In a drama-filled race that saw certain electric motorcycles hitting speeds of 165 miles per hour on the demanding Daytona International Speedway, Steve Atlas was first to pass by the checkered flag, giving Team Icon Brammo the win in the 2012 TTXGP World Championship. The previous two season-topping events had been won by Münch Racing.
Starting from the second position on the grid, Atlas immediately took the lead and never looked back. His teammate Eric Bostrom followed closely behind and looked similarly strong, until his Empulse RR was suddenly struck by an electronic gremlin while going through the chicane on the first lap of the five-lap, 17.55-mile race (21.06 miles, if you include the warmup lap). The bike dramatically slowed, allowing Münch's Matthias Himmelmann to move up into second place. Although the German team had been a few seconds behind Brammo all weekend, the TTE-2 performed perfectly every time it took to the track, suffering none of the worrying glitches experienced by both Brammo racers in qualifying.
Happily, Bostrom's ride recovered its mojo early into its second lap, and was soon hitting the same high-performance heights as the race leader. It wasn't enough, however, to catch the reliable Münch machine, leaving Brammo to settle for the top and bottom spots on the podium.
Scroll down for more, including a pair of awesome videos from Brammo telling the story of the weekend, with lots of footage from the race itself.
Despite the slight setback, the performance by the American team does speak volumes about the improvements it's made in the past year. Whereas in 2011, its bike was slower than those from Mission Motors, MotoCzysz and Lightning Motorcycles, its recently installed GVM 210 motor – jointly developed with its sponsor, Parker – helps the bike put out 155 horsepower at the rear wheel and might have given those previously stronger teams a real run for their money, had they dared show up.
Brammo wasn't the only team to experience a setback in the final, sadly. After losing function in one half of its EnerTrac dual-hub motor in qualifying (the "fix" for an earlier coolant leak created a completely different, near terminal, problem), Jason Morris eased the somewhat hobbled Catavolt entry up to the start line, intent on competing. He held fourth place into the second lap before the Australian bike began to lose speed and eventually returned to the paddock on its third loop of the massive track. Still, for its effort, the team took home a trophy for the TTX75 class, along with a technical award recognizing the amazing progress they've made with that alternative motor system. Working closely with its EnerTrac partner, Catavolt has achieved a performance level many have thought impossible with that technology.
For its part, the much-modded Zero S ridden by Jeremiah Johnson soldiered on valiantly through the race. As the back-up bike for the Be-Ev.com team, it was pressed into service on the weekend and was still being wrenched on and prepped right up until go time. While the bike only topped out at 100 mph and perhaps lacked the finish of its fully-faired co-contenders, it didn't falter and finished just as strong as it started.
Despite the admittedly small size of the field, the event marked the first electric vehicle race ever held at the historic Daytona facility, and made a big, very positive impression. Indeed, it is quite likely EVs will return to pick up the challenge its steep banked turns offer in the not-too-distant future.