It’s a Bit Cooler in Hell Right Now. Chip Yates Mounts a Lightning.

Well, that title is a bit harsh, don’t you think, Richard?  Maybe, but there’s a tinge of truth.  And, as I work this site like a second job for no pay to get you folks the news, I am seriously done with people/international organizations who absolutely know I exist not sending me press releases.  College teams send me press releases, not much excuse for anyone else not too.  At least Yates put it up on on twitter.  Anyway, there was some (or a lot depending on how you interpret things) of competitive friction between Lightning and Swigz racing over the top speed runs.  Chip is a cool guy and seems to be the type who might speak loud at first (especially if marketing is involved) but lets things go quicker than most.  Hatfield strikes me as a fairly intense competitor.  So a partnership is slightly surprising news to me, but not that surprising.

I love the typical Yates quote:

The 91st Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will feature an electric head-to-head battle between current electric motorcycle record-holder Chip Yates (#89) and 6-time Pikes Peak motorcycle champion Greg Tracy (#555), guaranteed to be a fan favorite highlight of the week’s race activities.

The two professional motorcycle racers will face off June 30, 2013 with Yates selecting an American-made Lightning Electric Superbike to ride, and Tracy choosing the Canadian Amarok electric motorcycle.

CHIP YATES: “The Lightning Electric Superbike is the only electric motorcycle to ever show a higher top speed than my electric bike, which is enjoying retirement at the Petersen Automotive Museum right now! When I heard Greg was coming to the mountain on an electric bike this year, I realized my Pikes Peak record time was at risk and so I turned to Lightning Motorcycles to help me raise the bar and hang on to the title.”

Seriously, what else was he gonna ride that he could get his hands on last minute?  An Empulse, a Zero?  Not gonna be able to tackle a 6 time PPIHC champ with those bikes.  Brammo’s not gonna loan him one of their prototype Empulse RR, and MotoCzysz . . . pbbbbahahahahahaah!  Sorry, I couldn’t finish that sentence with a straight face.  But it has to be at least as fast as the Amarok, and available right quick.  As far as I can tell, this was his only option.  He mentioned the 180hp, which suggests to me he is getting one of the production Lightnings.  Seemed like Lightning had at least the want to do Pikes Peak, so this works well for them.  Question is if Yates is buying a Lightning straight up and footing the whole thing or getting some help or borrowing a bike. 

On a more relevant note this is the first example of Lightning’s commitment to supporting electric motorcycle racing producing fruit.  And Chip Yates causes a stir and a full on rivalry with Yates defending his electric record, and Tracy defending his 2 wheel dominance of the historic race is nothing but great for the PPIHC and electric racing in the US, and for elmotos in general.  For me, this is yet another step taking the hill climb closer to becoming as important as the Isle of Man TT Zero, and taking dominance as the world’s most important one day electric motorcycle racing event.  I believe that the US, or North America in general, is the center of world level electric motorcycle racing, where as world level ICE racing is Europe.  But I’m me.

The bike comparison is also quite interesting.  Lightning has the rep of being very typical American in design.  Heavy and not the most nimble, but packing big power.  It would have to be under 550lbs to be TTXGP legal, and I suspect it will be closer to 525lbs.  With the power turned all the way up on a good day maybe 240hp out of the motor on the race bike.  But that isn’t rear wheel power, and with my conversation with Richard Hatfield it seems that they rarely have that much power going to the ground, and probably never at a road race.  So 180 for the production bikes seems right, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Lightning gave Yates up to 200hp for the race.  Uhlarik old me they were aiming to get the weight down to 275 pounds for the race and can get 90hp reliably out of the dual Agni motors.  So the Amarok will be slightly down in the power to weight ration.  A 525lb and 200hp Lightning would have 2.625lbs/hp.  A 275lb and 90hp Amarok would have a ratio of 3.055lbs/hp.  But in a hill climb weight is more so your enemy, as well as being able to carry more speed through the 156 turns.  It’s close but factoring in all of the turns, how tight they are, the weight advantage in a hill climb, and their rider, I feel the advantage goes to the Amarok.  One factor that Amarok’s success is dependent on is how well their bike actually handles in a race environment given that is a completely new chassis concept for motorcycling all together.

