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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Major
Read about the bike tripping breakers or something ?? Could you explain a little about what was happening ?? Seemed to take a long time to reset everything and get going again ??

Still, sounds like y'all had some serious power going on.

What's your opinion on what Chip Yates accomplished, with just 14 practice laps on his new Bike ?? Yeah, he's arrogant, but, accomplished a lot, no ??

Looks to me like, folks need to sit up and take notice, that, E-Bikes CAN run with Gassers.
 

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Hi Major
Read about the bike tripping breakers or something ?? Could you explain a little about what was happening ?? Seemed to take a long time to reset everything and get going again ??
Hi Harold,

You know how it goes? The Lightning team was not well prepared for the first race last season at Infineon. We had two serious problems. First, the #80 bike could not corner due to lack of ground clearance when leaning. Second was nuisance faults with the motor controller.

The team worked very hard in the paddock that weekend and with a great effort from our new guy, Michael Barnes, managed to put on a great show for at least the first 4 laps of the race. I can't say enough good things about Michael Barnes. He is a great pilot with a lot of experience on a lot of different bikes. This was his first time on an electric MC and the first time he met the team and saw the #80. I admire his maturity in helping the team address the problems. I think there would be plenty of riders who would have just walked away. First practice, Barney had it shut down in turn 2 and pushed the bike back to the pit. And it is a heavy bike and he is a small man (physically speaking).

On the cornering problem, we did all we could at the track. The front struts were rebuilt (thank you very much Race Tech) and rear shock changed to raise the bike. This improved cornering a lot, but still limited the lean so much Barney had to slow way down on the curves. We still scraped the lower fiberglass covering the bottom battery box.

We could not identify the nuisance fault source. When this occurred, the controller would have to be shut down and allowed time for the caps to bleed and then restarted. Takes about 30 or 40 seconds. Before the race, we were able to program an auto-reset into the controller. It would automatically reset the controller if the fault had cleared. But there was a hard code of 10 resets. This worked for a while.

We qualified P2 only a few seconds behind Higbee on the Zero Agni bike, which had won the IOM. IIRC, Barney on the #80 had only about 3 or 4 laps before the race. The green flag fell and Barney shot out to an impressive lead well before turn one. But by turn 3 or 4 had been caught-up and passed by Higbee. But the next decent straight, Barney overtook Higbee. Then the next set of curves, Higbee regained the lead. Then Barney overtook him on the next straight. Repeat and repeat for about 4 or 5 laps. It was really exciting racing from two pro riders (who were teammates the previous season).

As I was watching the race I could tell #80 was resetting back on turn 9, I think it was. This started to slow Barney down a bit and Higbee pulled out a bit of a lead, Barney unable to catch him up. Then maybe on lap 6, that fateful number ten was reached. Barney had to pull over on the front straight and reboot. I know it is hard for a rider to wait and count to 35 before starting back up, but he is a pro. Got back into it and ran like before, but by this time Higbee had lapped #80. Barney took it easy, but still fast and brought home the #80 for a second place finish, well ahead of third.

The next race was at Road America. We had about 3 weeks. The #80 bike was essentially rebuilt to get rid of the clearance and cornering problems. Once this was done, nobody could catch Barney, except for Czysz at Laguna Seca because we ran out of electrons. We also switched the encoder to a different type in an effort to eliminate the nuisance faults.

I might as well get into that race. Road America is in Wisconsin. Lightning is based in the Bay area. Several other electric bikes in the series were based in CA. So a motorhome and trailer were used to haul 4 bikes and equipment to WI. As per usual, equipment problems with the transporter delayed departure. They arrived one hour before Friday practice. We had some new controller parts to install from Ohio, where I live. Barney was suited up and we fired it up, but lady luck was dumping on us. No go. We work as long as we can that night. Next morning, send him out for practice #2. He pulls off in turn one and limps it back to the paddock. New encoder acting up. Work on it a bunch but finally go back to the old encoder. Looks like it might work. Qualifying near the end of the day, Saturday. It rains! All we have are slicks. No time to change tires. We have to sit out. Others do qualify in the wet. Rider James Pooler takes a high sider on the slick track, but is o.k. to race the next day.

It rains all night. But by race time on Sunday, sunny and dry. The #80 had not turned a lap. But we took a provisional qualifier at the back of the grid. The bikes are outfitted with transponders for timing and scoring. The starting grid is up track maybe 10 to 20 yards from the start/finish line where the transponder beam crosses the track. So Barney is at the back of the grid, 7 bikes, and the green flag falls. The timing sheet shows the #80 crossing the beam 4 seconds ahead of the next bike. How's that for a hole shot? Barney leads every lap and finishes an easy first place. GPS data from the bike showed top speed in excess of 130mph.

