Interviews 1 Nov 2012

Industry Insight: Bell Helmets’ Chris Sackett

Bell Helmets' US business manager speaks about the brand's return to Australia with Monza Imports.

Bell Helmets is an iconic brand in motorsport and the good news for Australian fans is that they’re finally available in Australia once again following an absense of near 20 years.

Monza Imports will distribute the brand locally and is currently launching Bell Helmets back into the market, which has so far proven very popular amongst the industry and core moto fans (click here for our recent news story regarding Bell Helmets in Australia).

MotoOnline.com.au caught up with Bell Powersports business manager Chris Sackett, who is in Australia from California specifically for the launch, to speak about the brand, their return to Australia and the super-trick Moto-9.

Bell Helmets business manager Chris Sackett at the Sydney launch. Image: Alex Gobert.

We’re at the Bell Helmets launch in Australia, the Sydney one. It’s a big week for you guys to be officially re-entering the Australian market, so tell us a little bit about that and the importance of it?

Yeah, we’ve been absent from the Australian market for 18 years. 18 years ago the CEO decided to put a little bit more focus on the bicycle business and kind of lost focus on the motorcycle business. So we’ve been absent and this is a really big area for us.

People appreciate and understand the brand in Australia and most of the people I’ve met here so far are definitely living the brand, so that’s exciting for us and it’s exciting to see how many people are super-pumped on seeing us back.

You guys obviously have some big name riders in the US, in supercross and motocross. In Australia, I’m guessing racing will also be important for you guys as far as marketing goes, right?

Yeah, absolutely in motocross, supercross and road racing. We currently sponsor the JDR team in the US and they also have a team here in Australia, so that’s good.

We’ve also got quite a few privateers running the Bell Moto-9 and it seems like Monza is very dedicated to getting bigger in the sport here in Australia, supporting not only the top riders, but the privateers as well.

The Moto-9 Carbon and Moto-9 will spearhead Bell's product line through Monza Imports. Image: Alex Gobert.

The Moto-9, it’s obviously a great helmet with a lot of development put into it, so tell us about that helmet.

We spent a good three years developing the helmet. James Stewart was a big part of that and we spent countless days at his facility in Florida, out in California and doing real world testing out on the track. So he had a big part in helping develop the helmet for us.

Some of the things like the aesthetics, the interior, some of the design features and the magnetic cheek pads, etc. It was really fun and we ended up getting one of the best helmets on the market and product of the year with some of the magazines.

Also the design of the helmets, there is a lot of variety in there with the Unit helmet as well. You guys have a well-rounded bunch of designs available.

We spent a lot of time designing the graphics, anywhere from wild to mild. There is a lot of people out there with different taste and different flavours, so we try to do a variety of different types of graphics.

We’ve got a collaboration with Unit, which has been really well received in the US, and we’re hoping to have it well received here in Australia as well and we know it’s a pretty big brand on the market here.

Well thanks for the chat and welcome to Australia, it’s awesome to have you guys here.

Yeah, thank you. Appreciate it.

The MX-2 and SX-1 are high quality, but affordable, for many moto fans. Image: Alex Gobert.

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