A Postscript on e-Power at Laguna Seca

07/29/2010 @ 12:17 pm, by Jensen Beeler14 COMMENTS

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.

  • I bought an Ohlins shock off of Christian A. He’s good people. :)

  • Awesome story, great show Hatfield!

    Somewhere I read that the part was loaned from the K Squared team but I guess that was wrong.

  • mbiedka

    This is what I grew up learning about motorcycle people.
    That they are some of the best people you can ever know.
    Motorcycle people (of I am one ) will loan you the shirt off their back or their only back up motor if it means more people can play :)
    Bravo! Richard and Victor from Lightning in continuing our traditions and being the best in Electric sportsmanship,
    and Bravo to Christian and his team for exhibiting the internal fortitude and genuine stick tuitivnes ( sp?) it takes to be a Motorcycle competitor.
    This is why we do what we do…

  • eric

    Pure class. Bravo to both teams. This is what it’s all about.

  • This is a real story, I can`t imagine that all this happend within the last two weeks.

    Two weeks ago I had no confirmed flight tickets…

    Just one correction, my boths and helmet arrived with the bike, but my leathers where lost by DHL Express in germany, so I bought a new set on monday (we started tuesday at 7a.m.)

    My motor blowed also of, so I bought a new Agni from Kenyon Kluge (Zero) for a very good price, the controller was from Lightning, many thanks to them!

    My mounting (cooling) plate was not big enough, so the controller was to hot and switched off twice, I had to stop and restart it. The controller was a very big kelly (1200Amps), the setup of the maximum amps was a gamble.

    My cooling system for the lmc motor was not working with the agni, so the temperature was very hot and I had to lower my speed. But I finished over 75% of the race and got eight points for the eight place, this was very important.

    I hope I will be back on the podium :-)

    My bike is great and the corkscrew was a lot of fun!

    Best regards

  • Parts were loaned from both Lightning Motors and K Squared Racing. This sort of thing has been routine in the TTXGP North America races and I believe common also in TT-Zero, TTXGP UK, other e-Power and so on. Your article prompted me to write up a story from Mosport which I’ve been been wanting to tell. See: Cooperation while competing in both TTXGP and e-Power electric motorcycle race series

  • Terry Lemmons

    Stood at the corkscrew for the face , they need to put playing cards in the spokes so we can hear them coming.

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  • Doctor Jelly

    Feel good story, yay, don’t care. Now tell me more about this banana dirtbike!

  • Jelly, the other Lightning Motors bike in question was not a dirt bike but a flat track bike. I wrote an article about that very bike last spring: Making history with electric motorcycle racing It has an Agni motor and a 1000 watt Kelly controller in a very compact motorcycle.

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  • Are there any other articles you’d like to hock on here David?

  • mom

    Im very proud of lighting motors and the work they have done to get this far with electric motorcycles. The sweat and tears pay off.