First show now in production for Championship 2010.
By Chuck Squatriglia
SONOMA COUNTY, California — Seasoned pro Shawn Higbee won North America’s first-ever electric motorcycle grand prix today in a race that was tighter than the finish would suggest.
Ten riders competed in the 25-mile race around Infineon Raceway, but all the action was at the front of the pack. The 11-lap race was a dogfight most of the way as polesitter Higbee (No. 22) and Michael Barnes (No. 80) repeatedly traded the lead. Higbee would take the lead in the turns, only to have Barnes pull away on the straights. Everyone knew the race would come down to battery management, and in the end Higbee did the better job.
“Michael snapped off the line a little quicker than I thought” to start the race, Higbee said. “It made me nervous. It became a strategy race, like an endurance race. I kept an eye on the volt meter to make sure I’d have the range to finish.”
SONOMA COUNTY, California — Team Electra’s entry in the TTXGP electric motorcycle race looks like something from the 1960s.
That’s because it is.
Team Electra is among the 12 teams here at Infineon Raceway to kick off the TTXGP North American electric motorcycle race series this weekend, and it is the only one coming out of the old school.
The heart of the team’s gorgeous café racer is a 1966 Norton Featherbed frame wrapped in a copy of a fairing from the 1972 John Player Special Norton grand prix bike. It is one of the slickest bikes on the grid here at Infineon Raceway, and it stands in stark contrast to the converted superbikes and purpose-built machines like Zero Motorcycles’ impressive racers.
Brian Richardson, who built and owns the bike, says the retro approach makes perfect sense because, for all their high-tech hardware, electric motorcycles don’t put down much more power than the café racers of his youth.
“Anyone can use a Yamaha R6 chassis, and you’d think that would be the way to go,” Richardson said. “But you’ve only got 50 horsepower. Why not start with racing machine that only had 50 horsepower to begin with?”
Thrilling battle for first, third and just to finish marks the start of the first zero carbon world series.