A Postscript on e-Power at Laguna Seca

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Asphalt & Rubber got this email late last night from one of the competitors at the e-Power race at Laguna Seca this past weekend. It shows a rare glimpse into the electric racing scene, that even our own coverage can’t compare to in storytelling ability. The letter talks about sportsmanship: the sportsmanship that riders and teams share with each other, but also more importantly the sportsmanship that makes others take notice, and strive to be better. Read the letter after the jump.

Here is a little story from the recent ePower race. The last place finisher was a young man from Germany, by the name of Christian Amendt. This young man and his team had been competing in the epower series in Europe, on a bike they built themselves. Because FIM is seriously interested in promoting the electric bike series, they offered some small subsidies to European teams to help get them to Laguna Seca, which made it possible for Christian and his team to travel to the US and compete at Laguna Seca. That was the start of the saga.

Christian and his team bought their airline tickets from a small discount agency. Unfortunately, the agency went bust, and the tickets went with it, leaving Christian and his team high and dry. The FIM stepped in and loaned them the money for a new set of tickets. So far so good.

When they arrived in the US, they found that all of their riding gear had been lost. Somehow they were able to find leathers, boots and a helmet that fit and that they could afford. Somehow, they were able to make the grid for the free practice and were able to qualify for the race-day grid.

The day before the race, Christian took the bike out during qualifying to try for a better time and get in some laps, only to have their electronic controller fail. They did not have a spare, and this is not the sort of thing you can find at the local Home Depot. Basically, this final blow should have been the end for this team.

However, the story of this teams dreadful luck began to circulate in the ePower paddock, and reached the Lightning Electric Motorcycle pit area. As it happened, Lightning had a prototype electric off road bike in it’s van that had a very similar controller to the one that was needed. Without a second thought, Richard Hatfield, of Lightning, wheeled the bike over to Christians pit and offered to loan them the controller. All they had to do was break down the Lightning bike and remove the controller, break down their bike and swap out the controller, reassemble their bike, and get it to the grid in time to race.

Christian and his crew worked all afternoon and into the night, and were at it again early next morning. After all they had been though, no one would have faulted them for throwing in the towel at that point, but that is not what they did. They simply went to work, tore down the two bikes and reassembled their race bike with the Lightning controller. With only moments to spare, they rolled out onto the track and joined the grid. They went on to finish in last place, but they did compete, and they did finish.

At the end of the race they rolled their bike back into their paddock and began to tear it down once again and reassemble the Lightning bike. They returned it later that afternoon, fully assembled and running, to the Lightning paddock. They did not make it to the podium this time, but they certainly proved that they are winners.