In the flurry of press releases sent out by TTXGP regarding what teams were signing up for its racing events, TTXGP mentioned that several teams had agreed to exclusive deals to compete only in the TTXGP series of races. At the time, this meant that the teams would be racing in their local TTXGP series events, the Isle of Man, and possibly at the Championship event in Spain. However with the announcement that TT Zero would replace TTXGP at the Isle of Man, teams that were hoping to race at the Isle of Man, may find themselves precluded from the event because of these prior obligations. Talking to a number of American electric motorcycle teams this past week, it is clear the first priority for all these teams is to race at the venues where the best competition will be…wherever that may be.
For many teams the Isle of Man represents the pinnacle of electric motorcycle racing. Having already run the Mountain Course before, there is a tangible baseline in electric racing that is defined by the historic course. On top of this, the Isle of Man offers an opportunity for teams around the world to compete against each other in a race that has gained a great deal of exposure over the past year, and is a known entity to everyday motorcyclists.
For the teams involved this presents a quandary on where to race, and who will be there…an issue most of these teams would rather not face. For example Edward West President of Mission Motors, and the man in charge of Mission’s racing efforts, expressed to us a sentiment that we’ve heard variations of from a number of American based electric motorcycle teams, “We have very little interest in the politics of the situation. What we are interested in is racing, and we’re interested in pushing forward this technological envelope with the best competition in the world”
Where the competition will be is the uncertainty. A lot remains to be seen as to where Brammo and MotoCzysz will decide to race. It seems unlikely that either team would miss a opportunity to race at the TTXGP opener at Infineon in May, especially since Zero and Mission Motors will be there and track is just “down the road” from them. However it also is hard to think that the Oregon crew will miss out on tackling the Isle of Man as well this year, as both teams are rumored to have new bikes in the works, and have much prove with a year’s worth of time to refine and build new race bikes.
For a team like Mission Motors, the road is less clear. With an exclusivity presumably keeping them from racing again at the TT Zero event, they may be precluded from racing with the best caliber of racers available. However, with the changes in the electric racing climate, some could say that TTXGP’s ousting from the Isle of Man is a material change to any agreement made.
Whatever the reasoning, the TT Zero announcement is enough to give Mission Motors pause, as Edward West told us, “there was a sea of change in my mind when they lost their crown jewel event…and that is something that we are absolutely reconsidering right now, as a result of the fallout from the TT Zero decision.” Knowing that Brammo, MotoCzysz, Agni, and others will likely be at the Isle of Man this year, it would seem Mission would be better placed racing against the best competitors on the Island, rather than racing around Road America by themselves. Who knows what final decision they will make, but we’re expecting a very quiet race in Wisconsin later this year.