So before the New Year comes and I make some silly resolution about journalistic integrity and being more unbiased I thought I had better knock out my predictions for the 2012 season. This way I can keep my resolutions for more than mere minutes before they go the way of losing weight and cutting down on my Mt Dew intake. Now understand folks, my predictions are only 40% accurate on a good day. But it’s still fun.
- Production: They will continue to sell motors and may make it as small cheap bikes are needed in Asia.
- Racing: The showed up this year without Jenny Tinmouth, or a particularly competitive bike. I suspect 2012 may be different as Agni powered bikes can still be a competitive 75 class bikes.
ARC EV Racing:
- Production: Look for some cool stuff coming out that you can add to your AC-20 kit to really put some pep in your street or track conversion.
- They will run the 75 class again, as well as club racing events, and be coming out with a very small and light bike in an attempt to push the envelope of what is possible with an electric bike. They will take the 75 championship in 2012, but mostly because that class continues to fail to grow in Europe.
- Production: We will see the Empulse and the Enertia Plus this year, only the Empulse will be not available until mid to late summer. However it will be a big hit and Motorcyclist editor Brian Catterson will be forced to cover the launch of the bike even though it lacks parity with gas bikes. The Enertia Plus coverage will get eclipsed by the excitement over the Empulse, but will be a game changer in the entry level market. We will see both dirt bike’s release dates pushed back to 2013, but they will be on time with their new dates as the partnership with Polaris blossoms.
- Racing: In 2011 the team ran a championship winning season, and proved you don’t have to win all the time in such a short season because your competitors probably won’t show. They will show up to race in 2012, but the race bike won’t have a transmission. Also, they won’t win the NA championship again this year, but their points gap to first will not reflect how close they really were. They may have had a chance if they had shown up to all the rounds. At the FIM race at Laguna Seca they will pip the non-updated Mission R, but not have what it takes to catch either the Lightning or MotoCzysz bikes. They will make it to the Isle of Mann, but they won’t even make the podium. They will then lobby for a production class in 2013 which they should dominate, even against stock Lightnings. They will not show up to the TTXGP World final, again.
- Production: The Energica will make production on time only to be released in the middle of winter. It will be a hit with magazines, give 600s a real run and be a Brammo killer on the street . However, no one in Europe will buy it, and it will be too late to get it to the US market by the time they realize this. No one will lease their race bikes either, and they will continue to put more and more of their eggs in the FIM basket, and missing the market for the TTX75 class.
- Racing: They will show up with a much more powerful bike than what they have now, but still be a step behind Munch. “Branna” will continue to have to ride the wheels of the thing to keep up with the plump Himmelman, and once in a while succeed. They will concentrate more on the FIM series and their participation will in the TTXGP series will wain. Shelina Moreda will ride for them all season in Europe and become quit the star over there. However, accept for a period of time surrounding the race at Laguna, the NA audience will be quoted as saying “Shelina who? Ohh yeah, the hot chick on the one of the Euro bikes. What’s she been up too?” And they will continue to wonder who this “Branna” guy is “TTXGP Matters” keeps referring to. eCRP won’t win the European championship, nor the FIM championship. It’ll be a repeat of 2010 in the FIM series, and the competition will be stiffer in the TTXGP series where they will have to fight hard even for a podium spot. However, they won’t have the reliability issues they suffered this year, and Branna will be really happy with the bike as a whole.
- Production: The bike will be available but will sell limited numbers as their marketing continues to lag, and the cost limits the number of people who can afford one.
- Racing: 2012 will be a much better organized attack on the year for this team. With the bike actually being developed through out the winter they will beat all other e-bike manufactures in pure laps on track. By the time spring rolls around they will be thoughly embarrassing 600s in club races in the south west region. They will do the full NA championship and Micheal Barnes will take take it back, as well as snag the constructor’s title (new for 2012) as Ted Rich will be on a second bike. They will break their record at Bonneville and snag 3rd at the TT. Laguna Seca will see Barney duking it out with MotoCzycz for the win, while Ted is in the middle of a Mission/Brammo/Munch dogfight. At the end of the year, they will make it to the TTXGP World final by the skin on their noses, and possibly with only one bike. However they will toy with Munch, and snag the world championship at the end. Barney will finally have the world championship he deserves.
