Bad news for electric motorcycle race fans, as the organizers of the Isle of Man TT have announced that they will no longer hold the TT Zero event for the 2020 and 2021 editions of the iconic road race.
The Isle of Man’s Department of Enterprise says in a press release that it has become “increasingly challenging” to run the electric class and to find competitors for it each year.
Of course, anyone watching the TT Zero race will see that the only promising entries came from the Mugen team, that the starting grids were single-digits in number, and that both factors made for lackluster viewing.
The Isle of Man accordingly is going to hold a moratorium on the race for the next two years, as the Department of Enterprise engages with stakeholders, teams, and manufacturers, to see how the class can be developed and expanded.
What this means in reality though is that the Isle of Man TT will abdicated its throne as being the most important electric motorcycle racing event in the world, though one could already see pressure to that title being applied by the FIM MotoE World Cup.
Though the lap times at the Isle of Man TT have been dropping consistently each year for the TT Zero event, with the current record at 121.824 mph, the amount of money and technical skill required to compete on the 37-mile course is tremendous, and one could argue that it is beyond most racing efforts.
This means that only factory-level entries could really compete at the TT Zero race in a way that was meaningful not only for the TT itself, but also for fans. Now 10 years into it, and with only one real ongoing factory effort, the TT Zero was always struggling to justify its existence.
And one can presume, that without a true competitor lining up on the grid next to them, the team at Mugen was having a hard time justifying the expense and effort to effective race themselves with multi-bike entries.
With racing efforts from the establish OEMs not coming forth, including the electric brands like Alta, Energica, and Zero, there was never enough of an industry push to keep the TT Zero race on the calendar. We suspect, this is where the TT organizers landed in their own assessments of the race.
Hopefully in two years’ time though, the TT will find more stakeholders for the series, and more brands will compete. The Mountain Course at the Isle of Man has become a crucible for electric motorcycles, and we hope to see it continue to challenge and push this budding space in the motorcycle industry.
Source: Isle of Man TT; Photo: © 2019 Steve English / Asphalt & Rubber – All Rights Reserved