You ever have something kind of tickle the back of your brain? You’re busy, and it’s not that demanding, so you move on with life. Then finally you have some time and the tickle comes back, and you indulge the tickle. You do some digging and that tickle turns into a big ol’ slap in the back of the head. Yeah, I had this moment a few nights ago. Now all the information has been posted and talked about here at ESBK.co, but no one has put the dots together, or at least let me know they have. So I get to do it [yeah!].
Let’s start with what I wrote back in July after the finish of the REFUEL event:
So today, with cool temperatures (tires don’t like cold temps) and traffic on the course Brammo ran a 1:40.6 in practice. And then with a delay on track for the TT their tires went cold and they managed a 1:40.2 in less than ideal conditions. Mind you, they have almost 50 more hp and twice the torque they did last year. So they ended the day 7.1 seconds faster than they did at last year’s REFUEL event, but only .5 seconds faster than their fastest time at last year’s e-Power/TTXGP race that followed. But Brian Wismann, the team principal?/manager?/Lead?/Kung Fu Master?, said on twitter, “Good test for Laguna!” There is more speed to be had. Don’t forget that Micheal Czysz told me at NA Final last year that he felt this years lap times should drop by about 6 seconds. I did mention to him that he also said that about 2011. I think the Brammo guys have another 7 seconds. But I don’t think it’s going to be enough. I think the MotoCzysz bike with a top level rider on it (but make no mistake Micheal Czysz is fast) will break the 1:30 barrier, Lightning will be a second, maybe 2, off. And Brammo will be 3-4 seconds off the fastest times instead of 7 or 8.
Well, it turns out I was almost right about Brammo but was wrong in general, but not in a conservative way. I was thinking Brammo would run 1:33s, but they ran 1:35s. And after finding out that for the first time, I believe, in elmoto racing we have not had a new track record, I kind of tuned out. Then, some time later I read Steve Atlas’s blog post about the race weekend. At the beginning of season, actually at the end of the last season we found out that Brammo had a new motor that was going to be twice as powerful. It turns out for Laguna they got a new new motor (or new bike even), and that folks, is all we know. What Atlas did point out, that I didn’t bother to notice, is that he finished only 2.9 seconds behind Barney on the Lightning, and within a second at one point . That is by far the closest the Brammo bike has ever been to the Lightning. Who, by the way, has only ever been beat by strategy, accept at Miller last year. Another thing Atlas points out is that his fastest lap was only .3 seconds slower than Barney’s. Not bad for a bike and that barely got any track time. The only sector the Lightning bikes had a good gap on the Brammos, was in top speed on the straight. The fastest Lighting was 144.8mph (Monano) to Brammo’s fastest of 133.9mph (Bostrom). However the average of all the top speeds tells a slightly different story. Both of Brammo’s and Lightning’s fastest speeds were on the first lap. However, the fastest average for the Lightning crew was 135.3mph (Barnes), and the Brammo’s (Bostrom) was 132.2mph (Note: Only one of Atlas’s top speeds was recorded, so it could have been higher, as he finished ahead of Bostrom. It could have been slower too). Bostrom was 10 seconds back from his teammate at the end of the race. There were clearly bugs in the bike that weekend. Empulsebuyer posted about the bike for Miller. Apparently they got the new programming and new fairings with better aerodynamics. What did that get them? It got Eric Bostrom around the East course at Miller, where about a month earlier he and the Cycle World crew spent 2 days riding literbikes, around the course 2.26 seconds faster than a Dunlop Q2 (track day tire) shod CBR1000RR; which was the fastest Japanese literbike on the day. Atlas, who spent the weekend learning the course, finished 15 seconds behind, but secured his 2nd National Championship.
If you allow me to delve into some wild speculations for a moment. If you turn E Boz’s lap time on the Brammo into a percentage of the Honda’s lap time it would be 97.75%. If you then apply that percentage to the CBR’s lap time on the West course from CW’s test the following day, you get a 1:34.40 lap time. That is over 5 seconds faster than the fastest Lightning from the previous year. Too bad it’s imaginary. Brammo has posted that they have been testing since Miller and have even more go fast bits in the bike.
I have said this before, but since they don’t seem to read my blog enough (ehem) the Brammo guys now, for the first time in 2 years, have the Lightning clearly in their cross-hairs. And I am sticking to my guns and declaring the banking of Daytona is going to be a great equalizer because the bikes don’t have enough energy on board to sustain the top speeds they are capable of. Unless Lightning has their new battery tech ready, and it is significant, it is going to be a real battle for the win. There are those who say it isn’t going to be a good anything, or there aren’t enough bikes to be worth following. I would argue these are the type of people who couldn’t troubleshoot their way out of a paper bag, and hence don’t see why this series is so exciting. Funny how the same people who complain about the motorcycling industry being overly conservative, can’t work themselves out of the same rut.
In a week we’ll know who’s right, and we’ll see just exactly how serious these Brammo guys are taking this World Championship. Then again, they did ask for it to be here.