ePower/TTXGP Race Report | Laguna Seca 2011

Mission Motors took an easy first place over MotoCzysz, but Michael Czysz was the first to admit it’s him, not the bike. Only one year later, the electric motorcycles are all running about 10 seconds faster than before. Czysz was able to drop a few seconds, but not enough to compete against AMA Pro racer Steve Rapp. Rapp was able to get the 14KwH Mission R down to a fastest lap of 1:33.194, with consistent laps in the 1:33-1:34 range. Czysz will not disclose the KwH of his 2011 e1pc, but is sure that with equal riders they could beat Mission.

In The Future, We Will All Be Riding…

It will be interesting to see which racer Czysz brings to Laguna Seca next year, and how much more endurance the bikes will have. All the teams I spoke with told me that they feel racing is extremely important to their development process, they only wish they could afford to race an entire season. Another common theme which I found rather upsetting is that many teams are more focused on developing Intellectual Property to sell to OEM’s than actually manufacturing electric sportbikes. While existing OEM’s have the manufacturing infrastructure, they don’t currently have a real incentive to put electric bikes into production. There is a long history of companies buying up disruptive patents and shelving them. I would hate to see this happen with bikes as exceptional as the MotoCzysz e1pc and the Mission R.

Rapidly Approaching Parity With Gas Bikes

It seems Rapp had to slow it down a bit in order to complete the race, as he did qualify with a 1:31 in yesterday’s Qualifying Practice. That QP time not only put him on Pole Position for the electric race, it was also merely 10 seconds behind MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo in practice the same day. Even more exciting, comparing slightly more similar machines, that QP time put Rapp solidly in the top 5 of the AMA Pro US National Superbike race.

As Chip Yates is showing in club racing, Mission showed today in the electric race that their bike is at parity with the best of the gas-powered race bikes. As I recall, 10 seconds off Lorenzo’s pace is still within the 110% not really close to the 107% Rapp would need to qualify for the MotoGP race. However, the Mission R would only have been able to complete about one third of the MotoGP race. Which is still more laps than Simonicelli usually completes. After all, it’s not speed the electric bikes lack but endurance. (thanks for making me do my homework, Rich)

Czysz and Barnes repeated last year’s show, but this time it was purely rider ability and not technical issues separating them. Barnes led early on, and Czysz worked hard to close the gap, finally passing Barnes less than 100 feet before the finish line. There was also some dramatic racing throughout the race as Münch Racing’s Matthias Himmelmann passed Brammo’s Steve Atlas on the 1st lap.  made his way through the field Proto Moto’s Ely Schless was the first one to be lapped, and by lap 7 (of eight) the top 6 riders had lapped the other 4 riders who completed the race distance. It’s clear from the timing sheet that the riders being lapped were mostly struggling with battery longevity, the critical issue in racing electric motorcycles that weigh less than 550lbs. The weight limit is an important constraint for builders who want to develop bikes that customers will actually buy. Later we’ll have a photo gallery of action shots from the race, and more detailed articles about the teams.

 

 

Susanna Schick

Susanna is passionate about anything fast and electric. As long as it's only got two wheels. She covers electric motorcycle racing events, test rides electric motorcycles, and interviews industry leaders. Occasionally she deigns to cover automobile events in Los Angeles for us as well. However, she dreams of a day when Los Angeles' streets resemble the two-wheeled paradise she discovered living in Barcelona and will not rest until she's converted the masses to two-wheeled bliss.