Over the weekend of July 24-26 history was made at the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days. The TTXGP/eGrandPrix electric motorcycle racing series officially launched in the U.S. (see: part 1 of this report) Seven teams attended the event, four of whom rode a bike on the track. These were exhibition rides rather than official races making the results are rather anectodatal.
Jeremy Cleland of Mission Motors was there but without a bike. He explained how Mission is working hard to perfect the bike and that we should see it some time next year.
Most powerful was the Electric Motorsport bike, which would have been their Pro Class entry for the TTXGP Isle of Man race. It was ridden by AMA rider Jim Poole. This bike has an 84 volt drive train, an 8.4 kilowatt-hour battery pack, a 110 mile/hr top speed, and a 54 horse-power AC induction motor that produces 105 foot-pounds of torque. It easily passed the other bikes.
A team from James Madison University arrived with a historic Norton Electra bike. It was ridden by AMA Pro Thad Wolf, who rode the bike for the first time on the track and was very impressed. It has an AC motor capable of 50 HP and 100 foot-pounds of torque.
Tony Helmholt of Red Valley Motorsport drew a lot of attention and praise with a conversion bike he calls the Amplux. It was finished immediately before the race. It uses a 60 volt lead-acid battery pack, a 12+ HP motor with a 450 amp controller, an HID headlight system, and a digital dash system by Veypor. It hit speeds close to 80 miles/hr on the track.
Enertrac is a startup company with a hub motor drive meant for electric motorcycle conversions. They arrived with a bike converted using their kit, and it gave a very impressive performance. The rider was AMA Pro Jeremiah Johnson (who is planning to build some electric racing motorcycles himself). The battery pack is a tad over 100 volts, described as a 10 kilowatt motor, with which they achieved speeds near 80 miles/hr.
Kraig Schultz of Schultz Engineering arrived with a bike meant to be a test platform for fuel cells, new technology batteries and other energy storage devices. While it did not go on the track (it’s set up as a commute vehicle rather than for racing) this bike drew a lot of attention. It has a dustbin style fairing, which are a rare sight today. It has a 48 volt lead-acid battery pack, a 12 HP DC motor, and a maximum speed of 62 miles/hr. At 28 miles/hr it has a 25 mile range.
Dennis McCarthy of CBXMan Motorcycles, a Zero dealer out Pennsylvania was there with a Zero X and the Zero S prototype. Dennis is the first US dealer to get the Zero S. Neither bike went on the track and instead Dennis was non-stop talking with people about these bikes. Zero Motorcycles did not participate in the TTXGP however they did hold their own race in April, a 24 hour endurance race at a dirt bike track in San Jose.
What’s next? Azhar and his team are working on details of the when and where of the series FIM approved for 2010 as well as the 2010 TTXGP at the Isle of Man. This includes rules-making details (and changes) between TTXGP and the rules organizations.
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