With the introduction of the suspension seat to the niche off-road community in 1970, MasterCraft Safety immediately became an innovative leader and safety advocate for the off-road racing and recreational four-wheeling markets. Over the last 40 years, MasterCraft Safety has continuously evolved and has strived to expand its presence and improve driver safety through pioneering suspension seat designs and the addition of occupant restraints and driving suits.
Today, MasterCraft Safety once again elevated the company’s presence as a revolutionary manufacturer of safety products and stunned the motorsports industry with the announcement of their acquisition of Bill Simpson’s Impact! Racing Products. The official announcement of the asset-based purchase was delivered during a press conference held at the “Impact! Racing by MasterCraft Safety” booth shortly after the opening of today’s International Motorsports Industry Show (IMIS) in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Founded in 2002, and led by the iconic and charismatic Bill Simpson, the purchase of Impact! Racing adds a host of new products such as helmets, gloves and shoes that will compliment MasterCraft Safety’s existing product line. Even more importantly, Bill Simpson will remain with the company as a technical and design consultant and will work side-by-side with MasterCraft Safety CEO, Robbie Pierce. “I can’t tell you how excited I am to be working with Bill,” explained Robbie Pierce. “This is the man who invented the Nomex driving suit and has continuously improved many of the safety solutions used in today’s motorsports. Bill Simpson is synonymous with safety, which makes him a perfect fit for both companies and I cannot be more honored to work with him.”
In his book, Racing Safely, Living Dangerously, Bill Simpson recalls the first time he met, Rick Mears, prior to the two becoming close friends. Simpson’s initial impression was that Mears was “just another one of those blankety-blank off road racers.” Many years later, Simpson is ironically handing over the reins of his company to another blankety-blank off-road racer: Robbie Pierce. Much as Simpson tested his own products early on (most famously lighting himself on fire while wearing a Nomex race suit), Robbie Pierce competes in a SCORE Trophy-Truck class in the SCORE International desert racing series, a sanction best known for the grueling Baja 1000. “In all honesty, the off-road racers of today do not get the credit they deserve,” explained Simpson. “A racer is a racer and that common thread is all is takes to understand the needs of all the different circuits out there. Robbie and I have both created products that matter for our particular markets. This acquisition is combining a powerful wealth of safety expertise in a broad range of motorsports.”
With a history deeply rooted in racing and a unique sense of understanding driver needs, Robbie Pierce was the ideal choice to carry forward Bill Simpson’s vision and legacy. “As a racer, Robbie understands the inherent dangers of competing and the importance of safety equipment. Drivers rely on my products every time they strap into their race vehicle and that is a reality both Robbie and I share and something neither of us take lightly,” remarked Bill Simpson.
Also sharing Bill Simpson’s loyalty and concern for employees, MasterCraft Safety acquired not just the inventory and product designs of Impact! Racing, but also the real estate. Impact! Racing’s manufacturing facility is situated on 3.5 acres located in the heart of “Gasoline Alley” in Brownsburg, Indiana and their retail location is in the center of NASCAR country in Mooresville, North Carolina. The full-line of Impact! Racing products will continue to be proudly made in the USA, in the birthplace of the famed Indy 500, and will compliment MasterCraft Safety’s manufacturing in Santee, California. “Some of the employees have been with me since 1973 and I am extremely pleased that Robbie has chosen to maintain the existing sales and operations here in Indiana and will continue manufacturing with the same talented workforce that has gotten the company to where it is today,” remarked Bill Simpson.
As dirt meets asphalt, look for MasterCraft Safety’s style and influence to find its way into a host of new Impact! Racing products while Bill Simpson’s legacy will continue through the development of entirely new safety solutions catered towards the existing MasterCraft Safety audience. Throughout the evolution of this acquisition, gradual changes will be made as operations are slowly integrated. For the time being, both brands will operate separately, maintaining a focus on the loyal racers and enthusiasts who have created the identity of each individual company.
More information on MasterCraft Safety’s full-line of products can be found by visiting www.mastercraftsafety.com. Impact! Racing’s colorful history and extensive product line of helmets, gloves, shoes and driving suits are available online at www.impactraceproducts.com
Stop by the Impact! Racing by MasterCraft Safety booth #1201 at the International Motorsports Industry Show in Indianapolis, Indiana on December 1st – 3rd, 2010 or visit booth #501 at the Performance Racing Industry Show in Orlando, Florida on December 9th – 11th, 2010. For those not familiar with off-road racing, Robbie Pierce’s SCORE Trophy Truck that just completed the Baja 1000 race is on display in the C&R Racing booth #1723 at IMIS! Visit their booth to learn more about the vehicle technology used in the harsh and unforgiving desert-racing environment.