TTXGP: Brammo Wins at Infineon

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With rain threatening to put the kibosh on the West Coast Moto Jam’s Sunday events, the first of two scheduled TTXGP races was moved up to Saturday afternoon under the cooling wine country skies of Sonoma. With only four bikes taking to the starting grid (Lightning Motors’ two bikes were scratches, as was the Mission R by Mission Motors), it was a sparse showing for the first electric race of the 2011 season, which was disappointing considering Infineon’s proximity to a number of strong electric motorcycle entities.

Taking the overall win was Brammo Racing, which had motorcycle-racer-turned-motorcycle-journalist Steve Atlas at the helm of the Brammo Empulse RR. Brammo competed with Moto Electra’s Thad Wolff for the overall unlimited TTXGP class, while Kenyon Kluge on the VOLT bike finished third overall, besting Ely Schless and his Proto Moto bike in the Formula TTX75 class. Completing eight laps, Atlas took the Brammo Empulse RR to the winner’s circle with a 25 second gap and a best lap time of 1:57.875.

Today’s race at Infineon was a mixed bag at best. With only four bikes on the grid, two in each class, exciting and close racing was almost assured not to appear. Even the originally planned seven-bike grid was under-populated for what you would hope for in a race, and the absence of  high-profile teams like Agni, Lightning, Mission Motors, MotoCzysz, and Zero made Brammo’s first re-entry into racing since the very first TTXGP at the Isle of Man underwhelming. The team was deservedly all smiles in the winner’s circle though.

Dominating the field, even the performance of the Brammo Empulse RR was a disappointment for those hoping to see a progression in lap times from electrics. Posting a 1:57.875 best lap time during the race, Brammo and Steve Atlas were roughly a second off the best lap time from last year’s TTXGP race (1:56.948), which was set by the race winner Shawn Higbee on the Zero/Agni. This also makes the top time of today’s race roughly 10 seconds slower than the Harley-Davdison XR1200 spec-class (it also means that this reporter owes a Harley-Davidson PR person an In & Out Burger — animal style of course).

With talk of a race on Sunday (weather permitting), Richard Hatfield of Lightning Motors expressed to us that he might dust off the Flying Banana, last year’s runner-up here at Infineon & the North American TTXGP Championship winner, and come race since his 2011 bike is still being put together. The Flying Banana is currently over the weight limit imposed by TTXGP this year, which would require work by the Lightning Motors crew, which would likely distract from their efforts to now prepare the new Lightning bike for the Isle of Man. With a lot of if’s in those variables, it would still be interesting to see some closer racing on Sunday if all the variables come together.

The next time we’ll see most of these teams together will be Laguna Seca, as the FIM and TTXGP have collaborated on that race, as well as two others. TTXGP’s next event will be in New Hampshire on June 17th-18th.

Pos. No. Rider Team Time Diff.
1 58 Steve Atlas Brammo 17:44.506
2 37 Thad Wolff Moto Electra 18:10.075 25.569
3 19 Kenyon Kluge VOLT 20:03.778 2:19.272
4 18 Ely Schless Proto Moto 20:07.476 1 Lap
Not Classified
DNS 15 Mike Hannas Lightning
DNS 80 Michael Barnes Lightning
DNS 17 Steve Rapp Mission Motors

Photo: Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0