Safety in numbers.
[CORRECTION: OMP's press office reached out to clarify that Bell Racing actually spun off from Bell Helmets some time ago, and the two have been completely separate companies for years. Amended article follows.]
Italian motorsports safety giant OMP Racing just announced that it has purchased Bell Racing. Those familiar with karting, the World Rally Championship, World Endurance Championship, and/or Formula One no doubt know the OMP name well. Now, one of the best-known American motorsports safety companies has joined the OMP fold.
OMP’s HQ and R&D facility in Ronco Scrivia, Genoa, Italy, as well as OMP America’s Miami, Florida facility will stay the same. Meanwhile, Bell Racing’s R&D and manufacturing facility in Sakhir, Bahrain and Bell Racing’s U.S. facilities in Champaign, Illinois; Speedway, Indiana; and Mooresville, North Carolina will all remain intact, as well. That, I’m sure, is good news for everyone who works at those facilities.
“This is the most important acquisition in OMP’s 46-year history, and it marks a revolution in the field of motorsports safety equipment,” said OMP president and CEO Paolo Delprato, who is now also president and CEO of the combined group. “OMP and Bell are two iconic brands with a rich history of innovation.”
What this means for Bell Racing’s motorcycle helmet lines, both current and future, remains to be seen. OMP Racing is pretty synonymous with motorsports of the four-wheeled variety, but isn’t really part of the motorcycle racing world, which is a completely different animal.
Here’s hoping that Bell Racing continues making well-regarded motorcycle helmets for years to come. There’s always room for well-made, fairly priced helmets in the market, and it’d definitely be disheartening to see them disappear completely from store shelves.
According to OMP Press Officer Paolo Bertuccio, Bell Racing was spun off from Bell Helmets several years ago. Meanwhile, Bell Sports Inc. makes Bell motorcycle helmets, and is owned by Vista group.
Here are screenshots from the homepages of both companies, which further illustrate the confusion.
As you can see, only one Bell homepage uses a logo that says "Bell Helmets" on it, and it's not the Bell Helmets homepage. However, now that we're clear on the difference, we hope that you are, as well.