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

A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

Colin Edwards Will Retire from Racing after 2014 Season

Announcing his decision during the pre-event press conference for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Colin Edwards told the assembled press that 2014 would be the Texan’s last season racing a motorcycle. Citing a lack of improvement on his performance in pre-season testing and at the Qatar GP, Edwards decision perhaps answers the lingering question in the paddock of when the American rider would hang-up his spurs after an illustrious career in AMA, WSBK and MotoGP. Talking about his inability to come to terms with the Forward Yamaha, which Aleix Espargaro was able to take to the front of the pack in Qatar, Edwards was at a loss when it came to understanding the Open Class machine and his lack of results.

MSF Updates Its Basic RiderCourse Curriculum

It is no surprise that statistics from the NHTSA show that motorcycle accidents and injuries are on the rise. According to the 2012 Motor Vehicle Crash report published by the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities for that year rose to 4,957, up seven percent from 2011, while injuries increased 15% to 93,000. While the NHTSA statistics are misleading because the motorcycle category includes mopeds, scooters, three-wheelers, pocket bikes, mini bikes, and off-road vehicles, new riders need every advantage they can afford. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has taken notice of these statistics and has revised the curriculum for its Basic RiderCourse to include a new Basic eCourse, which students will take prior to in-person instruction.

Yamaha Trademarks “R1S” & “R1M” at USPTO – “YZF-R1M” Trademarked Abroad – But Why?

Are new Yamaha YZF-R1 models coming down the pipe? That’s the question being asked after trademark filings in the US and abroad tipped off Yamaha Motor’s intention to use “R1S”, “R1M”, and “YZF-R1M” for motorcycle, scooter, and three-wheeled purposes. The filings are being taken as hints towards a possible multiple trim levels of the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, with the “S” and “M” designations being different spec machines than the current base model. The “S” nomenclature is a popular one in the two and four-wheeled world, though “M” would certainly be a novel designation, outside of say…BMW.

Bell & COTA Create Texas-Themed Limited-Edition Helmet

Continuing its theme of making limited-edition helmets for premier-class US rounds, Bell Helmets has teamed up with the Circuit of the Americas and Chris Wood, of Airtrix, to create a Texas-themed Bell Star Carbon helmet, just in time for COTA’s MotoGP race next weekend. Available only until April 13th, the Bell/COTA helmet features a red, white, and blue flag motif on the front, with both the American and State of Texas flags visible, which then wrap around the rear to merge with a hardwood design, reminiscent of the floorboards in a Western saloon. The helmet is also crowned with a Longhorn cattle skull, which adds to the Texan motif. The specially designed helmet also features a horseshoe, the COTA logo, and the 2014 Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas logo.

Aprilia Mounting a Return to MotoGP in 2016

Towards the end of the 800cc era, MotoGP looked to be in dire condition. Grids were dwindling, factories were reducing their participation, and teams were in difficult financial straits indeed. By the end of 2011, there were just 17 full time entries, Suzuki was down to a single rider, and were about to pull out entirely for 2012. How different the situation looks today. In a recent interview with the official website, Aprilia Corse’s new boss Romano Albesiano gave a brief outline of their plans. The Italian factory will continue to work with the IODA Racing team for 2014 to collect data on the electronics and tires, which they will use as input on an entirely new project being worked on for 2016.

This Is Pretty Much What the Monster 800 Will Look Like

With the advent of the Ducati Monster 1200, it was only a matter of time before Ducati’s middleweight liquid-cooled “Monster 800″ would be spotted, and unsurprisingly the machines have a great deal in common. The one big difference seems to be that the 821cc Monster gets a double-sided swingarm, which has become Ducati’s new way of differentiating between its big and medium displacement models of the same machine, see entry for Ducati 899 Panigale. With the spied Ducati Monster 800 looking ready for primetime, and a pre-fall launch isn’t out of the question. Giving us an excellent glimpse into what the Ducati Monster 800 would look like, Luca Bar has again used his Photoshop skills to render up images of the still unreleased “baby” Monster.

Photos of the Mugen Shinden Ni sans Fairings

Given the competitive nature of the electric racing realm, its rare to see the big high-power bikes without their fairings, as teams are reluctant to reveal their secret sauce. Debuting the Mugen Shinden San this past weekend in Tokyo though, Team Mugen did just that, giving us a glimpse into the inner workings of the team’s 2013 race bike, the Mugen Shinden Ni. You don’t have to be an electron-head to get excited by these photos, as any race bike with a carbon fiber frame and swingarm is pretty drool-worthy, though the Shinden Ni’s carbon fiber battery enclosure does hide a great deal of the electric superbike’s geek factor. While the sheer size of the battery bike is impressive, it was expected when the Shinden was first announced.

Mugen Shinden San (神電 参) Electric Superbike Revealed

Mugen’s third purpose-built electric superbike for the Isle of Man TT, the Mugen Shinden San, has been revealed in Japan. Campaigning two machines for this year’s TT Zero race, Mugen has John McGuiness and Bruce Anstey at the helm of its “Shinden San” bikes, as the duo looks for a one-two finish in this year’s race. With MotoCzysz not racing at the Isle of Man this year, Mugen is a hot favorite to take the top podium spots, as well as crack the 110 mph barrier for electrics on the historic Snaefell Mountain Course (Mugen is targeting a 115 mph lap). An evolution on the company’s previous designs, the Shinden San fits 134hp — 10hp more than last year, thanks to a new smaller three-phase brushless motor provided by Mission Motors — into its 529lbs bulk.

Trackside Tuesday: The Winning Personality of Jack Miller

Chatting with a couple of NASCAR fans recently, I was reminded that any competition is boring if you don’t care who wins. But if you do care, then even cars driving around in circles can be very compelling entertainment. Those NASCAR fans really cared about how their favorite drivers finished, and not only how they finished in the latest race, but what and how those drivers were doing off the track as well. Those fans had been captured by the personalities of those drivers. One of the things NASCAR does well is sell personalities. All major sports-related businesses do this to some extent, but some organizations do it better than others.

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 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 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. Rider Laps Time Diff. to Leader Best Lap Ave. Lap Speed
1 112 James Randolph 6 7:45.535 - 1:30.323 99.642
2 814 Robert Swafford 6 8:37.951 52.416 1:40.273 89.755
3 489 Chip Yates 6 8:45.965 1:00.430 1:41.132 88.993
4 14 Brian Larrabure 6 8:47.352 1:01.817 1:40.153 89.863
5 117 Jonathan Friesen 6 8:53.537 1:08.002 1:42.682 87.649
6 10 Laszlo Romoda 6 9:29.883 1:44.348 1:47.996 83.336
7 124 Michael Quinn 6 9:30.149 1:44.614 1:48.173 83.200

WERA Heavyweight Twins Supersport – Expert

Pos. No. Rider Laps Time Diff. to Leader Best Lap Ave. Lap Speed
1 775 Jamie A. Riddle 6 8:25.066 - 1:39.969 90.028
2 489 Chip Yates 6 8:30.003 4.937 1:39.792 90.188
3 176 Stephen Foreman 6 8:42.103 17.037 1:43.287 87.136
4 918 John Kummer 6 8:58.918 33.852 1:45.755 85.102
5 99 Michael Mamer 6 8:59.168 34.102 1:45.259 85.503
6 368 Alan Cunningham 6 8:59.814 34.748 1:45.319 85.455
7 410 Nathan Urbanovsky 6 9:07.999 42.933 1:46.689 84.357

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


  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?


  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.