Friday, August 26, 2011

Isle of Man TT organizers put the 'zero' in TT Zero

A friend just emailed me to note that the 2012 Isle of Man TT practice and race schedule's posted on the TT's website, and there's no mention whatsoever of practice or racing for electric motorcycles.

I was going to knock out a quick post earlier this week, when the TT organizers announced a new 'Supertwins' class for 2012. This would be for bikes like the Kawasaki Ninja 650 or Suzuki SV650, among others. It'll be a great 'entry-level' class for TT newcomers; all in all, it's a development I support.

I guess that -- unless the TT Press Office quickly issues some kind of correction -- some of the 'track time' taken up by the new twins class are, in fact, the times that had previously been reserved for the TT Zero.

I won't say, "I told you so." But I did, sort of.

When none of the 2011 TT Zero competitors topped 100 miles an hour to take the vaunted 10,000 quid prize, I wondered whether they'd bring the class back again. I guessed they probably wouldn't; my only mistake was that I thought they'd introduce a time trial class for rally cars in its place. After all, that car demonstration lap really generated a lot of buzz.

Notwithstanding a documentary film about the TT Zero race -- and in spite of the fact that electric motorcycles may still represent the long-term future for my sport -- the sparse field in last year's race, the uneven quality of entries, and the underwhelming performance of even the top machines don't justify a TT class -- even one accorded the bare minimum of time in the schedule. By contrast, the Supertwins class will draw lots of entries. It will give fans another chance to see all the top riders in action. And since those machines are bread-and-butter models for Suzuki, Kawasaki, and possibly others (depending on how the rules are written) there's a good chance the class will attract some manufacturer support.

Since the TT organizers didn't see a lap average speed with two zeros, and didn't give out their prize with four zeros, they have decided that they don't want any zeros at all. Do I blame them? Nought right now. Now when electric motorcycles get some major manufacturer support, I'll revisit my opinion...

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