What's your opinion on what Chip Yates accomplished, with just 14 practice laps on his new Bike ??
Yeah, 14 laps and a completed race is good, almost as the same as the lap count #80 had before the Road America race.

Yeah, he's arrogant, but, accomplished a lot, no ??
I am glad Chip did well on the electric bike. I have two problems with him. 1.) He said he'd race last season and did not. 2.) He apparently will not race against electric motorcycles.

I would venture to say that the Lightning #80 with Barnes and/or MotoCzysz would have beaten him at that race on Sunday.

Not a problem, but it does appear to me that Yates will never run that KERS system which he has talked up so much over the past year. He has had to devote the tank area to battery.

Looks to me like, folks need to sit up and take notice, that, E-Bikes CAN run with Gassers.
Yes, but I'd rather see electric vs electric. Electric vs gas; it is always going to be odd-man-out. How do you classify? I know there will always be "the comparison". Fine. Maybe it takes a loudmouth like Yates to do something like this. Fine. That's why I am glad he did well. I just wish we would get a chance to beat him.

Regards,

major
 

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Why not take it to him then, at least once? Electric vs electric in midst of the gas fumes! :D
I'm up for it. But it isn't my call. I'm just the crew.

He misses the whole series of electric racing last season playing around with his KERS and pretty bike on the dyno. We were out racing electric. Now all he can do is badmouth electric motorcycle racing organizations and take his machine out to play with the gassers.

I don't get it :confused: But it takes all types.
 

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...I'm just the crew...
I knew you had skills dude, but dang - a whole crew in one man! :p:D


...all he can do is badmouth electric motorcycle racing organizations and take his machine out to play with the gassers.

I don't get it :confused: But it takes all types.
I imagine you'll be saying something similar about me because I have no plans to become formally associated with any electric racing organizations, or go to/participate in their events. I will be found in the midst of the burnt gas fumes. Hopefully this summer. Look at it this way: every religion needs evangelists. If JRP3 hadn't been over in that gas-burning Fiero forum, shouting the merits of electric propulsion from the mountaintop, I may never have found this place and started on this path.

I have never liked the human tendency to segregate into little niche communities. When I had a Chevy Camaro hot rod, I would never go to a "Chevy" or "Camaro" show. I like to see everyone and everything all in one big happy bunch! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for that write-up, Major. No news coverage down here, so, I have to rely on you guys to keep me up to date. Good luck with sorting out that Electronical stuff. It baffles the bejesus out of me.
 

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I knew you had skills dude, but dang - a whole crew in one man! :p:D
I guess I'm the "away crew". The Lightning Team back in San Carlos has a number of skilled individuals and they wrench with me at the CA races. But for the away games, I am it. Richard and Barney both help, and Bob shows up to screw with the programming sometimes. But contrary to some speculation I've seen, we're a pretty low budget operation.

But it takes all types.
I didn't mean this in a bad way :)

I imagine you'll be saying something similar about me because I have no plans to become formally associated with any electric racing organizations, or go to/participate in their events.
You might be one of those types :) And seriously, I have no bones about it. I would prefer to see support for organized electric motorsport, and I don't like efforts to dilute existing organization, but individuals need to do what they feel brings them the most satisfaction from the effort and money they put into their hobby. Just don't start the mid-Ohio EDRA please :D
 

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I don't get it. The bike obviously wasn't ready, which you know can happen, and when it was they upped the weight limit so he couldn't compete. I certainly don't know the details and maybe it was simple coincidence but it seems a little fishy. Now he's out beating ICE bikes after being kept out of the EV races.
 

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I don't get it. The bike obviously wasn't ready, which you know can happen, and when it was they upped the weight limit so he couldn't compete. I certainly don't know the details and maybe it was simple coincidence but it seems a little fishy. Now he's out beating ICE bikes after being kept out of the EV races.
Yeah JR,

That's my point. Or points. Yates screwed around with KERS and missed the season. Then they (TTXGP and FIM) set limits, which also preclude the #80. I don't know the details either. But it sucks :(

Fast electrics are heavy. Let them race.

major
 

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Details on the rule change?
Hi roch,

Last season they had one class with a 300 kg maximum machine limit, although I never saw TTXGP actually weigh any bike at any race. For next season they reduced it to 250 kg. see http://egrandprix.com/news.php?id=173 and http://egrandprix.com/news.php?id=164

There has been quite a bit said about it and differing opinions. I don't want to get into it here. You can search (google?) and find some articles, like some from Chip Yates.

