Chip Yates Hits 190.6 MPH at the Mojave Mile Shootout

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Chip Yates and his crew might be SOL for the electric motorcycle racing season, after both the FIM and TTXGP lowered their maximum allowable weights for electric race motorcycle, but that hasn’t stopped the Southern Californian engineer from taking on the gasoline-powered bikes on their own turf. Already showing that his Pro Racing Electric Superbike can compete with the WERA racers in the Heavyweight Twins class, Yates was out at the Mojave Mile this weekend seeing what sort of top speeds his electric motorcycle could produce. The answer to that question is quite succinct: 190.6 MPH.

While the team is laying claim to the “Fastest Electric Motorcycle in the World” title, the distinction comes with a couple caveats as the Mojave Mile is a single-run event, meaning there’s no return-run the opposite direction that would meet the requirements for a land speed record (the official LSR for an electric motorcycle is 173.388 MPH). Additionally, previous top speed passes from other electric motorcycle makers have been conducted on salt flats, which typically suck 10% off the top speed compared to those run on asphalt. Still as Yates pointed out to us, the purpose of the entry was to prove his technology and see what bike would do, simply stating “it was a really fun weekend event” in his eyes.

No matter how many asterisks you put next to its name, one thing is for certain: the SWIGZ bike is one compelling motorcycle (note the absence of the word “electric”), and that’s sort of the whole point. Yates and his team have consistently been trying to change the perception of electric motorcycles, pitting their bike against ICE bikes wherever and whenever they can to show performance parity, and with a 190+ MPH trap speed, they’ve certainly achieved that goal in this regard.

For Yates the goal of hitting 200 MPH still remains, though the idea of setting an official land speed record seemed far from his mind, as a trip to El Mirage or Bonneville wasn’t on his calendar. According to Yates, the Pro Racing Electric Superbike admittedly has a bit further to go in order to break the 200 MPH mark. As he sped past the 170 MPH mark, Yates encountered a wobble from the electric motorcycle, which the team has narrowed down to being an aerodynamic issue because of the pizza box sized battery pack located on the rear of the machine.

Unfortunately for the team, circumstances saw their original generator become unavailable, and its replacement was not up to the task of charging the team’s lithium-ion battery packs. As such Yates ran the mile with only the power the team had charged before the event, and was limited to only two runs for the day. The SWIGZ team wasn’t able to implement some design changes to overcome the bike’s high-speed wobble, but laughing and joking that it’s not the prettiest machine out there, Yates seemed confident that the team could sort out their aerodynamics for a faster run again this season.

As for the team’s next undertaking, the race team will compete in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb later this summer, another venue where electrics can shine, and theoretically should perform better than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Yates also made mention of another return to Fontana, where he hopes to set an AMA qualifying lap time, proving that an electric motorcycle bike can lap quick enough to qualify for an AMA Pro Racing sanctioned Superbike race. More on both those events as we get them.

Source: Racing