Last weekend, Gasoline Alley – the garage area at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – saw some race machines that were just a little bit different from those it's accommodated in the past: the electric motorcycles of the FIM eRoad Racing series. The North American championship saw its second and, apparently, final event of the 2013 season occur at the historic venue as part of the motorcycle Grand Prix weekend that also featured MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 and AMA Pro Races featuring a field of Harley-Davidson XR1200's.
As the only top-level competitors to show, the Brammo factory team easily clinched the top two spots of the podium, with Shane Turpin stealing the thunder, as it were, from teammate Eric Bostrom, who came in second. Interestingly, while both riders were aboard an Empulse RR, Turpin's bike actually had a less powerful version of the Parker motor installed. The performance gap could be put down to chassis set-up, which gave the eventual winner an advantage in the technical infield section and allowed Turpin to set the electric lap record of 1:53.412, despite Bostrom reaching a much faster top speed of 289 km/h (179.6 miles per hour) down the main straight. Also of note for electro-nerds, the Brammo bikes each had fresh battery packs with cells from Farasis Energy which, the company boasted on its Facebook page, still had lots of energy left after the contest.
As the only top-level competitors to show, the Brammo factory team easily clinched the top two spots.
As with the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca round, the production-based bikes provided lots of close racing action and insight into the top two available electric motorcycles on the market – the Zero S and the Brammo Empulse. And again, Zero Motorcycles director of electrical engineering, Kenyon Kluge led the way, taking 3rd place overall. Behind him, also on a Zero S, Jeremiah Johnson managed to stay ahead of a hard-charging Shelina Moreda for 4th.
With the North American 2014 season shortened from what was originally envisioned as a four-event series to two, electric motorcycle racing fans will have to look to Europe for their e-bike thrills. That's where the final race takes places, at LeMans, on the 21st of September. There is also supposed to be a "World Championship" contest held in Asia for the top teams of the two series, though details have yet to be released.