Regards,

major
 

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...Then they (TTXGP and FIM) set limits, which also preclude the #80. I don't know the details either. But it sucks :(

Fast electrics are heavy. Let them race.

major
I suppose there's only so much you can say publicly here, now, but I am very curious about whether Team Lightning is going to try to make the weight, or find a new place to compete? :confused: Personally, I'd tell them to kick rocks, and look for opportunities to push the limits. ;)

Months ago you commented about this being the "good 'ol days" of EV racing - hope they're not coming to a close before innovation gets a fair chance... :(
 

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I suppose there's only so much you can say publicly here, now, but I am very curious about whether Team Lightning is going to try to make the weight, or find a new place to compete? :confused:
Hi Todd,

I try to tell my story here as this is about the only place I document my little EV race adventures and I think there are interested parties reading it, but I do have to be careful not to piss off the boss should he read it or badmouth the organizations which provide the venues for us. And I try not to brag or bitch. Team Lightning is typically quiet about plans and builds, unlike some others who facebook every nut and bolt. Here again, this is not my call, but I kinda like it this way. Show 'em what you got on the track type of mentality ;)

I can say we were considering putting the old yellow fatty #80 on a serious diet before any rule change. Now, I am not sure what the plan is for next season. TTXGP just changed a major rule again last week. And I, the road crew, 2400 miles away from Team Lightning HQ, don't know all of what's going on, and then probably couldn't relate that anyway. I plan to see Richard tomorrow actually. So maybe I'll learn what's up myself :)

Personally, I'd tell them to kick rocks, and look for opportunities to push the limits. ;)
Yeah, there's plenty not to like about it. But I have to thank TTXGP and FIM for giving us the opportunity to compete. It would have been a boring last summer for me had I not been able to crew at 5 races (and Bonneville). I am still upset about not making the Albacete race. I'll get over it someday....yeah, right :mad:

Months ago you commented about this being the "good 'ol days" of EV racing - hope they're not coming to a close before innovation gets a fair chance... :(
No, not by a long shot, IMO. Still time to do some crazy fast stuff. But it does seem like the walls are closin' in.

I was trying to motivate more people to "just do it". Guys like yourself. Get it out of your garage and on the track :) I don't care what track.

I do see a downside to competing with gassers. When electrics take podium spots away from them, it will breed resentment. We don't need that. Right now, gassers own the tracks and venues and spectators. When we (organized EV races) show up as support races, we are generally well accepted by the gassers, participants and crowds. My feeling is that is the way to proceed. Not trying to figure out how to classify electrics to fit into the gas races.

Chip Yates wasn't the first electric MC to compete in a gasser race. Thad Wolff on the #37 (from the NA TTXGP) ran and won a race on his electrified Norton Featherbed last year. He had the presence of mind to disqualify himself before the trophies were handed out. I wonder if Yates considered doing that.
http://www.examiner.com/green-trans...win-of-electric-motorcycles-against-gas-bikes

Enough for now,

major
 

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Thanks for the update,thoughts, and opinions - I'll be hanging on your every word, and reading in between them, to see how this all plays out. ;)

...I was trying to motivate more people to "just do it". Guys like yourself. Get it out of your garage and on the track :) I don't care what track...
The problem in my case is racing isn't really my focus, design is. Racing comes later for me, and even then it's more about validation of the racing-inspired design than competition. All my pushing here to find possibilities and limitations was to make sure I wasn't limiting myself, when I finally get around to it.

Ideally, I would love to do what you're doing, but for a drag racing team. It doesn't have to be me, I just want to see someone explore the real potential of EV drag racing (Lawless is close). That takes a full commitment, and I'm not so inclined. Maybe someday I'll find the right individual or team (with a mix of talent, will, and ego I can stomach) that really wants to go fast in a straight line, and be able to contribute to the effort. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Right now, gassers own the tracks and venues and spectators. When we (organized EV races) show up as support races, we are generally well accepted by the gassers, participants and crowds. My feeling is that is the way to proceed.
I agree with major on this point.

Maybe, as the people see the E-Bikes getting faster and faster, a couple of old fashioned "Grudge Matches", would evolve. The gassers that opt into the challenges would HAVE to know, they stand a good chance to be outrun.

Then, the fans might put pressure on the Orgs., to let the races include both venues ??

I think , right now, Chip is between a rock and a hard place. He could, very easily, cause rule changes that would be detrimental to the whole Moto Sport. E-Bikes, slower than possible , would be seen as SLOW. Non-exciting. Fast E-Bikes, could be seen as threats. It's a very fine line, as I see it.

Great discussions here.
 

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As a non racer I have a different take. (I've done some local off road short track "tough truck" type racing but I don't really count that.) Certainly some types of people will simply react negatively but I think the racing spirit of wanting to win at all costs will embrace a new technology that has the potential to put them out in front. I think we need more Chip Yates out there mixing it up with the gassers. If EV's get banned from ICE races because they are too fast that will probably create a greater demand for EV only races. I see it as a win either way, but I could be delusional :D A one on one race between Yates and #80 would be fun to see, the outlaw EV bikes that no one else will race against! SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!!!! :D
 
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