Rumors and speculation abounding! YAY!
For those of you who would like the real truth (which is never as fun or interesting as folks making things up...) here it is and try not to doze off:
Schumacher USA has been the exclusive importer of Take Off tires (CS and RP series) for a number of years now. In my understanding, we've supplied essentially every major race with tires during that period. Consistent supply, quality product, and a great relationship with race promoters and track owners all across the country have grown Take Off to be a well known and racer loved brand of tire.
But a couple things happened last fall that have basically ground all of that to a screeching halt:
1) Take Off got into the OEM business hard and fast, and that hurt our normally steady supply of Take Off branded (RP and CS) tires late last summer.
2) Just after that big push of OEM product, and getting us back up to normal operational volumes (we normally stock thousands upon thousands of control tire sets) the supply just stopped. Communication was not returned, no timeline for new order deliveries were given, and we actually had to get a little nasty in order to get any response from them at all. And when it came:
3) In November we were informed that they had run out of a certain chemical that is absolutely critical for manufacturing a top quality tire with excellent grip and wear properties. CS and RP production had halted, but the OEM products remain in production to this day. It seems as though they don't want their good name messed up by inferior tires, but they don't mind changing and continuing to sell the new formulation to others.
So, we found ourselves in the proverbial "sticky wickett". No incoming supply, and we have to cover our club racing control tire agreements around the country, and have no excess supply to bid on national level races with. I figured we had enough tire sets to last us through January, and that would give us enough time to find an alternative.
After much looking and testing, we found the golden ticket. Same grip and wear characteristics, same quality, and even the same price! Massive amounts of tires are scheduled to start arriving in mid/late Feb, and we'll officially announce and introduce this new company and brand at that time.
Now the plan went wrong when everyone seemed to notice the Take Off supply was down about a month after we knew what was happening, and had already secured a new brand. All of a sudden, everyone but us was out, and we had a run on tires like we've never seen. The supply that was supposed to easily last through January and allow a smooth transition to the new souce didn't even make it through half of December! I've been purposely avoiding public discussion regarding this, as I'd rather not appear as though I'm dragging Take Off through the mud. The plan was a smooth transition and introduction of the new product with little or no talk about "why". Unfortunately that couldn't happen, and I felt some real truth about the matter might ease the chatter and rumor mill a bit.
As far as Schumacher USA/Take Off and control tire races go - nothing was "lost" there at all. Jaco tires would have been run in their intro race in October even if we we sent all the needed Take Off sets to the race for free. Jaco needed that race for promotion of their new product, and intended to have it at any price, so they got it - no biggie in the grand scheme of several years of consistent quality product race support from Schumacher USA and Take Off.
In the face of no new supply until February, the LAST thing I was going to do was make a tire deal for an upcoming major race, so Novak and Snowbirds couldn't be in the picture for us either this year - simple as that.
And that takes us to the here and now - still no sign of a first quality tire from Take Off in the near future, their OEMs are still in production, and Schumacher USA will soon once again be providing a new top quality premount to shops, club races, state series, major national races and individual racers around the country at a great price.
That's the boring old truth folks, and I appologize if it takes the mystery and excitement out of what could have been a really entertaining thread!
One last thing:
Don't ask about the new brand, because I'm not giving. Watch for the press release coming mid month.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled RCTech drama...