In early 2010 the FIM cut it’s ties with the TTXGP at all but the last minute. If you are jaded or into cut throat business moves my guess is this looked like the one to make. Use your clout, start your own series as you are the big dogs in Europe, and starve the roots of the upstart. If the series does succeed then great the sport’s really gonna take off, if not that’s one less series to worry about, and any future upstarts will be well warned by the tail of woe. If that was their “evil plan” (unlikely), things did not go to plan for the FIM. First off, the TTXGP didn’t shrivel up an die, and the FIM could not bring more races or bikes to the grid in Europe than their competitor. I actually beleive that the issue bewteen the two was just too wide a belief in what would and wouldn’t work. The FIM wanting to use the tried and true method, which has been faltering since 2008. And the TTXGP coming from a completely different industry unprepared for the level of conservatism and backlash to what looked to me as intelligent and thought out, yet utterly different plans and ways of going about things. I do feel that the factor the FIM wasn’t prepared for was America. As I follow world level ICE motorcycle racing I feel that Europe consistently underestimates, well everything that has to do with American Motorcycle racing. And they don’t seem to learn either. It would seem that same short sightedness was the reason they didn’t foresee the dominance of American companies, bikes, and riders in this sport. This is all speculation on my part of course. And, I mention this as much to paint the picture of the happenings of that year, as to help show the contrast to the FIM’s and TTXGP’s relationship today.
Now, the 2010 series had 5 races the coverage was sparse. There’s even a rumor that at the first race at Le Mans a scooter tried to enter the race. Here are the results from the first season you can find at the FIM’s e-Power page:
Round 1 Le Mans Best lap time: 2:21.092
|2||40||KOPP RAINER||MUENCH TTE||14m47s928||10s340||20|
|3||17||AMENDT CHRISTIAN||HONDA EPO-BIKE||16m21s337||1m43s749||16|
Round 2 Albacete Best lap time: 1:54.544
|1||22||DE RIDDER THIJS||DR-M. PROTO1||17m24s975||–||25|
|4||48||KOPP RAINER||MUENCH TTE||18m38s828||1m13s853||13|
|5||17||AMENDT CHRISTIAN||HONDA EPO-BIKE||17m53s792||1 lap||11|
Round 3 Laguna Seca Best lap time: 1:44.496
|1||3||CZYSZ MICHAEL||MOTOCZYSZ E1PC||16m02s596||–||25|
|3||22||DE RIDDER THIJS||DR-M. PROTO1||16m39s245||36s649||16|
|5||49||HIMMELMANN MATTHIAS||MUENCH TTE||17m36s067||1m33s471||11|
|7||15||HANNAS MIKE||EGP||17m32s355||1 lap||9|
|8||17||AMENDT CHRISTIAN||HONDA EPO-BIKE||16m03s198||2 laps||8|
Round 4 Magny-Cours Best lap time: 2:11.556
|1||49||HIMMELMANN MATTHIAS||MUENCH TTE||15m31s231||–||25|
|2||22||DE RIDDER THIJS||DR-M. PROTO1||15m34s244||3s013||20|
|4||17||AMENDT CHRISTIAN||HONDA EPO-BIKE||16m29s583||58s352||13|
Round 5 Imola Best lap time: 1:25.533
|1||22||DE RIDDER THIJS||DR-M. PROTO1||14m40s898||–||25|
|2||49||HIMMELMANN MATTHIAS||MUENCH TTE||14m41s601||0s703||20|
|3||36||SCROCCHI STEFANO||MUENCH TTE||16m03s506||1m22s608||16|
Tomas Betti, the former FIA electric motorcycle champion, took the FIM’s first rider title, but Muench took the manufacturer’s championship.
The season had a slow start grid size wise but the middle two rounds, especially Laguna where the FIM offered free race entry to the teams, were good, and that last 2 rounds had 4 bikes each. That was pretty good for the first year, but not as dominating as one would have thought considering the decision to split from the TTXGP.
The 2011 season looked like it was going to more of the same, especially with the release of the calender. With one more race than 2010, the provisional schedule what was basically a 6 round European championship, taking Laguna Seca (and hence all of America) off the calender for an all European “World Championship”. Yes, the race with the biggest grid the previous year. But by the time the races happened they lost 3 tracks, and had added Laguna back to the schedule. Unfortunately 2010 sucked, or at least trying to follow it did, so I didn’t bother with 2011 much either other than maybe to see what Muench and eCRP were up too in the other championship. However, Laguna Seca (the third round) turned out to be the most epic race weekend ever, even though the 2012 race was probably better, for a few reasons. First it was an e-Power/TTXGP combined event (a first), then Shelina Moreda got a ride with eCRP that turned out not to be just a one time deal, and Mission went fast. I mean they went fast at the Re-Fuel event at Laguna a few weeks previous. But then they went stupid fast. They broke 2010’s lap record by some 13 seconds! It was so fast that the qualifying time was only 10 seconds off of the fastest MotoGP lap time that weekend, and Lighting failed to break it this year by 2 seconds. Despite the Laguna round being a spike in excitement and participants, the season started off in France with only three bikes, and me noticing as I was in Australia with limited internet access. The second race was in what looked like middle of no where Germany. Muench brought three bikes, including the ol’ XXL TT bike (which isn’t listed in the results), and eCRP DNF’d, but from the photos looked like they had a good time any way. Le Mans looked like really good turn out but even though 6 bikes showed up they only belonged to 3 teams, and half of them belonging to eCRP. Shelina (she was eCRP’s 3rd rider) was overwhelmed by the excitement of the fans though, as it was a support race for the 24 hour motorcycle endurance race. This was also an e-Power/TTXGP combined race, and the last time we would see eCRP on track at a racing event.