I am quite certain I will not be there, but Asphalt and Rubber and Hell for Leather have said they will be attending.  They’ll cover Pikes Peak, but not the TTXGP?  Who knows.  But one thing I am certain of it that it will be a heck of a race.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Chip Yates Enters 2013 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with Lightning Superbike to Defend Electric Record

Stage set for epic electric showdown between Yates, Greg Tracy

Colorado Springs, April 16, 2013—–The 91st Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will feature an electric head-to-head battle between current electric motorcycle record-holder Chip Yates (#89) and 6-time Pikes Peak motorcycle champion Greg Tracy (#555), guaranteed to be a fan favorite highlight of the week’s race activities.

The two professional motorcycle racers will face off June 30, 2013 with Yates selecting an American-made Lightning Electric Superbike to ride, and Tracy choosing the Canadian Amarok electric motorcycle.

CHIP YATES: “The Lightning Electric Superbike is the only electric motorcycle to ever show a higher top speed than my electric bike, which is enjoying retirement at the Petersen Automotive Museum right now! When I heard Greg was coming to the mountain on an electric bike this year, I realized my Pikes Peak record time was at risk and so I turned to Lightning Motorcycles to help me raise the bar and hang on to the title.”

Yates is an electric vehicle pioneer known for risky record-setting adventures in extreme electric vehicles of his own design. This year’s Pikes Peak race marks the first time Yates has put his trust in an electric manufacturer to build and supply his race machine. Lightning also supplies the lithium-ion batteries that power Chip Yates’ world record breaking electric airplane.

“The amazing thing about the Lightning bike, is that it‘s a full-on 180 horsepower electric superbike, faster than a Suzuki GSX-R1000, that anyone can buy – it’s actually in production up in Northern California” added Yates.

Yates first took on the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2011. On the paved section of the course, his rookie split times landed him 9th overall among 112 motorcycles before the ensuing 2.6 miles of bumpy dirt roads in the middle of the course slowed his final result to a 12:50.094. With the course being completely paved this year, Yates’ aggressive knee-dragging style learned from his FIM World Supersport and AMA Pro Daytona SportBike racing background makes the American a favorite to deliver a top result at the summit.

The legendary race is the second oldest motor sports race in the United States behind the Indy 500. With 156 turns over 12.42 miles, sheer drop-offs and an elevation that increases by more than 5,000 feet from the start line to the 14,110-foot summit on a fully-paved public highway, Pikes Peak is the perfect proving ground for the Lightning Electric Superbike, which uses an innovative electric powertrain to defy the thin, power-sapping Colorado mountain air.

About Lightning Motorcycles
Lightning Motorcycles was founded by Richard Hatfield in San Carlos, Calif. in 1999. By 2009, the company had created the Fastest Super Bike in the world and set the land speed record in 2010 at 215.960 mph. The team broke its own record in 2011 with a top speed of 218.637. Since then, Lightning Motorcycles has established its dominance competing and winning in multiple internationally recognized superbike races. The company’s mission is to develop the most innovative competition race bike and use that technology to produce and distribute affordable two wheel electric vehicles to commuter markets worldwide. For additional information, please visit www.lightningmotorcycle.com

About Chip Yates

Chip Yates is an American inventor, superbike racer, and electric vehicle pioneer whose hair-raising adventures have netted 11 world records in electric vehicles of his own design. Most recently, he designed, built and flew the world’s fastest electric airplane under his company name “Flight of the Century”. He is a frequent motivational speaker and part-time Discovery Channel host who thrives on pushing limits and meeting interesting people. Chip will be on hand in the Lightning Motorcycle booth to chat with race fans during “Fan Fest” in downtown Colorado Springs, scheduled for Friday evening, June 28th. Additional details of Chip’s electric airplane and racing programs are available at: www.flightofthecentury.com www.yateselectrospace.com www.chipyates.com www.youtube.com/chipyates

For more information on this release contact: info@flightofthecentury.com

High resolution images of Chip setting the Pikes Peak record available at: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0Bw4i_ga8XY0OeWVIMEtNcFkwZ00&usp=sharing

Pikes Peak race information: www.ppihc.com

6 thoughts on “It’s a Bit Cooler in Hell Right Now. Chip Yates Mounts a Lightning.

