Gas vs. Electric: Chip Yates Takes Podium Finishes in WERA Heavyweight Twins at Fontana [UPDATED]

01/09/2011 @ 5:40 pm, by Jensen Beeler16 COMMENTS

Gas vs. Electric: Chip Yates Takes Podium Finishes in WERA Heavyweight Twins at Fontana [UPDATED] Chip Yates WERA HW Twins AutoClub Speedway 635x423

UPDATE: Race results from both races, video of the first race, and a photo from SWIGZ Racing.

Reports are coming in from Fontana (AutoClub Speedway if you will) this evening, where Chip Yates the SWIGZ Racing team were competing against the gasoline-powered liter bike v-twins in the WERA Heavyweight Twins Superbike & Superstock race classes earlier today. Hitting at one point 158mph on the banked walls of Fontana, Yates finished an impressive 2nd place in the WERA Heavyweight Twins Superstock class, and had another podium finish (3rd place) in the WERA Heavyweight Twins Superbike class, racing against KTM RC8 and Ducati 1198 Superbikes.

The SWIGZ.com race team set a best lap of 1:39 at AutoClub Speedway with Chip Yates at the helm, roughly eight seconds faster than the practice laps Yates set on Saturday at Fontana. Not everything was smooth sailing though, as the team battled a problematic cell in the battery pack, which had the potential of causing futher issues within the electric race bike. Having to miss the rest of Saturday’s afternoon practice, and fix the cell back the at SWIGZ race shop, Yates clocked a total of 14 laps from his combined outings at Infineon Raceway and AutoClub Speedway before today’s race.

From these testing sessions, we can see that the SWIGZ team has continued to improve upon its electric race bike, as the team has relocated about 1/3 of the bike’s battery packs to the “fuel tank area” on the motorcycle, helping distribute the weight of the batteries more evenly on the bike. The SWIGZ bike had roughly 180 lbs of batteries on-board, sitting essentially where a pillion would go while at Infineon, meaning that Yates likely had to battle with front-end traction issues with all the batteries sitting in that location. Now with more of that weight farther forward, the SWIGZ race bike should have provided better feedback and handled better on the race course this weekend.

For the WERA Heavyweight Twins Superbike class, James Randolph decimated the field (Yates called Randolph to make sure he’d be in attendance at the race), and went on to win three other WERA races this weekend at AutoClub Speedway. Still, Yates would go on to finish mid-pack, and eight seconds behind second place finisher Robert Swafford. In the WERA Heavyweight Twins Supersport class, Yates improved upon his position, finishing second and only four seconds back from the top podium step. Yates posted the fastest lap time in this class overall. It should be noted that for both races, other class bikes ran on the track, with Yates finishing in the top half of all the bikes racing in those races (overall race results: Superbike (Race 2b) & Supersport (Race 11)).

While the SWIGZ.com race team hasn’t released further information beyond what’s on Chip Yates’s Twitter feed, we have it on good authority that celebrations are taking place at an undisclosed Cheesecake Factory in Southern California. More info as we get it.

WERA Heavyweight Twins Superbike – Expert

Pos.No.RiderLapsTimeDiff. to LeaderBest LapAve. Lap Speed
1112James Randolph67:45.535-1:30.32399.642
2814Robert Swafford68:37.95152.4161:40.27389.755
3489Chip Yates68:45.9651:00.4301:41.13288.993
414Brian Larrabure68:47.3521:01.8171:40.15389.863
5117Jonathan Friesen68:53.5371:08.0021:42.68287.649
610Laszlo Romoda69:29.8831:44.3481:47.99683.336
7124Michael Quinn69:30.1491:44.6141:48.17383.200

WERA Heavyweight Twins Supersport – Expert

Pos.No.RiderLapsTimeDiff. to LeaderBest LapAve. Lap Speed
1775Jamie A. Riddle68:25.066-1:39.96990.028
2489Chip Yates68:30.0034.9371:39.79290.188
3176Stephen Foreman68:42.10317.0371:43.28787.136
4918John Kummer68:58.91833.8521:45.75585.102
599Michael Mamer68:59.16834.1021:45.25985.503
6368Alan Cunningham68:59.81434.7481:45.31985.455
7410Nathan Urbanovsky69:07.99942.9331:46.68984.357

Source: Chip Yates (Twitter); Title Photo: CaliPhotography; Photos: Julie Yates

Comment:

  1. Mark says:

    Congratulations to Chip Yates and his team, on a job well done. This is a great start to a whole new era, and I’m looking forward to even better in the future.

