Tuesday morning on the Isle of Man, John McGuinness didn't merely raise the bar by circling the 37.7-mile Snaefell Mountain Course in 19:17.3 minutes at an average of 117.366 miles per hour during the running of the annual TT Zero. Despite an ailing wrist, he snatched the bar from its moorings and threw it javelin-like into the chilly Irish Sea, adding an additional 7.691 mph to last year's record speed and becoming the first to complete an electric race lap in under 20 minutes. His Mugen team mate Bruce Anstey, also aboard an improved Shinden San – which sport drivetrain components from Mission Motors, we hasten to add – came in second with a more-than-respectable 115.048 mph average speed.
Though McGuinness was clearly in control of the contest from the start, and only continued to stretch his lead as the miles wore on, qualification and practice laps leading up to final event demonstrated a win was by no means a forgone conclusion. He and his teammate took turns breaking the unofficial record and during one session, Anstey's machine suffered a fire while under way when an undisclosed part failed. Luckily, the assembled Mugen mechanics made a quality repair and the bike went on to set a lap record during Saturday's qualifying.
Bruce Anstey came in second with a more-than-respectable 115.048 mph average speed.
With MotoCzysz ending its 4-year winning streak due to team principal Michael Czysz's personal health struggle, the battle for the bottom step of the podium was left to Ohio State's Buckeye Current and newcomers Saroléa after the Kingston Ion Horse retired early. Though we absolutely love the style of the Belgian bike, the Buckeye student effort was our sentimental favorite, and with veteran rider and first winner of the all-electric contest in this venue, Rob Barber in the saddle, they took the 3rd spot by an eyeblink – .37 seconds, to be exact.
The result underlines the speed at which the best battery-powered bikes are improving. In six years, the fastest time has dropped over six and a half minutes. Compared to the progress of traditional motorcycles, this is blazingly quick progress. To get a sense of the improvement, we included a couple graphs from previous MIT-team competitor Lennon Rodgers below which put the two technologies in perspective. We've also included a pair of pre-contest videos from Mugen promoting their TT Zero effort, which feature some footage of their bikes in action.