  1. “Lightning also supplies the lithium-ion batteries that power Chip Yates’ world record breaking electric airplane.”

    I recall Chip pulled both the motor and the battery from his race bike to use in the plane. Maybe incorrectly.

    Don’t forget to add rider weight (and a full tank of electrons!) when talking about power to weight ratios. Assume 180 lb rider for each bike, 5.1 pounds/HP for Amarok and 3.5 pounds/HP for Lightning.

    My money is on Amarok, as long as they do not DNF (and both bikes have done quite a bit of track testing). Chip may be a very fast rider, and the Lightning is a monster bike, but the Amarok is hugely lighter and Tracy didn’t get to be a PPIHC champion for nothing. If Yates had time to do a dozen runs up the mountain to get the course down it’d be different.

    1. D’oh. How did I forget the rider weight? Thank you for that Michael. Although I don’t think that Amarok has had that much track time. Certainly no where near what Lightning has.

  2. Could he have asked Mission Motors for a ride? I haven’t heard anything from those guys lately, not even about their main non-bike electric drive work.

    1. I don’t think so. Remember that Mission only has one bike, and I don’t think they have the time or resources to support Yate’s effort with technical support, where Lightning does. Also, putting your only prototype in a situation where it could fall off a mountain instead of just off into the kitty liter is a whole different thing. I’m not sure if there are any motorcycle people left at Mission, either. So such a proposal would be more of a business proposition than a passionate opportunity.

  3. Wow! You through around numbers of weight but you have to remember what the weight is. It is the batteries or energy. The motors are under power all the way because of the climb. Unless I saw some data I would question Amarok enough energy on board to run at full power. The 2 DC motors is old technology. The first year teams ran with the Agni motors and that was it. You look at now in the TTXGP races the Agni motor bikes are not even on the same lap. This is like comparing Moto3 with Motogp. Hey but that is why they run the race!

    1. Thank you for your reply Charlie! I see your point. The lightning has at least a 12kWh pack, and the Amarok is 7.5kWh. Also the Amarok is air-cooled but the Lightning is liquid cooled. But take a real close look at their body woek. They have some serious air cooling ducts on that thing. However, the weigh difference isn’t all in the batteries, as the pack is some much lighter the rest of the bike can be as well.

      As far as enough energy, I have no doubt they have enough energy. many 7.5kWh bikes have raced 20 mile TTXGP races with power to spare. And did so reaching much higher speeds than they will likely see at Pikes Peak. That is also where the less weight will play. The Lightning will have to use more energy to get up the hill, and even more energy coming out of corners becasue the lighter Amarok will be able to maintain a higher mid-corner speed. But either way, I have no doubt they have enough juice.

      As far as the Agni’s,they are the most efficient motor out there, and have plenty of power. Remeber how fast eCRP ran with the Agnis? The reason teams don’t use them anymore is because most of them could not run a dual setup reliably. Amarok does not have this problem and is even using the motors they originally bought years ago with no problems. Funny thing Michael mentioned many teams were still using the Agnis. I asked him who, other than eCRP because I honestly could not think of any. But the old Mavizens and the Agni team are running them. Again, where Amarok is looking for light weight they don’t need the biggest wiz-bang motor. The simplicity of the DC setup suits their bike. It’d be cool if they could get a set of the newer Agni motors and up their power a bit more, but at the moment it’s not necessary.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s