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

  • How fast are they compared to the gas powered?

  • Nick

    Saw it reported that Rapp did a 1:31 in qualy so slower for sure, but getting there.

  • Jon

    I read somewhere that Rapp’s qualifying times were comparable to AMA Supersport. I think they said it would have placed him something like 13th on the gird.

  • Doctor Jelly

    I’m glad Mission has finally brought a product to the grid and even more glad it doesn’t look like their first bike! MotoCzysz’s dominance is in question and they may be dethroned if Mission is at the next IoM!

  • “You read somewhere” should be replaced with “you read here” – http://www.asphaltandrubber.com/racing/mission-motors-supesport-pace/

    Track’s internet went down for a better part of the day, it’s a small miracle this article went out. I’ll update it tonight with the full results table.

  • Rich

    1’31.376 would have put Rapp and the Mission 4th on the grid of SS, and 20th on the DSB grid. In the race Rapp ran 1:33s to 1:34s while he was way out front. Only e-bikes were suppose did 8 laps, and SS did 18, and DSB were suppose to do 23. It is relatively easy to put big power in these bikes. It’s just they can’t go that fast as far. However the biggest “fuel tank” was .43 gallons of gas (14.4kwhr). DSB requires stock tanks. So some quick math (33.7kWhr per gallon, ICE eff 30%, elec.eff 95%, 4.5 gal gsx-r600 tank) electric bikes only need 1.42 gals of fuel to go as far and fast around the track. That’s about a 47.9 kWhr pack. That technology is years away still, but I wouldn’t be too surprised to see 20kWhr packs next year or two that are the same size as the current ones, and maybe lighter with some of the technology that more than one company is claiming they have right now.

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  • Tessier

    To bad we can’t see Chip Yates compete they we might have a great race since he is the one racing ICE bikes!

  • rollme

    I wonder if Czysz will be putting a professional on his bike from now on.

  • KyleG


    I would think an ICE engine is more like 15-20% efficient under racing loads. The electrics are going to be more like 85-90% as well. Nonetheless you are correct that to compete directly with gas bikes, electrics would need north of 20kWh. But why would electrics want to compete against them? We race electric because its different, clean, and has a big future. Racing against gas bikes is not an ultimate goal for a lot of electrics IMHO

  • Czysz said in the post-race press conference that he’d be hiring a pro rider next year.

  • Dr. Gellar

    Watching the race from just in front of Turn 4, I was totally surprised by Rapp’s speed on the Mission R. Holy s**t that bike was flying around that corner! He was noticeably faster there than both Czysz and Barnes on the MotoCzysz and Lightning bikes respectively. Those guys got beaten bad. I do wonder how much of that performance was due to Rapp’s riding skills vs. any superiority of the Mission R compared to the E1pc and the Lightning. I’m a big MotoCzysz fan, but congratulations to Rapp and Mission on the win.