With the micro-weather climate that is Laguna Seca, the skies cleared in time for the FIM e-Power/TTXGP Championship race. Fast throughout the week, Steve Rapp stood on the pole position riding the Mission Motors Mission R electric
superbike supersport. Qualifying second was Michael Barnes on the Lightning entry, and rounding out the front row was Michael Czysz on the 2011 MotoCzysz E1pc. With eleven motorcycles on the starting grid, Laguna Seca proved to be one of the most well-attended grids for electric motorcycle racing; but perhaps more importantly, it was host to some of the most professional entries we’ve seen to-date from electric racing.
With 11 seconds covering the top six riders, the gaps between teams has narrowed in the two short years of electric motorcycle racing. Most of that gap caused by Mission’s scorching pace, a margin of just three tenths of a second covered the second row of the grid, making a battle for fourth almost assured from the get-go. Though the qualifying times were far apart overall, there was still some close racing to be had at Laguna Seca.
Walking away with the lead after the first lap, Steve Rapp checked out from the competition while Michael Barnes and Michael Czysz vied for second. Barney lead for most of the race, but Czysz followed in pursuit, capitalizing as the Lightning machine began to run out of power in the final lap. Closing the gap, Czysz burtst by Barnes with just a few yards to the finish line, snatching second place from Lightning by a matter of feet for the second year in a row.
The close finishes wouldn’t stop with the battle for second though, as the next group of riders battling for fourth had been neck-and-neck the entire race. With Alessandro Brannetti leading the three-rider pack (Brannetti, Atlas, Himmellmann) for the first five laps, Steve Atlas took over on lap six and rode his Brammo Empulse RR to a fourth place finish. Atlas would not have an easy time of it though, as both Brannetti and Himmellman were just a matter of yards from each other coming down the final straight.
Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved