MotoCzysz Wins e-Power at Laguna Seca

07/26/2010 @ 10:48 am, by Jensen Beeler9 COMMENTS

The FIM’s e-Power Championship came to American soil this weekend, as the series piggybacked off the Red Bull US GP. Twelve teams from around the world arrived at Laguna Seca to test their mettle against the historic and technical track. While the racing would technically be bike against bike, the undulating tarmac of Seca was certainly also an adversary as well.

Lightning Motors and Michael Barnes took the pole position during Saturday’s qualifying, leaving MotoCzysz and Michael Czysz relegated to the second position on the starting line. Coming from behind on Sunday’s race, MotoCzysz won the e-Power race at Laguna Seca with a dramatic pass just 10 feet from the finish line.

For MotoCzysz, the victory was another notch in the belt, as the team recently won at the TT Zero event at the Isle of Man. For Michael Czysz the race didn’t come easily though. Popping a circuit on the start, Czysz had to reboot the E1pc before he could get underway, and found himself lapping in third place. “By Turn 1 I’m way deep in third position, and Barney has a five six second lead…and the whole goal there is not to panic, and to start laying out your game plan.” Over the first few laps, Barnes and the “Flying Banana” were able to gap Czysz consistently, taking an almost 10 second lead by the third lap.

This margin would remain until the the sixth lap when the Lightning Motors bike started suffering from a loss in power, which allowed Czysz to start chipping away at Barnes’ pace, a few tenths at a time at each timing station. “I saw that it [lap time gap] was starting to come back , and I know what the shape of the battery fall-off looks like. We were designed and calibrated to not hit that knee point, and I though ‘he’s at that knee point’, and from there it degrades quite quick,” explains Czysz.

By the seventh lap, Czysz was over a second quicker than Barnes, but with such a large lead and only a few laps remaining, it seemed the Flying Banana had struck again. Crossing the bridge over the front straight for the final time, Czysz was 6.7 seconds behind Barnes, but as he entered into the first timing station, another second had disappeared on that gap. The Lightning bike was slowing. “There was a slight power decrease about 75% of the way through the race, and then about the last lap I really noticed a 40% decrease in power,” said Barnes.

At the third timing station, Czysz was only behind Barnes by 3.6 seconds, and on a charge forward. The two bikes came down the front straight together, and 10 feet from the finish line, Czysz passed Barnes for the race win. For Czysz’s liking, the battery fall-off could have come a little bit earlier, but he still set his fastest time on the last lap. With all of these factors working out to create a last-minute pass, Czysz exclaimed “It’s about as exciting as you can get!”

“I didn’t think we were going to slow down that much on the last lap, but we did,” Barnes exclaimed. “We would have been fine no problem with the race distance of 9 laps, but the sighting and the warm-up lap is what took our race win away. We just have to figure out a way…you know that’s just the FIM rules and we have to go by them just like everyone else.” Barnes and Lightning Motors have won the last two races in the TTXGP series, and will likely take the North American TTXGP Championship at VIR in a couple weeks. Czysz has not yet stated what his next plans for the rest of the electric racing season.

Race Results from e-Power at Laguna Seca, California:

Pos. No. Rider Nation Team Time Diff.
1 3 Michael CZYSZ USA MotoCzysz 16’02.596
2 80 Michael BARNES USA Lightning Motorcycles 16’03.834 1.238
3 22 Thijs DE RIDDER BEL Crystalite Racing 16’39.245 36.649
4 115 Thomas BETTI ITA Betti Moto 17’35.820 1’33.224
5 49 Matthias HIMMELMANN GER Münch Racing Team 17’36.067 1’33.471
6 38 Luciano BETTI ITA Betti Moto 17’55.215 1’52.619
7 15 Mike HANNAS USA EGP 17’32.355 1 lap
8 17 Christian AMENDT GER 16’03.198 2 laps
Did Not Start
DNS 8 Ely SCHLESS USA Pro Moto Racing

Good Photos: © 2010 Scott Jones Photography; Not So Good Photos: Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

  • Unfortunately, I witnessed, first hand, the massive exodus/collective beer run as the ebikes took the track. A larger field will certainly help, but the overall consensus of race fans was that the time for ebikes has, clearly, not yet arrived.

    Michael Barnes running away and leaving all others for dead was impressive though! Sadly, running out of juice (joules) on the last lap ended what was otherwise an impressive ride.

    In my opinion, SuperMoto, a short MX or flat-track might be a better entry point for ebikes. Having them run with MotoGP, AMA Superbikes and Daytona Sportbikes (or Moto2) is much like having a flea cirrus at the Greatest Show on Earth. It doesn’t seem fair to the riders and the teams, with all their hard work and R&D to be put on the same stage.

  • Rob

    any chance of a video of atleast the last lap of the race?

  • That’s up to the good graces of the FIM. I do believe they’ll be releasing one soon.

  • FOD

    Another issue I saw was the HUGE differential between the fast and slow bikes. The pole sitter was 48 seconds faster than the slowest bike, and with that huge differential, came boring racing. I think a spec class for e-bikes would be a lot more interesting. Pit 12-15 riders against each other on equally prepared bikes, and you would definitely have a lot more excitement. One final word about the race. My friend and I watched the whole thing and one aspect we really missed was sound. It was fun to watch this from a technological point of view, but we both REALLY missed the sound of a screaming internal combustion race engine, popping, and burbling, and cracking. Without the sound, it just didn’t seem as much fun. I think the future is bright for these machines, but we’re a long way off from truly entertaining racing.

  • With respect, firstly a huge congratulations to Michael Czysz and team for doubling up after the win I witnessed this year at the Isle of Man, TT2010, again with respect why has no poster here at least acknowledged the WIN by Michael.

    Maybe just maybe posters here need to look a lot deeper at the level of technology and commitment some of the teams have in ZEV racing. It is the future of all forms of motorsport including Road, MX etc as noise and pollution issues (mainly) continue to see so many motorsport tracks close due to pressure from dogooders etc.

    Please check out my records of the TT2010 ZEV race and pit records here…

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  • FOD

    First off, I did not mean to snub Michael Czysz by not congratulating him in my post, so congrats on the win! Second, though I agree that noise issues are a problem for some motorsport parks, I was purely making an observation/comment that bike noise sounds great and adds to the experience. Finally, I fully agree that the commitment of these small companies is phenomenal, but I stand by my comment that the racing was boring. Watching bikes whir by at ten second intervals (with the exception of the final lap) does not make for good entertainment, and entertainment is what brings folks to the track. I never want to see us devolve to a NASCAR level from an entertainment standpoint, but the race has to be interesting, and judging by the fan reaction on Sunday, it really wasn’t.

  • I thought that Race yesterday was amazing. Barnes looked so great on that bike and to see how far that bike has gone in just 3 races if you watch the first race video and Infineon. I was proud of Barnes and his team for improving so much. From the note who suggested these teams don’t put hard work into making these machines that have never existed, and doing so on a fraction of any factory Moto GP team, I bet the people putting these bikes together are doing a ridiculous amount of hard work and pioneering.

    In terms of the sound it is all relative, compared to a Moto GP bike, those AMA bikes gave the feeling of a 4 year old on a tricycle, and everyone but us hates the sound of those bikes and have made laws to limit Laguna Seca to that handle of unrestricted races they are allowed to have. Its all a mental associations. I listed to the sound of the A123 drag motorcycle rip off the track and when you get used to that kind of hissing sound of all that power burning the rubber, the your ears become fine tuned for that different power sound. It is not Moto GP bike, but nothing is, compared to the Moto GP bikes, the fans were fast asleep watching the good AMA racing as far as noting the fans who didn’t know what to do watching the electric bikes.

    lastly, in terms the quality of the racing, I think the E-bikes has just as many passes as the Moto GP race, that that’s counting a rider blowing a turn as a pass… It was not the most brag-able Moto GP race for sure.

    Good job Barnes and Czysz those bikes were great to watch, great first season.