Zero Motorcycles put out a press release today saying they, well, Kenyon Kluge, had not only taken 2nd place in the eRoadRacing World Cup race just held at Laguna Seca, but that they won the eSuperStock Production Award at the race. I must have missed that award being given out. It wasn’t part of the official award ceremony, and I don’t recall it being discussed by the eRoadRacing organizers.
The eSuperStock concept was developed during the 2012 season when Zero Motorcycles ran a fleet of 4 Zero S’s in every North America TTXGP race. The definition at that time was “production” electric motorcycles with sales over 25 units.
While I agree that “production electric motorcycles” should have a sales volume requirement of 25 bikes or so at a minimum, I think this definition of eSuperStock is flawed. If you’re going to define a racing class it should be based on performance, not sales volume.
In any case the press release also mentions how Kenyon Kluge recorded the fastest laptimes ever for a production electric motorcycle – 1:48.706 – and that makes me want to go back in history to 2010 when it was such a miracle that we were having electric motorcycle racing at all. That was just 3 years ago, but my how far have we come.
The top bikes that year were Lightning Motorcycles and MotoCzysz. MotoCzysz had just returned from winning the TT ZERO on the Isle of Man, and the FIM e-Power series held the first electric motorcycle race at Laguna Seca in late July 2010. They invited teams in from both Europe and North America, and it was probably the largest grid for electric motorcycles in the four times we’ve raced the Laguna Seca MotoGP weekend.
The leading bike during the race was made by Lightning, with Michael Barnes riding. This was their first race bike, the one with the unobtanium EV1 motor, and unobtanium A123 battery pack. He led strongly throughout the race until the last 100 yards or so of the last lap when his bike slowed down, and Czysz was able to zoom in front to take the victory.
As exciting as that race was – it gives us an interesting contrast to the times recorded during the 2013 eRoadRacing race during the Laguna Seca MotoGP.
The race length in both cases was 9 laps, 32.49 km.
2010: Michael Czysz’ total time was 16:02.596 (9 laps), Barnes’ total time was 16:03.834 (9 laps).
2013: Eric Bostroms’ total time was 14:13.799 (9 laps), Kenyon Kluges’ total time was 14:54.902 (8 laps).
2010: Michael Czysz’ best lap time was 1:44.496, Barnes’ best lap time was 1:44.620.
2013: Shane Turpin’s best lap time was 1:32.581, Eric Bostrom’s best lap time was 1:33.012, Kenyon Kluge’s best lap time was 1:48.706
That’s three years, and look at the improvements.
In 2010 all the bikes were some kind of prototype. In 2013, all the bikes were either proper factory manufactured bikes, or factory prototype bikes.
In 2013 the speeds of the manufactured Zero S, widely regarded to be a 250cc/350cc equivalent, were almost as fast as the best bikes in 2010. Well, almost as fast in lap time, but faster in terms of the total time to complete the race. Oh.. wait.. that’s because Kluge only completed 8 laps because he got lapped, while Bostrom completed 9 laps significantly faster than Kluge completed 8 laps.
About Zero Motorcycles
Zero Motorcycles is committed to transforming the motorcycling experience by bringing to market highly innovative electric motorcycles that offer exceptional value and performance. Zero is powered by innovation, driven by passion, guided by integrity and measured by results. Through extensive research, insight and experience, Zero combines the art and science of motorcycle development to create and manufacture products that excite consumers and inspire brand loyalty. Zero is determined to be the preeminent global electric motorcycle company.
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