Friday, June 10, 2011

A single-lap TT event that will change the course of the event happened yesterday...

...but it wasn't the TT Zero race for electric motorcycles. For MotoCzysz, the failure to put up a 100 mph lap made a 1-2 finish a hollow victory. And the 10 mph gap between Rutter/Miller and the third-place team shows that the field's actually gotten spottier since the first electric TT, two-and-a-bit years ago.

The message here, for electric motorcycle builders, is two-fold...

  • The vaunted £10,000 prize for the first 100 mph lap of the TT course is still 'available'. That's if the TT organizers don't just kill the Zero class. (Who could blame them? It provided zero excitement this year. I recall the summary execution of the 'Singles' class after the 2000 event, where the dominance of the lavishly produced BMW/Chrysalis machine was nowhere near as lopsided as Czysz' dominance this year.)
  • The lap distance; the long, aerodynamically challenging and battery draining straightaway; the climb up the mountain... these things are too much for electric race bikes in their current state. The TTXGP/FIM e-Power organizers should, for their part, shorten events to five or six laps on typical short circuits, allowing builders to cut battery weight and have a chance of infringing on ICE sport bike performance.

The message for TT organizers is simple: There is neither the field nor the technology, yet, to support a TT Zero race. There can still be a role for electric bikes on the Island, and in the TT program, but it should be structured like this year's Subaru demo lap. The organizers should accept applications for a handful of serious, professionally built and presented electric bikes. One by one, they can be given a single demonstration lap, just before races. It's not a race, it's just a chance to go after the prize.

The TT Zero race was a historic flop. Now, the car demonstration laps were history in the making. TT classes for cars? Yes, it's going to happen. You read it here first.

Few now remember that the very first "Tourist Trophy" races on the Isle of Man, in 1904, were for cars...

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