A Conversation with Michael Uhlarik about Snagging 6-Time PPIHC Champ Greg Tracy

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This was supposed to be a podcast special, but in a moment of absolute horror I discovered as I went to edit the 2 hour conversation down to 20-30 minutes, it never recorded at all.  It was a great conversation and I will most definitely do my best to get him on again, as I am certain you folks will really enjoy listening to him as I did.  But you are stuck with me summarizing the original intent of the interview.

First I have to admit I had no idea who Greg Tracy was only to find out not only was he 6 time Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Champion but he had also podiumed at least as many times without hitting the top step as well.  And he’s basically driven or raced anything that is fast.  He wasn’t going to race a Ducati this year anyway, but when a mutual media acquaintance told him about the Amarok team it didn’t take much prodding from Amarok.  As Michael tells it they were very honest and told him that the best they could do was pay him with a cold beer and a sandwich.  Mr. Uhlarik is an industrial designer by trade, and has worked for big companies such as Yamaha and Bombardier, as well as spending many years in Europe working for literally little Mom and Pop companies in the motorcycle industry.  He knows big and small, and knows how to design a motorcycle and a few of the best ways to go about it.  Him and his business partner’s approach to the P1A and Amarok in general was a serious attraction to Tracy and the main reason he is on 2 wheels this year.  I mean really, who wouldn’t want to race a prototype race bike that was born in a barn in Canada, even made from farming equipment to a certain degree.  And this bike is unique with a capital U!

I talked to Michael about their philosophy of getting the power to weight ratio though lightness.  We talked about eCRP and how they had gone that route and just didn’t have it for even the Muench.  I asked if maybe they hadn’t taken it far enough.  He didn’t think so, but they are hoping to get the weight weenie bike down to 275lbs in time for the race.  He quoted an old adage from aviation that I wasn’t aware of being a mere technician, that if you add a pound you actually add three.  In that if you beef up one system, you have to also beef up every other system to maintain balance, and the inverse is also true.  Remember, the lighter the bike the more faster it will be able to go through the corner, for so many reasons I’m not sure I know them all.  Michael is very confident that their lightweight philosophy will be an even greater advantage on the hill climb.  Yes, I did ask that numb a question.

The bike will be sporting anywhere from 80-90 hp with a weight down near of the stock Zero FX.  Even with a size 6 controller and a weigh reduction the FX is not going to be anywhere near the power of the dual Agnis of it’s predator.  And with a rider with as much success as Tracy has, the Amarok is all but a sure thing to win.  But we are talking about a prototype bike 3 years in the making vs a hot-rodded stock motorcycle that’s only been out for a few months, so lets be fair.  And lets not get into handling as the Amarok is a very unique bike, and we are just going to have to wait and see.  I’d really like to see someone show up with an Empulse R, but those Empulse owners are really loving their bikes and I don’t see any of them handing the keys over to someone who could potentially chuck it off the side of the mountain.

People complain about the electric bikes being everywhere in speed at the TTXGP events.  Hate to tell you, but even with the Zeros all sharing quite a bit I feel it’s still going to be all over the map this June at Pikes Peak.  It’s not the TTXGP, it’s just where the sport is.  Either revel in it or don’t.

 

For Immediate Release:
April 9, 2013 – Amarok Racing, the competition arm of motorcycle design specialist Amarok Consultants, is proud to announce that 6 Time Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Champion, Greg Tracy, will be racing the Amarok P1A at this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Pikes Peak is the second oldest race in the United States behind the Indy 500. With 156 turns, no guardrails, sheer drop-offs and an elevation that increases more than 5,000 feet in 12.4 miles, to a finish of over 14,000 feet at the summit, Pikes Peak is challenging proving ground for the Amarok P1A.

“It is truly exciting to be racing with Amarok. After talking with Amarok co-founder Michael Uhlarik, I knew this was a team of innovators who have pushed the limit building an electric motorcycle that I believe can set a record at Pikes Peak. I have been honoured to race for the best factory team, for Ducati, and honestly I had planned that my next Pikes Peak pursuit would be in an enclosed vehicle.” said Greg Tracy.

As one of the elite Team Hot Wheels drivers, Greg Tracy, captured a Guinness Book of World Record when he performed the Hot Wheels Double Loop Dare at the 2012 X Games. Tracy is also one of the top stuntmen in Hollywood. Greg has been providing stunts for movies and commercials since 1991, in blockbuster movies such as: Act of Valor, The Avengers, GI Joe, Wanted, Talladega Nights, The Fast and Furious and in The Bourne Ultimatum for which Greg won the elite World Stunt Award. He has also won the Baja 1000, raced Formula 2000, Indy Cars and has gone over 210 mph on a motorcycle at the Bonneville Salt Flats during several World Record Attempts. At last year’s at Pikes Peak, Greg and his teammate were the first motorcyclists in history of race up the famous mountain in under ten minutes with the Ducati Multistrada.

“We are absolutely thrilled and very proud to have Greg ride for us.” said Amarok co-founder and chief designer Michael Uhlarik. “As a small, family run operation, our main objective is to work with people we like and who share our values. Amarok is about making up for big, by leveraging craft. After talking with Greg I felt like we had a lot in common.”

Tracy was connected to Amarok after the team’s promotional film “Why Less is More” appeared in a write up in My Life at Speed, one of the largest motor sport culture websites.

“I have always been intrigued by the Makers Movement and how alternative energy will impact my life and ultimately, my children’s lives. We need to be aware of the guys who are representatives of where our futures lie. Pikes Peak has always been about pushing the limit, showcasing new technologies with the best racers against the most extreme environment. When you combine all of our passion for the race, new technology with a couple of guys building one of the most interesting electric motorcycles in 140 year old barn…well, I knew I just wanted to be part of this program. “ Said Greg Tracy.

Amarok and Tracy will be racing the P1A, an advanced electric motorcycle concept demonstrator developed over the past three years. The P1A boasts a hand crafted aluminum monocoque design that dramatically reduces weight and improves handling. “The 147kg (325lb) Amarok P1 concept is about making the best handling motorcycle on the planet. There are electric bikes with much more power, but we want to own the corners. The 156 turns of Pikes Peak represent to us the best opportunity to prove our core belief that in vehicle design, you can do more with less.” Said Michael Uhlarik.

The ongoing story of Amarok and Greg Tracy will be followed up on MyLife at Speed, in Cycle Canada magazine and on Amarok Racing’s Facebook page and Twitter account.

About Amarok

Amarok Consultants is a leading motorcycle industry consulting firm. Founder, award winning motorcycle designer Michael Uhlarik, has served major international OEMs including Yamaha, the Piaggio Group, Bombardier and numerous others to deliver bespoke design, product planning and R&D support. In 2010, Michael co-founded Amarok Racing with Kevin O’Neil, with the purpose of developing the paradigm shifting, all electric P1 experiment.

Amarok Racing is generously supported by major sponsors from many areas of motor sports, including industry leaders (listed below) and fans across Canada, the US and Europe.

AGNI Motors
Dunlop Canada
Pro 6 Cycle
iamphoto+motion
Delta-Q
Carrozzeria USA
AMP
For more information contact :
http://www.amarokracing.ca
team@amarokracing.ca
902 444 6396

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