Well it’s that time of year and the festival starts in just over a week. Fortunately we finally have official confirmation of the teams that are coming this year. This is the first year that we have not heard over 20 bikes were coming only for those numbers to steadily fall. And I, for one, am grateful. But other than building up the battle between MotoCzysz and Mugen, they let us know that University teams Kingston and Brunel are coming back but are going to have to face new comers Ohio State and Imperial College. So with the heavy weights and University teams accounted for who is coming back with serious efforts for 2013? Well, ManTTx, Vercamoto, Komatti-Mirai Racing, and Lightning Motors. I am actually a bit excited this year as my optimism has overcome my common sense and I really believe most, if not all, of these teams will finish the race. Scuttlebutt has it that more than a few teams were caught out last year by the constantly changing start times, caused by the same weather conditions that eventually lead to the Senior TT being canceled for the first time ever. Many of these teams don’t have more than one or two complete laps around the island, but again, I feel this year will be different. 10 teams, 11 bikes, and SES is back as the title sponsor. Now that sounds like a race.
Here’s the release the IOMTT put up:
Motoczysz and Mugen square up for TT Zero title fight
MotoCzysz, the dominant force in clean emissions racing, and Japanese powerhouse Mugen are gearing up for another battle in the 2013 SES TT Zero Race. Last year both teams shattered the 100mph lap mark – a feat it took internal combustion engine machines fifty years to achieve – with all three podium placed riders posting times in excess of the magic ton.
Michael Rutter won in 2011 for MotoCzysz and defended his title in 2012 but he was chased all the way by John McGuinness on the eye-catching Mugen Shinden. John, who was making his electric bike debut, finished just 23 seconds behind Rutter at an average speed for the lap of 102.2mph. Michael’s team mate and 2010 TT Zero Champion Mark Miller was only 15 seconds back on John to complete the remarkable “centurion” podium. As defending champion Michael Rutter starts the 2013 SES sponsored event from the pole position on the all-new 013 e1pc. The MotoCzysz team believe this year’s entry is capable of a sub 20:35 lap – putting them on target for an average lap speed in excess of 110mph. To put that ambition into perspective Michael’s lap record from the Lightweight TT on a 650cc Kawasaki stands at 115.554 mph. Michael will, once again, be joined by America’s Mark Miller on the startline where Mark’s bike will carry the number two plate. John McGuinness will again spearhead the Mugen effort, on the Shinden Ni, their 2013 machine. With an all new chassis and power train as well as completely new bodywork Mugen are confident it will be capable of adding at least ten miles an hour to the 2012 benchmark.
Six countries will be represented in the 2013 SES TT Zero with ManTTx and local rider Dave Moffitt representing the Isle of Man, Italian outfit Vercamoto and Chris McGahan and last year’s debutant competitors Komatti-Mirai Racing Team from Japan with Japanese national Yoshinari Matsushita. USA based Lighting also return after missing the 2011 meeting.
University outfit Kingston, which has competed in every event since the electric bike inception in 2009 and won the University prize in 2011 as well as finishing on the podium that year, will again campaign their ‘Ion Horse’ machine. The university outfit went close to the 100mph time in last year’s qualifying session but ultimately ran out of power just 800 metres short of the finish line. George Spence will again represent the University outfit.
A strong University entry also sees Brunel returning to the race in 2013 with Welsh rider Paul Owen. Other University outfits include ‘Buckeye Current’ from Ohio State University with 2009 Race winner Rob Barber and Imperial College who will be represented by Spain’s Antonio Maeso.
Mark Guthrie, MD of race sponsors SES Satellite Leasing Ltd, commented: “SES is delighted to once again support the SES TT Zero Race. As a company we pride ourselves on innovation and groundbreaking technology and it’s clear that there is going to be real competition at the front of the field again in 2013. Whatever the result, all the teams can be proud of their efforts as it’s a real achievement just to get a bike on the starting grid.”