10:45 this morning (Wednesday 10th June) will see the 6th Zero Emissions motorcycle race over the TT Mountain Course. Due to poor weather conditions and other unfortunate delays over practice and race week the schedule has been a bit mixed up, but hopefully things will go to plan for the rest of the week.
The first electric race took place in 2009 under the banner of the TTXGP and was split into the Pro and Open classes. Rob Barber won the Pro class and overall on the Agni machine with a standing start lap speed of 87.43mph. The Open class was won by Chris Heath at 66.02mph. These were the winning times, the slowest time of the race being 40.09mph for the Brunel X-team.
The following year the the Isle of Man Department of Tourism and Leisure took over and the TT Zero was born. The story of what happened between Azhar Hussain's TTXGP series, the FIM and the Isle of Man can be left for another article.
2010 saw the lap record rise to 96.82mph with Mark Miller and the MotoCzysz E1pc. An impressive increase in performance on the previous year.
The following year a prize was offered for the first bike to break 100mph average speed. Michael Rutter and Mark Miller got close with 99.6mph and 98.29mph respectively on their MotoCzysz machines.
MotoCzysz saw some real competition in 2012 with the appearance on Mugen on the TT Zero grid ridden by King of the Mountain John McGuinness. There was a close battle between McGuinness and Rutter for the honour of being the first achieve 100mph. The three podium place men ended up all lapping over 100mph. Micheal Rutter taking the top step with 104.056mph!
2013 saw the same top top men in the same order. MotoCzysz mounted Rutter breaking the ever increasing lap record with 109.675mph while the Mugen Shinden still wasn't far behind with 109.527mph...
MotoCzysz didn't return in 2014 due to it's maverick creator Michael Czysz's ill health. Now Mugen had two Shinden San machine's ridden by John McGuinness and Bruce Anstey. Lap times took another big leap with a new fastest race time on 19' 17.3" and 117.366mph.
This year so far hasn't seen such a big increase in speed, although the lap record has been unofficially broken in practice by McGuinness on the latest Mugen Shinden incarnation at 118.056mph and registering 162mph on the Sulby straight.
Mugen's main competition this year come from the Victory motorcycles. This is basically the Brammo bike and team after Victory Motorcycles owner Polaris took over Brammo. Both Victory machines have lapped over 100mph so far. A last minute change of rider from William Dunlop to Guy Martin after Williams crash in Monday's Supersport practice which has taken him out for the rest of this years TT.
Martin jumped on the Victory machine at the last minute and after the briefest of briefings took the bike to an impressive 104mph on his first outing. This despite running very low on power by the time he reached Cronk-Ny-Mona. He's lapping at similar times to team mate Lee Johnston.
The Saroléa team also managed to lap at 101.02mph in thier final practice. So out of 7 entrants that made it to this years TT (10 listed in the programme) 5 have lapped over 100mph. Can the Lightweight lap record be broken today? Or will we see 120mph?
It would seem that the Mugens will take the top two steps followed by Martin or Johnston on the Victory. However, the Mountain Course if tough on bikes and the saying says "to finish first, first you have to finish" is as true for the TT Zero bikes as it is for the other classes.
Good luck to all competitors and teams and here's to a good race that see's some close racing, lap records and everyone back home safely.
#TTZero #TT2015 #IOMTT