2011 Series review: Part 1 Isle of Man TT Zero

No link 'cause I took it myself

This is going to be a 3 part series on looking at the three electric world series we have currently.  Because this is a new site and many of you are new to the world of electric racing I will be digging back a year or two so as to put 2011 in perspective for you folks as well as myself, as I am delving deeper into this world every day.

The 2009 TTXGP was the first ever electric motorcycle race on a true world stage (the FIA had the first electric motorcycle series).  Organized by the same folks at the London based TTXGP that we know and love (but who’s foot we hold firmly to the flame), and the folks at the Isle of Man.  There were two classes, the “Best Buy Pro” class which was the run-what-you-brung class, and the “Open” class that specified the bikes had to be available for sale for 20k British pounds for 75 minutes immediately after the race.  This help drive costs down and make a less expensive class.  At one point 23 bikes had signed up for the event.  What actually happened was 14 bikes stating the race.  Of the 11 Pro class bikes only six finished, but all three of the Open class bikes that started finished.  You can find the official Isle of Man TT results here and here, but:

Open Class (in order of result):

Electric Motorsport
Barefoot Motors

Best Buy Pro Class:

Fnishers (in order of result):

XXL Racing Team
Mission Motors
Brunel X-team

DNFs (in order of race number):
Kingston University
EVO Solutions Designs

Reactions were mixed, but if the editing in the documentary about the the race, “Charge” is to be believed the reaction after the race was much more positive than before the race.  The average speed (how they measure things at the TT) was just over 87 mph by the DC brushed motored Agni bike.

As we move into 2010 we hit a bit of a snag.  According to this article quoting press releases from both parties the TTXGP was organizing an event in Paris that was during the TT and could not do both events.  The Isle of Mann had an investment they needed to protect and simply did the event themselves.  The Paris event mentioned in the press release I believe was the ill-faded EMXGP car series that never came to fruition in 2010.  Considering how much bigger car racing is than motorcycle racing, I can see it being a gamble worth taking.  However the Paris event was the week before and the TTXGP claims the monetary and scheduling conflicts were false.  This is the typical type of drama that seemed to follow the TTXGP in it’s initial year.  The Isle of Man has a history of butting heads with the FIM in the past.  I get the feeling it’s more about maintaining control of their event and limiting outside influences.  Normally this is a bad thing, but in the case of the TT, it seems to be the right path for the race over all.  The IoM has always done it’s own thing, and is just continuing to do so.  It’s just too bad they couldn’t have come up with the idea themselves.

Any way 2010 came around now as the TT Zero and an actual TT race, not a demonstration race.  And a 10k GBP for the first bike to break a 100 miles average introduced that I am sure they thought they would last more than a few years.  Ha!

MotoCzysz was back with a vengeance sans the ’09 Agni motors, but neither Mission nor Brammo would attend.  After all, they had actually finished in ’09 and learned quite a bit in the way of developing their product.  Apparently, enough to keep them busy.  I cannot, for the life of me, find any kind of claim for 2010 as too how many bikes were suppose to show up.  The entry was suppose to be closed in March but the IoM TT was releasing press releases about e-bikes entering the race almost right up to the race itself.  However many actually committed, 9 started and American rider Mark Miller won on an American bike with an average of 96mph.  A mere 44 seconds over the time needed for the 100 mile per hour prize in it’s first year.  Of Miller’s other 8 competitors , only 4 finished.  Official results are here.  But:

Finished (in order of result):

MotoCzysz EIPC
Peter Williams

DNFs (in order of bike number):

Honda (just the donor chassis, don’t get excited)

Ok, so 5 less bikes than last year, but the amount of press the MotoCzysz machine got was astounding.  It is probably the most recognizable electric bike out there.

That brings us around to this past season, 2011.  MotoCzysz showed up with 2 bikes, and the talk was that 20-30 elmotos had committed to the race.  Well, it generated a lot of buzz but when it came show time, again there were only 9 teams who showed up on the island.  And of those either only 5 started, or five finished.  There was no DNF listed on the 2011 result sheet so I’m not sure.  But:

2011 MotoCzysz E1PC / Segway Racing MotoCzysz
MotoCzysz E1PC / Segway Racing MotoCzysz
ION HORSE 2011 / Ecotricity Kingston
Prozza TT Zero – 11 / Team Prozza

So as far as numbers go it was a repeat of the previous year.  To read the forums before hand not many TT diehards have any love for the electric bikes.  Because the TTXGP NA race at Infineon in May had about half the field as expected one person had declared electric racing dead.  Come one month after the TT he would be proven . . . “dead” wrong.  It ended up looking a bit wounded by the end of the year, but far from dead.

The 2011 TT Zero had some cool looking bike going for top honors, but the two MotoCzysz bikes were just the class of the field.  Agni didn’t show, but with the addition of the University prize of 5k GBP it meant we saw MIT show up trying their best to take on Kingston University, who took the prize.  Hopefully we’ll see MIT back in 2012.

We most certainly will see MotoCzysz back with 2 bikes in 2012, but will the field be any bigger?  According to this article organizers say that 20 bikes have signed up.  That will probably mean 9 bikes in the field, again.  The TT Zero can’t even argue it has been the biggest electric motorcycle racing event in the in 2010 and 2011, because Laguna Seca has bested them by one or two bikes each year.  And Laguna is no where near Europe.  Heck the TT Zero race isn’t even included on the Duke video of the 2011 TT.  (It’s one friggin’ lap people. There wasn’t room for one freakin’ lap!?)  This race isn’t any stronger than the other two series.  But it does have a solid footing and the MotoCzysz bikes draw a lot of attention.  They had really better watch out for Lightning though.  And that is a bike you can actually buy, not to mention go to your nearest NA TTXGP round and watch make a solid championship run next year.  Who are you gonna root for?  I’m just wondering.  If Lightning takes the TT Zero, the NA TTXGP Championship, another Bonneville speed record, and possibly the TTXGP World Championship, then what are Mission and MotoCzysz going to say to their partners and sponsors?  The true battle for the “I’m the prettiest girl at the dance” for business sponsors and partners starts at the 2012 Isle of Man TT, but by then will MotoCzysz and Mission have covered their bets by showing up to the one or two NA rounds for some points, or will Lightning, closely followed by Brammo, already added up a pretty big pile of points?  Boy, I sure can make things sound exciting, can’t I.  😉  And Brammo?  Eh, they have Polaris and are about to release the first descent and affordable electric sport bike in history.  I think they already have the best dance partner around in Polaris.  Funny what winning a national championship will do for you.  I can see Jensen rolling his eyes right now.  😀

4 thoughts on “2011 Series review: Part 1 Isle of Man TT Zero

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