- Production: They will continue to support the paddock with parts and tech support. They will have bikes available next year from the beginning of the season as last year proved there is a need for those bike to be available to help fill the grid and bring teams into the sport.
- Racing: Unless someone shows up with a 75 class eCRP 1.4, the TTX02 is the fastest available 75 class bike you can buy. I feel there is a lot of potential in the bike that only one team was really able to tap into in 2010. Others ran it this year, but not enough to sort it out properly. In the GP class . . . OPSEC . . . If a team puts the effort into developing the bike it could be in the hunt on a regular basis.
- Production: Who they have been working with will finally be revealed. And their software prowess will continue to dominate the industry.
- Racing: They won’t show up to any race but Laguna. And there they will show up with last year’s bike only to find themselves in a 4 way dog fight for the last spot on the podium, which they won’t get. Unable to make the commitment to a full championship campaign, they will cut their PR losses and it will be the last time we see the Mission R on the track. They will then go with a MotoCzysz model and build a TT bike for 2013.
- Production: I’m sure he will sell some more of his drivetains.
- Racing: He will show up with 2 bikes, but probably not equal. One will be an upgraded ’11 called an 11.5, and the 2012 bike. Only this time the 2012 bike will actually have been tested. Mark Miller will get the 2012 and Rutter will get the 11.5, and Mark will hand Rutter his ass. Mark will then get smashed in celebration and it will all get caught on tape by MotoPod. The audio will then be edited and distributed for our enjoyment. The team will take 1-2 on the podium. They will continue to support the FIM while only running one of their races, Laguna. This year Czysz will put an AMA level rider on the bike, hopefully Mark Miller, and will take the win. This will show that Steve Rapp had more to do with Mission’s win at Laguna than other team’s engineers and mechanics want to admit (all the riders already know it). It will basically be a repeat of 2010.
- Production: Something will be announced. Maybe an electric Noton kit bike for the street.
- Racing: They will not race anymore, accept for the TT. They won’t win, but they’ll surprise the heck out of some universities and have an absolute blast doing it.
- Production: No one will buy their production race bike because they read TTXGP Matters and will know it doesn’t have a prayer of being competitive against the 2012 race bikes. But, everyone will applaud the effort and it will score them some big points with some important people trying to get into the series/industry.
- Racing: Munch will come out with an all new bike and a serious motor who’s design has been taken down a different path. It could prove to be the next paradigm shift in motorcycle AC motor design, or just a unique example of early development people see in some obscure museum in Germany 20myears from now. They will continue to have the advantage over CRP in the FIM series, but MIST Suzuki will be closer than they like for comfort in the TTXGP series. At Laguna they will be part of a 4 way battle for the 3rd spot on the podium. They will snag both the FIM and TTXGP European series, but will lose the TTXGP World championship to Lightning.
- Production: They will continue to be a major player in the Chinese motorcycle market.
- Racing: After their first season in the TTXGP they are going to show up ready for battle in 2012. Weather they decide to go back to the 75 class and use it to develop bikes more suiting to the demands of their market, or go all in to the GP class I don’t know. Either way I get the feeling these guys are no joke.
