaren and BAR drivers in 2001 and will be introduced in the beginning of the 2002 season with World Champion Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis. At the same time new product development is scheduled for Rallying where Bell also equips the best: the 2001 World Champion Richard Burns and Multiple World Champion Juha Kankhunen and their Co-drivers.
Bell Racing Europe will also cooperate more closely with the FIA in research and development of new safety regulations for helmets used in auto racing.
Effective immediately, Bell Racing Europe will handle its own manufacturing, sales and marketing of Bell automobile racing and karting helmets for Europe, Asia (with the exception of New-Zealand) and Africa.
Bell Racing Europe will reinforce its own Research & Development team, which has developed various new products in the last 5 years, such as K1 and KF1 Helmets, Mirror Visors, Double Screen visors, etc. Both the European and the US engineering staff will work closely together in research & development programs.
Bell Racing Europe will keep the Models Division and will continue to market the Replica helmets as well as the ½ scale mini-helmets and 1/5th scale F1 model cars worldwide under the "SPORTS Models" brand.
Stéphane Cohen: “I am very exited about this acquisition. All my life I have been passionate about racing and to be able to transform my passion into my job is fantastic. Also, I had the chance to work with the very best over the years, and each of them has given new idea's and has brought his own challenge, so when this opportunity arose, I felt this was the right time to buy the Bell brand. I feel we have achieved a lot, but even more remains to be done; Now that I own the brand, and under the guidance of Tom Castermans, our F1 research engineer, all these idea's will become possible.”
Martina Kindt-Cohen: “Bell is a mythical brand with so much passion and history. Bell invented the first helmet, and later on the first full faced helmet. So many exceptional drivers have faith in Bell and in us, and in turn, we learned from the best. Ayrton Senna, to name one, has pushed Bell and us further than anyone and has made us realize that one can never be satisfied, but should always try to do better. This has become the leitmotiv of this Company, and this acquisition will give us the opportunity to implement this.
New designs, different products, all this should now become possible. To buy the Bell name is a commitment. I want to thank everybody for the faith and the cooperation we had in all these years and I can only say: the best is yet to come!”
Jacques Villeneuve has been using Bell Helmets since 1997, having previously raced with Arai helmets in CART and in his debut season in Formula 1 in 1996.
Terry Bilt contributes and publishes news editorial to http://www.all-motorcycle-helmets.com.
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