Gas vs. Electric: AFM Homologates the Brammo Empulse

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While the FIM & TTXGP have put aside their differences, when it comes to managing an all-electric motorcycle racing championship, other established racing organizations are starting to warm-up to the idea of electric motorcycles lining up on their previously petrol-only starting grids.

We already saw Chip Yates take on the dino-fueled entries in WERA’s Heavyweight Twins class, with a substantial amount of success, and now more EV racers will get a chance to take a charge (ahem) at the competition, as the American Federation of Motorcyclists (AFM) has allowed the various iterations of the Brammo Empulse to race in its racing classes.

“This announcement is a true milestone in the history of electric motorcycle racing as an opportunity for our bikes to compete amongst their gas powered counterparts on even terms rather than just as an exhibition or in a single race,” explained Director of Product Development for Brammo Brian Wismann. “It’s going to be a challenge to be competitive as the gas bikes have about 100 years of development time on us, but we’re excited about the chance to pit the Brammo Empulse against the best efforts from Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha.”

“What caught AFM’s attention about Brammo’s approach was that they were not asking for a separate class, but were instead looking to have a chance for their bikes to compete within the existing class structure and go head to head with gas-powered bikes of similar performance and power-to-weight,” added President of AFM Racing Berto Wooldridge. “We believe this to be a historic moment in motorcycle racing and are happy to have made it possible.”

Would-be electric racers can choose from the Brammo Empulse R street bike, Brammo Empulse TTX production racer (a Brammo Empulse R stripped of its street components), and Brammo Empulse RR race bike. To help sweeten the deal, Brammo is offering some contingency prize money for racers, specifics of which will be posted on the AFM website at a later time, but are expected to be comparable to purses from other OEMs.

Though Team ICON Brammo will contest in all of the upcoming North American FIM/TTXGP rounds in the 2013 season, the team also aims to race in as many AFM rounds as possible as well. Accordingly, we expect to see Shelina Moreda on the Empulse TTX and Steve Atlas on the Brammo Empulse RR.

While it remains to be seen how the Brammo Empulse will stack up against its gasoline-powered counterparts, from our perspective this is a good step forward for electrics, as their primary measuring stick will be against the petrol bikes they aim to replace, and what better way to make that measurement, than on the race track?

Race Classes that Allow the Brammo Empulse R & Brammo Empulse TTX:

  • 250 Superbike
  • 500 Twins
  • 450 Superbike
  • Clubman Lightweight
  • Formula 40 Lightweight
  • Formula AFemme
  • Formual 50

Race Classes that Allow the Brammo Empulse RR:

  • Formula 1
  • Formula Pacific
  • Clubman Middleweight
  • Formula 40 Middleweight
  • Formula AFemme
  • Formula 50
  • 750 Superbike

Source: Brammo; Photo: © 2012 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0