Gas vs. Electric: Chip Yates Takes Podium Finishes in WERA Heavyweight Twins at Fontana [UPDATED]

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UPDATE: Race results from both races, video of the first race, and a photo from SWIGZ Racing.

Reports are coming in from Fontana (AutoClub Speedway if you will) this evening, where Chip Yates the SWIGZ Racing team were competing against the gasoline-powered liter bike v-twins in the WERA Heavyweight Twins Superbike & Superstock race classes earlier today. Hitting at one point 158mph on the banked walls of Fontana, Yates finished an impressive 2nd place in the WERA Heavyweight Twins Superstock class, and had another podium finish (3rd place) in the WERA Heavyweight Twins Superbike class, racing against KTM RC8 and Ducati 1198 Superbikes.

The race team set a best lap of 1:39 at AutoClub Speedway with Chip Yates at the helm, roughly eight seconds faster than the practice laps Yates set on Saturday at Fontana. Not everything was smooth sailing though, as the team battled a problematic cell in the battery pack, which had the potential of causing futher issues within the electric race bike. Having to miss the rest of Saturday’s afternoon practice, and fix the cell back the at SWIGZ race shop, Yates clocked a total of 14 laps from his combined outings at Infineon Raceway and AutoClub Speedway before today’s race.

From these testing sessions, we can see that the SWIGZ team has continued to improve upon its electric race bike, as the team has relocated about 1/3 of the bike’s battery packs to the “fuel tank area” on the motorcycle, helping distribute the weight of the batteries more evenly on the bike. The SWIGZ bike had roughly 180 lbs of batteries on-board, sitting essentially where a pillion would go while at Infineon, meaning that Yates likely had to battle with front-end traction issues with all the batteries sitting in that location. Now with more of that weight farther forward, the SWIGZ race bike should have provided better feedback and handled better on the race course this weekend.

For the WERA Heavyweight Twins Superbike class, James Randolph decimated the field (Yates called Randolph to make sure he’d be in attendance at the race), and went on to win three other WERA races this weekend at AutoClub Speedway. Still, Yates would go on to finish mid-pack, and eight seconds behind second place finisher Robert Swafford. In the WERA Heavyweight Twins Supersport class, Yates improved upon his position, finishing second and only four seconds back from the top podium step. Yates posted the fastest lap time in this class overall. It should be noted that for both races, other class bikes ran on the track, with Yates finishing in the top half of all the bikes racing in those races (overall race results: Superbike (Race 2b) & Supersport (Race 11)).

While the race team hasn’t released further information beyond what’s on Chip Yates’s Twitter feed, we have it on good authority that celebrations are taking place at an undisclosed Cheesecake Factory in Southern California. More info as we get it.

WERA Heavyweight Twins Superbike – Expert

Pos. No. Rider Laps Time Diff. to Leader Best Lap Ave. Lap Speed
1 112 James Randolph 6 7:45.535 1:30.323 99.642
2 814 Robert Swafford 6 8:37.951 52.416 1:40.273 89.755
3 489 Chip Yates 6 8:45.965 1:00.430 1:41.132 88.993
4 14 Brian Larrabure 6 8:47.352 1:01.817 1:40.153 89.863
5 117 Jonathan Friesen 6 8:53.537 1:08.002 1:42.682 87.649
6 10 Laszlo Romoda 6 9:29.883 1:44.348 1:47.996 83.336
7 124 Michael Quinn 6 9:30.149 1:44.614 1:48.173 83.200

WERA Heavyweight Twins Supersport – Expert

Pos. No. Rider Laps Time Diff. to Leader Best Lap Ave. Lap Speed
1 775 Jamie A. Riddle 6 8:25.066 1:39.969 90.028
2 489 Chip Yates 6 8:30.003 4.937 1:39.792 90.188
3 176 Stephen Foreman 6 8:42.103 17.037 1:43.287 87.136
4 918 John Kummer 6 8:58.918 33.852 1:45.755 85.102
5 99 Michael Mamer 6 8:59.168 34.102 1:45.259 85.503
6 368 Alan Cunningham 6 8:59.814 34.748 1:45.319 85.455
7 410 Nathan Urbanovsky 6 9:07.999 42.933 1:46.689 84.357

Source: Chip Yates (Twitter); Title Photo: CaliPhotography; Photos: Julie Yates