Electric Motorcycle Racing
Zero Motorcycles, the global leader in electric motorcycle technology, is celebrating victory this past weekend at the 2011 Geico AMA MiniMoto SX in Las Vegas.
On Friday, May 6, Zero set some of the fastest qualifying times among both gas and electric motorcycles. Quick from the start, they dominated the electric motorcycle heat race on production Zero MX dirt bikes.
During the race, Zero’s Blake Mitchell took first, followed by Jamie Lanza, Chris Green and Trevor Doniak.Consistently outpacing, out accelerating and out handling the other electric motorcycle competition, Zero showed the strength of their dirt bike line which has evolved to become faster and more robust over several generations.
The winner, Blake Mitchell, owns and trains on a Zero X which he purchased in 2008 so that he could gain a competitive edge by riding close to home without disturbing those living nearby.
Scot Harden (Vice President of Global Marketing, Zero Motorcycles) says: “Our lap times, success in qualifying heats and speed during the race showcased the performance available today from Zero Motorcycles line of production electric dirt bikes. By leveraging the highly efficient and powerful advantages of our direct drive powertrain we were able to consistently beat the other electric competition by a wide margin.
“We are incredibly proud of our team’s performance. Our thanks and congratulations not only go out to Blake, Jamie, Chris and Trevor, but also to our engineers and technicians as well who supported the effort throughout.”
Adding an interesting twist, during racing and qualifying the electric motorcycles were mixed in with their internal combustion counterparts. In an attempt to level the playing field and capture fans’ attention, race organizers handicapped the electric motorcycles by delaying their start behind the gas motorcycles by several seconds.
While entertaining, the top electric motorcycle riders were so much faster than the majority of the combustion field that it caused hazards during passing that resulted in at least one incident. As riders increasingly turn to high performance electric motorcycles it will be the challenge of organizers to decide how best to integrate a new powertrain into a new racing tradition.
Zero has made it a goal to work with promoters in an effort to increase the amount of riders competing on electric motorcycles and envisions a future of both electric only and gas-electric races.
Scot Harden says: “We are deeply indebted to the promoters of the MiniSX for their vision and support for electric motorcycles as the next generation in motocross racing. It’s only through their efforts that racing fans and the public can get a glimpse of what the future holds. In particular we wish to thank Eric Peronnard, Mike Karsting and Lance Bryson for making it possible for us to have a venue to compete”.
No stranger to the racing world, Zero Motorcycles won the inaugural TTXGP at Infineon Raceway in 2010. They also competed against over two hundred and fifty gas motorcycles and four other electric motorcycles during the Electric Off-Road Challenge in Gironville, France.
After beating the other electric competitors on a Zero MX, Thomas Aubry went on to take first place in the last race of his series, placing him third overall in his class. In 2009, Zero Motorcycles held the 24 Hours of Electricross, which became the world’s first all-electric 24-hour off-road race. Incidentally, Blake Mitchell competed in the 24 hour race on his Zero X. Zero Motorcycles uses racing to prove and refine its advanced motorcycle technology for integration into its production electric motorcycle line.