  2. Impressive and significant… despite looking quite goofy. Congrats to Chip Yates and the team.

  3. 76 says:

    Takes some big balls to do what hes doing, with what I heard was a lot of his own money. Cheers and congrats. Now will somebody give him enough dough so he can build one that dosent look like it should be delivering pizza’s please.

  4. MikeD says:

    COOL, great results and may he keep winning and proving his point… but no thanks. ICE for me.

  5. MikeD says:

    SUbjective & shallow, i know, but it looks like total POO to boot…main reason electrics don’t fly (with me)…most of it have the sex appeal of a Whirpool fridge.

  6. Christian says:

    race distances 20km… correct?

    nice performance, but where will they locate the other 180lbs of batteries to increase the range to 40km???

  7. Fontana is listed as 2.5 miles, 6 lap race, so that should be just over 24km. Not sure how much battery they drained during the race, but I might be able to pry that info out of Chip tomorrow.

  8. Steve says:

    So you spend all your time and money on your race bike and your blistering down the straightaway feeling like all your hard work has paid off. Then you’re passed by a 150 mph yellow mail box. You gotta love this sport…I sure do! Now I see why the mail is never late. Great job guys!!!! As far as the looks go….. Just Think of it as dancing with a real ugly girl who can dance like hell. I’m really impressed!!!!!

  9. Damo says:

    As battery life extends and weight goes down these stories will be an everyday occurrence. I am anticipate a Moto-Zero race segment in the near future :)

    Either way great job and congrats for the team.

    (P.S. Where’s my pizza?)

  10. SBPilot says:

    Hats off to him for doing this. As for looks goes, have ya’ll not seen the Mission R Super Electric Bike?
    It can be done, they can look good. No need to worry about that, I’m sure for Chip, it’s form following function at this early stage.

  11. Christian says:

    Is there something wrong with the results?
    6 laps each 100seconds are at least 600 seconds or 10min. race time, but the race time is only listed as 8:45min.

    is the average speed or the race time wrong?

    Thanks!

  12. D.Davis says:

    I guess, If electric bikes are the new thing, count me to remain with the old combustion engines. I have no desire for any vehicle that is electric especially motorcycles if they all whine like that bike does.

  13. Dr. Gellar says:

    Good job Chip…and congratulations!

    His bike may look like a flying yellow mailbox or pizza delivery motorcycle, but it would likely wipe the floor with any of the 2010 machines that both the TTXGP and FIM e-Power series had to offer. The electric competition must be breathing a sigh of relief, now that the SWIGZ.COM bike has been effectively banned from either series. A shame…as it would have forced them to up their game and improve the electric breed even further.

  14. Christian says:

    This bike exceeded the weight limits but has a range of 20-24km only, epower races have a length of 35-40km.

    Performance is related to race length.

    They can not carry enough batteries and I think the batteries they use will last not long, around 50cycles or less.

    So each charge is around 150-200$! For only 20-24km…

  15. CJark says:

    A historic day.

    I was at the race and talked with the team after their races. I overheard their tech say that they had 1.5AH left in the battery pack after the first race. That’s almost on “E” which is a good thing. You don’t want to have lots of extra power left over that might have otherwise been used. As far as the range goes and whether it could compete against the TTXGP bikes, remember that the controller can be easily adjusted to regulate power and therefore increase range.

    Electric bikes are just waiting on Battery technology to catch up… And they are getting better at an astounding rate. Imagine having a motogp bike but no fuel with you to put in the tank. Thats where electric powertrains are at right now. When the fuel gets here, look out.

  16. CJark says:

    *An historic day* oops.