Round 1 of the US eRoadRacing series is on the books. Both Eric Bostrom and Shane Turpin were able to best Steve Rapp’s track record* of 1.33.194 from 2011, an impressive feat considering how much cheaper a Brammo RR is than the near $300,000 MotoCzysz had spent developing their superbike up to that point. Bostrom’s fastest lap in the race was 1.33:012 and Turpin scored the new track record with a 1.32:581 in lap 5, right before his bike gave out. (correction- Rapp made that record on the 2011 Mission R. Because he’s contracted with MotoCzysz for 2013 and I was in a hurry to get this out, I forgot.)
As the adage goes- In order to finish first, you must first finish. This was an especially hard lesson for Shelina Moreda and Ted Rich, as Moreda crashed in the corkscrew then Rich toppled over her, having been right on her tail in that first lap. Moreda wasn’t sure what caused her to crash, and the same goes for Brandon Miller, who crashed in T3 on the second lap, right in front of my eyes. He had been scraping pegs and boots all weekend, but said that wasn’t happening this time. Talking to MotoGP commentator Nick Harris about it, he stated T3 takes a lot of newcomers by surprise.
Eric Bostrom took a comfortable first, consistently dropping his times from a 1.42.398 in the first lap down to a personal best on the electric bikes of 1.33.012 in lap 5, then back up to 1.35.121 in the final lap as the juice ran out. After the race, he stated that they’d been able to drop 5 seconds over last year’s times, and he didn’t think it was too bold to predict the electric bikes being faster than even the fastest gas bikes someday. Already they’re on parity with the 600’s in the middle of the pack of the Daytona Sport Bike race the AMA is presenting here this weekend.
By lap 6, Turpin and Bostrom had lapped the 3 remaining riders, Kluge, Johnson, and Kowitz. In the final lap, Turpin slowed to a stop on the T4 straight, ending his race early due to a mechanical. In yesterday’s qualifying practice, he’d stopped on the front straight (safely) a few times, and told me the power delivery was set to send too much power to the motor, so he had them adjust it so the throttle input would be a little less dramatic. This put less strain on the motor and enabled him to continue at a fast pace. You can read more about qualifying practice here and free practice here.
Brammo’s head of engineering, Brian Wismann, gave me the breakdown on costs of the various Empulses they offer. He couldn’t calculate the value of all the evening and weekend hours their engineering team had spent developing the factory bikes for Turpin and Bostrom, but the parts totaled out at about $60-70,000, $5,000 of which is the 14KwH battery pack. It helps being able to roll some race department costs into the development of bikes they actually sell, as sales from the Empulse R and TTX can offset those costs. For around $25,000 anyone can buy a race-ready Brammo TTX with 9.3 KwH. For $18,995 you can buy a Brammo Empulse R or pay $16,995 for the base model Empulse. Unlike the Zero S’s which came in 2nd and 3rd, albeit a lap down on the pro racers Bostrom and Turpin, the Empulse R is sold with a size 6 Sevcon controller. The Zero S’s are sold with a size 4, which many upgrade to a size 6.
Thanks to Michael Beatty for the correction.
Kluge is the director of Electrical Engineering at Zero Motorcycles, so he knows more than most about how to make these bikes go fast. Kluge did his best time of 1.48.706 in lap 2, while Johnson’s personal best of 1.52.361 came in lap 4. The eRoadRacing series continues next month in Indianapolis, once again joining the MotoGP series for a weekend of real excitement.
* Steve Rapp did complete a faster lap of 1.31.376, but that was during a qualifying session, so does not count as a race lap record.