All in all it was a bit of an odd season, and we ended up with fewer races than 2010, but so did the TTXGP. One telling thing though is that there were as many bikes at Laguna Seca as there were for every other round combined. I want to say this lesson wasn’t lost on the FIM and I suspect we will continue to see many races in North America in the future. Here are the results, and then I’ll talk about lap times:
Round 1 Magny-Cours Best lap time: 2:04.389
|1||44||BRANNETTI ALESSANDRO||ECRP 1.4||13m34s794||–||25|
|2||49||HIMMELMANN MATTHIAS||MUENCH TTE||16m09s021||2m34s227||20|
Round 2 Schleiz Best lap time: 1:47.135
|1||49||HIMMELMANN MATTHIAS||MUENCH TTE||15m19s935||–||25|
|2||36||MERTENS THOMAS||MUENCH TTE||15m42s584||22s649||20|
Round 3 Laguna Seca Best lap time: 1:33.194
|1||17||RAPP STEVE||MISSION R||12m40s597||–||25|
|2||11||CZYSZ MICHAEL||MOTOCZYSZ E1PC||13m20s592||39s995||20|
|5||44||BRANNETTI ALESSANDRO||ECRP 1.4||13m40s814||1m00s217||11|
|6||49||HIMMELMANN MATTHIAS||MUENCH TTE||13m41s076||1m00s479||10|
|7||37||WOLFF THAD||MOTO ELECTRA||12m51s894||1 lap||9|
|8||93||MOREDA SHELINA||ECRP 1.4||13m16s681||1 lap||8|
|9||18||SCHLESS ELY||PROTO MOTO||14m17s093||1 lap||7|
|10||7||MANZANO MARCELINO||E-JARAMA||14m25s614||1 lap||6|
Round 4 Le Mans Best lap time: 1:54.584
|1||49||HIMMELMANN MATTHIAS||MUENCH TTE||15m32s150||–||25|
|2||44||BRANNETTI ALESSANDRO||ECRP 1.4||16m06s496||34s346||20|
|4||78||BATTISTINI ALEX||ECRP 1.4||16m52s129||1m19s979||16|
|5||93||MOREDA SHELINA||ECRP 1.4||17m03s159||1m31s009||13|
I honestly almost forgot to talk about lap times. I must be sick. It is nice that I have put 2010s and 2011’s times up here to look at. In 2011 Magny-Cours was in April, where in 2010 it was September. So to add to the bikes being much more refined and the races being almost a whole year apart, we are also looking at a fall race versus a spring race. Even so the fastest time went from a 2:11.556 to a 2:04.389! Alessandro Brannetti took the win in 2011 by 2 minutes over Himmelman, as the German team and an issue with the bike and crawled it home. The both the Muench and eCRP were much different bikes in 2011 though, and a big difference is to be expected, but race went from 7 laps in 2010 to 6 in 2011. It makes you wonder which was the bigger influence in going faster, bike development or a shorter race.
They didn’t visit Schleiz in 2010, so I’ll move on to Laguna Seca. Again the 2011 race is one lap shorter, going from 9 to 8 laps laps. We have already talked about how the fastest qualifying time dropped 13 seconds, but the race time dropped by 11.302 seconds. MotoCzysz’ average lap time (total race time/number of laps) went from a 1:46.955 down to a 1:40.074. That is pretty much dropping 7 seconds a lap, just as happened at Magny-Cours with the fastest lap times, so development was on pace for the TT dominating team. Similarly Lightning’s average lap times went from a 1:47.093 down to a 1:40.103. Oddly enough, there were only three teams and riders that attended the race both years, and the third one is Himmelman aboard the Muench. They went from a 1:57.341 average all the way down to a 1:42.635! That is nearly a 15 second improvement, and the biggest of the weekend by far. Clearly, whatever the improvements were they made suited the California circuit.
The last round finds Shelina Moreda getting mobbed by crazy French endurance fans, but Muench and their rider Himmelman are the only returning team. Fastest lap fell from a 2:21.092 for the first race of the 2010 season to a 1:54.584 for the very last race of 2011. A lot of improvements have been made over 2 full seasons. Apparently 26.508 seconds worth! I really do feel that is pretty representative of how far electric motorcycle racing went during those two seasons. The only team to return was Muench, but the rider in 2010 was not Himmelman. Even though every round in 2011 was one lap shorter than in 2010, Le Mans was 2 laps longer. Average race lap times for Muench went from 2:27.988 and down the mine shaft to a 1:56.519. That’s a difference of 31.469 seconds. Mind you the bike was pretty much completely different, and it was a different rider as well, but it does demonstrate just how far the German team got in just 2 years.
It is interesting to see how few people and bikes came back after the rather successful 2010 season in the FIM, including the 2010 champions. Despite that I think you can see how much progress everyone made in 2011. It was also the first and last year eCRP ran with the FIM series, but they clearly pushed Muench, and Muench pushed back making for a good show at times. Despite the smaller grids, fewer races, and iffy coverage, the thing you can look back on is the amazing amount of progress made from that very first e-Power race at Le Mans in 2010, to the last one of the 2011 season, again at the famous French track. 26.508 seconds worth.