While our attention is currently focused on the 2013 Isle of Man TT, the 91st running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is just around the corner. Perhaps the closest thing to the TT that we have here on American soil, Pikes Peak is the second-oldest motorsport race in the United States (the first being the Indy 500), and features riders and drivers who risk it all during the Race to the Clouds.
With that in mind, our boy Carlin Dunne is returning to Pikes Peak again this year, though he is trading in his gorgeous Ducati Multistrada 1200 for the “Flying Banana” of Lightning Motorcycles. A two-time winner, and outright fastest man ever on two wheels at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Dunne will be gunning for the race record for an electric motorcycle at this year’s event.
“I have a chance to be a part of something even bigger, to prove something to the rest of the world by riding this amazing electric bike. And I have to say, I’ve been testing it for a month, and it’s insane. It’s power and acceleration is like nothing I’ve ever ridden. When you light that fuse, hang on,” said Dunne.
The carrot in front of his nose, Dunne will aim to beat the record that is currently held by Chip Yates (12:50.094 on the partially paved course), who was initially lined up to ride with Lightning this year at Pikes Peak as well. Yates and Lightning have since parted ways, just as Greg Tracy has swapped his electric motorcycle with Amarok Racing for the extra two wheels of the Mitsubishi MiEV Evolution II electric race car.
To add to the green-cred of its race, Lightning will be trotting out its solar charger, making Dunne’s race up the mountain a completely eco-friednly affair. “I still can’t believe our good fortune in teaming up with a guy like Carlin. Not only is he the top talent, but he’s a great guy,” said Art Haynie, Director of Marketing for Lighting. “I’d root for him even if he were riding for someone else.”
“But this is much bigger story than Carlin, or Lightning. This is a historic moment for the world. It’s the tipping point in global transportation as we know it. The very best guy in the world at this race who won and set records on gas bikes, has chosen us, an electric motorcycle company, to try and beat his own records. Combustion engines are long from dead, but they were just passed by in performance.”
Adding to that, Richard Hatfield, Founder and CEO of Lightning Motorcycles went on to say that “this technology will drive the future of racing. Gas engines have been around for over 100 years and pushed to their limits – and they’re at a late stage of development. But we’re just starting with this. It’s like we’re in the early 1900’s all over again when it comes to the development of electric racing – and we’re already breaking new ground.”
“We always knew what we had in the performance of our electric bikes, but it takes time for the world to comprehend and accept a huge change like this. It took 50 years for people to accept a car was better transportation than a horse. Now here is the top rider in the world at this race, at the top of his game, putting his seal of approval on us by leaving combustion and going electric.”
Source: Lightning Motorcycles ; Photo: Jamey “El Jefe” Price