Bob MacLean - Principle
Bob MacLean's lifetime love affair with two wheels began as a young man in search of motorsport thrills on a limited budget. It is a familiar story with speed enthusiasts everywhere and one that ultimately has led to MacLean becoming a key player in the 21st century era of commercialised motorcycle grand prix racing.
"When I was young motorcycle racing was a way of going fast for not a lot of money compared to car racing," MacLean said.
As MacLean's interest in bike racing became more serious he spent much of the 1960's as an enthusiastic competitor in both 250 and 500cc racing aboard various machines including a Manx Norton and Ducati 250.
As a young man MacLean's off-track career started with a successful stint as a television sales executive with the NBC Network in New York before he moved into the venture capital business. A wide range of projects has included real estate developments and medical technology investments.
MacLean's unique combination of racing and business acumen formed the basis for his move into team ownership. In the 1980's this was based on a privateer 250 squad with American rider Richard Schlachter which was followed by the formation of World Championship Motorsports (WCM) in the early 1990's.
"In 1992 when Bernie Ecclestone got involved in motorcycle grand prix racing I could see there was an opportunity for a team to be run as a business and this was helped by the availability of customer factory-based bikes like the ROC Yamaha," MacLean said.
With Peter Clifford joining MacLean in a Team Management role the WCM operation, with major sponsor Red Bull this team evolved into a primary force in Motorcycle World Championship. A close connection with the Yamaha factory and GP victories by Simon Crafar, Regis Laconi and Garry McCoy were all part of the platform to enable WCM to take up one of only five private team places available under the new commercial arrangements from 2002 onwards.
"The franchise team arrangements take motorcycle grand prix racing into a new era by giving the teams some equity in the world championship, something of value and it's a logical step forward for WCM," said MacLean after signing a five year contract with grand prix commercial rights holder Dorna Sports.
Not surprisingly Bob is a keen collector of historic race bikes and his private garage houses some fine machinery including a Manx Norton, Matchless G50, Kawasaki KR500 and the Mondial 250 raced by Mike Hailwood. Of special interest is the 1993 ROC Yamaha with which WCM scored their first 500 GP podium at Donington Park.
Bob's current personal two wheel transport is a Yamaha TTR 250 which he enjoys riding when he is at home in the USA.