TT Zero: Will Riders Break 100 mph Barrier?


2012 Isle of Man TT: SES TT Zero

Leading contenders are preparing to try and become the first – or fastest – to break the 100mph lap for an electric bike at the 2012 SES TT Zero race.

Scotsman Bob McIntyre broke the “ton” on a conventional bike in 1957, but a number of contenders have emerged from the qualifying session to be the first electric bike to record the prestigious mark around the 37¾ mile Mountain course in the Isle of Man.

The qualifying session threw up as many questions as answers with leading contenders MotoCzysz, Kingston and Mugen all showing their hands to an extent.

Heading the pack, and setting off from 1 and 2 on the grid in Wednesday’s race will be American outfit Team Segway Racing MotoCzyz, with 2011 winner Michael Rutter and 2010 champion Mark Miller representing them. The Portland based team has an all-new outfit for their 2012 campaign. Previous generation MotoCzysz electric race bikes were specifically designed with attention placed on items such as drive systems and suspension dynamics, and while this was further refined with the new effort, other areas have been targeted this season.

Michael Czysz (MotoCzysz Founder and CEO) says: “The design of the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc focuses on overall vehicle and system efficiency, with aerodynamics being a high priority. By 2012 we were capable of building an eGrand Prix machine with sufficient torque and HP, handling and reliability, so what was next? We want more for longer. Adding range is simple; you could add more batteries or you could do more with less! Racing, the automotive industry and the world in general desperately need to recalibrate from using more, to using less more efficiently. Nowhere is this more critical than when creating an electric machine.”

Rutter showed that he will start the race as favorite by clocking an unofficial time of 102.50 mph (22:05.05) in qualifying which included a recorded speed of 153mph through the Sulby Speed Trap. However, the time is only counted as an official time if it is set in a race. His teammate Miller will again provide a challenge, posting a time of 94. 812mph to remind Rutter that he will have competition close to home.

The Mugen Shinden team gave their Japanese designed and built EV machine its first taste of English conditions with a test at Cadwell Park ahead of the TT and it clearly paid dividends as John McGuinness powered the machine to a qualifying lap of 96.953, the fastest ever first lap of the TT Mountain Course by an electric bike. There was a lot of speculation about how much the team had conserved power as McGuinness hurtled through the start/finish line on Glencrutchery Road.

Kingston University – Iom Horse 1 – overcame a dash failure in qualifying to record a lap of 99.5mph until the machine ran out of power 800 metres from the line and their rider, George Spence, was forced to push the University team’s outfit over the line.

Other teams who took part in the first session include Lighting Superbike (John Burrows), T003X powered by Spain’s Antonio Maeso the returning Komatti-Mirai outfit from Japan, which is being ridden by Yoshinari Matsushita, Russ Mountford on the BX09 and Olie Linsdell who tested the ManTTx outfit, replacing Dan Kneen who was injured in the Supersport race earlier in the day. Italian outfit Vercarmoto has signed up 2011 Supersport Race winner Gary Johnson and the outfit, who are making their debut this year, will look to the TT winner to help them develop a competitive effort.

The SES TT Zero race is scheduled for Wednesday morning, subject to weather.