- Having learned a lot in the past two years, the hard way, they continue to show a rapid learning curve. There may still be a track issue or two, but we shouldn’t see the craziness we saw in 2011. Also look for the TTXGP to expand beyond NA, Europe, and Australia. Now, the European series should continue to steadily grow and be a good show. Australia maybe what we saw this year with only 3 bikes, but then again you never know. The North American series will still be the continent with the dominant bikes, but we will continue to see these companies continue to struggle with showing up. The problem in NA is not the tracks. On the contrary, we could probably have a bigger season than the AMA has. The problem is the teams simply not, or not being able to show up. Also, East coast fans may get the shaft because with Moto Electra out of the picture everyone is now West coast based and will be lobbying to not have to travel. The TTXGP’s superior marketing strategy and ability to engage fans almost directly will start to pay dividends and we may see more companies like A123 come on board. They will however continue to struggle with sponsor’s irrational want of the races being put up on TV channels, with the fan’s want wants of actually being able to see the races either on the internet, or channels they can actually get. The TTXGP series has a fan base, and catering to them is something they do better than the FIM. However, they have not yet measured up to the organizational standard that the FIM has been able to build over its many years. To compete with this, and to make the series more team friendly, you may very well see national series being brought in to organize and run the races on race weekends much like we saw in Australia, which was a test bed of sorts. I personally, have no problems with the DMG or WERA running the races here in NA. In fact I welcome it. This should free up enough time for the TTXGP crew to make sure 2012 goes smoothly. I have heard that the TTXGP has earned a reputation of not doing or providing what they say they will, but I have heard that from pundits and not teams. I have heard plenty of moaning from teams, but there is a saying in the Navy, “a bitching sailor is a happy sailor.” I have heard nothing to warrant and radical and immediate departure from the TTXGP. Also fans should be able to look forward to a greater American presence in at the World final. Like an actual American bike and it’s teams being there. To be honest, as bleak as the NA GP class looks this year, it shouldn’t take much to qualify in the top 4 in the class and save you pennies to battle it out at the World final.
- The TTX75 class will continue to grow in the US with at least two universities engaging in the series. We may see Eli Schless back and being pushed enough by the youngsters that we will see what that little Honda GP chassis will do. If the battle gets hot enough he may even hand the reigns over to a fast youngster, but I’ve been told Eli is plenty fast enough. There is the potential that this class will out number the GP class this season in north America.
- Their dismal marketing will continue to get better. Actually we might see a marked improvement in 2012, but their strength will continue to be the sheer size and power of the organization backing them up. The 2012 season looks to be almost a copy of this year’s with the addition of a race in Hungry. They will continue to go with what they feel works as well as seeming to play a waiting game with the TTXGP. Their business plan really does seem to be to spend as little as possible to limit monetary loses and just wait for the TTXGP to fail and go belly up, leaving them to be the only game in town. They do this while their teams continue to struggle to find sponsorship, and they do little to nothing to engage elmoto racing fans. Really the FIM wants to move past being a sanctioning body and into being the promotional body as well, but I’m not sure I have seen any example of their abilities to market or promote anything. Dorna and Infront are the ones who have made MotoGP and World Superbikes successful from a promotional and marketing stand point. The FIM has helped make and enforce the rules. However, with the North American GP championship looking bleak as far as turnout (although the 75 looks to be growing), the one thing we all know is that everyone will show up to Laguna Seca on MotoGP weekend, which is FIM turf. If all the teams in the US can only agree to show up to there to that one race, then maybe the FIM’s model is the right one.
- It won’t be a banner year for turn out, and tow-thirds of the teams who say they are coming won’t, just like last year. This series suffers from the same problem the NA TTXGP series has, and that’s teams showing up. Brammo won’t show up with a stock ’12 Empulse with an SS treatment, like was rumored. Instead they will show up and Kingston University will shout from the roof tops because they beat one of the “big factories” who’s company is a fraction the size of Kingston’s faculty count. But really, at this point everyone only cares about the MotoCzysz bikes. What did he come out with this year, and will they break the 100mph barrier? You will be able to snag a bit of glory if you can actually challenge the MotoCzysz bikes, and expect Lightning to do so. But after that, no one cares. Expect the IT4 coverage to be even a bit better than last year, but still depressingly lacking. FIM sanctioned, the IoM has enough clout and stature that the FIM dare not mess with them, and maintains their sanctioning body status.
In summary, the racing will be better, the bikes will be faster, there will be more races, and there will be more teams. Just not a whole lot more.
Dear teams and series types:
What do fans want? Well, I can’t speak for European or Aussie fans, but what we NA fans want is to see Agni, Brammo, eCRP, Mission, ARC EV, Lightning, Mavizen, MotoCzysz, Munch, Protomoto, Zero, and Zong Shen, plus whoever else, battling it out at every round of their respective series, and all of these teams at the world final. But we’d be happy to see Brammo, Lightning, Mission, and MotoCzysz at every NA round duking it out, or crushing each other. Whichever. Will someone please find where the stick is and kindly pull it out?