TTXGP’s inaugural North American race is in the bag at Infineon, as race fans got to see two close battles for first and third place this weekend. Blasting off the line was the yellow Lightning Motors bike, or the “Flying Banana” as it’s become known here in the paddock. Lightning’s rider, Michael Barnes, made quick work of Shawn Higbee and his Zero/Agni race bike off the line and on the straights, showing a very strong power package.

With all the power on-board though, Barney was limited  by his heavy and bulky bike, and wasn’t able to carry that speed into the corners as well as Higbee and his more slight Agni bike. Higbee, known for carrying a lot of corner speed, made up a lot of ground on Lightning, making it a close battle between the two riders.

Unfortunately for Barnes, the Lightning Motors bike tripped its power sensors, causing Barney to have to reset 10 different circuits, before “control-alt-deleting” the bike back to life. This put the Flying Banana a lap down from Zero/Agni, who went on to take a comfortable victory.

Taking third for the day, Mike Hannas and the Electric Race Bike entry also looked very strong during the race, with their Yamaha TZ 250 based entry. Again the lightweight formula proved to be a winner at Infineon, which is a very technical course that has large changes in elevation. Hannas was able to fend off Jennifer Bromme from Werkstatt Racing and her Mavizen TTX02, finishing 18 seconds ahead of Werkstatt.

The big disappointment for the day was the DNF by Thad Wolff, which was only able to complete three laps of the race. We also did not get to see Chip Yates and the SWIGZ bike take to the track, although the bike was in the paddock. Both bikes had a lot of power on board, and were favored to do well this weekend. Wolff qualified third on the grid, and turned more than a few heads with his Norton chassis bike.

While the level of competitiveness varied amongst the contenders, Higbee’s and Barnes’ laps proved to many that electric bikes can run quickly on a road course. Higbee’s top time was 18 seconds off the AMA Daytona Superbike top time, and the Zero/Agni bike averaged just under 60 mph at Infineon (AMA riders average over 85 mph at Infineon). Still there are plenty of doubts about electrics, as the majority of the TTXGP field lapped Infineon at a far less impressive paces than the front-runners.

Given the amount of time, energy, and money that went into all these race bikes, it’s a high-hurdle that teams have to go through in order to begin to match ICE performance characteristics, which really is the high-water threshold that this sport needs to reach in order to be taken seriously by mainstream racing fans.

Is electric motorcycle racing a fad or the future? It depends on who you ask. The local gentry at Infineon would seem unaffected by today’s race, but there were more than just the 10 people on the starting grid today that thought otherwise. Only time will tell.

Pos. No. Rider Team Time Diff.
1 22 Shawn Higbee Zerp/Agni 25.33.626
2 80 Michael Barnes Lightning 25:51.8 1 Lap
3 15 Mike Hannas Electric Race Bike 26:44.2 1 Lap
4 23 Jennifer Bromme Werkstatt 26:57.7 1 Lap
5 14 Kenyon Kluge K Squared 29:54.6 1 Lap
6 18 Zoe Rem Pril Motors 2 Laps
7 16 John Wild Square Wave 3 Laps
8 20 Jason Lauritzen Electric Motor Sports 3 Laps
Not Classified
DNF 19 Spencer Smith Volt Motors
DNF 37 Thad Wolff Team Electra

Photos: © 2010 Dustin Gibbs & Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & RubberCreative Commons 3.0

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  • Doctor Jelly

    Absolutely it’s the future, just give it some more time. Internal combustion engines have had over a century of development and have pretty much topped out in terms of any real improvements that can be made today. Electric rigs have barely begun! What is available right now technology wise for electric development is the equivalent to H-D’s infamous ‘tomato can’ carburetor. In less than 50 years electrics will displace fossil fueled rigs, just like horses were displaced by the ICE.

    Beyond that, I still have my hopes up for MotoCzysz becoming the standard for electric race bikes. I guess we’ll see what they can do later this year…

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  • Mark B

    I love A&R, a top site…… so why does 75% of it’s recent content seem to be electric?
    Battery power is not the future. some other non fossil fuel will be, whether it’s fuel cell or whichever, but why the huge coverage from A&R? Is there no other news in motorcycling currently (did you see what I did there, with that electrifying pun? Oh no, I did it again……)

  • It’s difficult to keep things in perspective. This is a sport that did not exist a year ago. A little better than a century ago, “high tech” was manually advancing your ignition and squirting oil on moving parts in your total loss engine lubricating system. This sport is already evolving 100 times faster than in the days of your great grandfather’s board tracker. Glitches will happen, bikes will die on the track, and riders will be resetting breakers. But within months, or maybe even weeks, performance and reliability will continue to improve another order of magnitude. Next year this will be a completely different race. Congratulations to all the pioneers who participated in the TTXGP this weekend.

  • Jenny, I think you should hire Gibbs. He’s clearly an impressive photographer. And props on the first-hand coverage!

  • @Mark B: It’s two things really. First, I really do think electrics are the future (this industry still has A LOT of growth growing up to do though), so we as a site want to follow that progression to some degree, hence why we have an “Electric” tab in the post sorter.

    Also, the recent plethora of posts is due to the fact that the first US race just concluded, and it was held practically in A&R’s backyard. We’re seeing a lot of entries for the first time, so there’s news around teams that are coming out of stealth-mode and the woodwork, which we want to cover as well.

    With the race at Infineon done, and most of the surprises of the year out of the way, you’ll probably see more familiar news topics this week and on.

  • Sam

    For those of us not entirely familar with Infineon raceway, what sort of time would a standard production supersport bike (ZX6 or R6 etc) lap the track in?

  • Out of the AMA Supersport riders, the lap times were 1:40.3 (1st Place: Beaubier) to 1:49.9 (16th Place: Fabregas) if that provides some perspective. I couldn’t comment on what a mortal man does for a lap time, I’ve never ridden the course.

  • Doctor Jelly

    Electric lap times for comparison:

    Fastest lap: Shawn Higbee 1:56.948
    Slowest fast lap: John Wild 2:44.726

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  • Congrats to the Organisers, TTXGP, and all teams, I wish I could have been there to witness all this. I so wish people would realise this is the NOW and FUTURE of motorsport.