AHRMA once again hosts the Woodcraft Technologies’ eMotoRacing zero emissions road racing series at one of America’s iconic racetracks. Seven competitors from around the US made the grid on Saturday, for the first of the weekend’s two rounds. Time Warner Cable TV is on hand to interview the riders and teams, and to cover this exciting event.
The Hollywood Electrics Racing Team fielded three Zero SR based electric racebikes. Jeff Clark, Nathan Barker, and Brandon Nozaki-Miller had practiced the weekend before at this same raceway in preparation for the long awaited Zero-Brammo showdown. Zero SR mounted Doug Smith joined the grid as a post entry.
eMotoRacing series regulars Murrae Haynes of New Mexico, Pete Nicolosi of South Carolina, and the defending class champion Arthur Kowitz of Daytona Beach, Florida all were riding Brammo Empulses.
Kowitz’ (myself) Brammo TTX sports a carbon fiber fully steamlined body that has helped this fast ebike to pace the field at many previous events. However, this weekend was challenged with a US Weather Services Severe Wind Advisory of 36+ hours of prevailing and gusty winds up to 55 mph. Under these conditions the streamliner was difficult to ride at the edges of traction. Consequently, the decision was made to remove the bodywork and race ‘au natural’. With this change in configuration came an intermittent power cut out.
As the green flag dropped on Saturday’s race, Kowitz gets a sharp holeshot on the field, only to have his bike cut out early on lap one. Three of the well prepared Zeros form an impressive freight train up to the front and proceed to check out on the field. Jeff Clark takes the win with a flawless ride, all eight laps being fast and steady. Doug Smith in second and Nozaki-Miller in third overall.
The light, nimble, and fast Zeros appear to be dominant, and favorites for the second round on Sunday.
Sunday’s race begins in similar fashion, but motorsports can be unpredictable. On lap 4, Zero mounted Doug Smith crashes in some on track oil presumably left by one of the gas bikes sharing the track. The race is red flagged to care for the rider, and clean the track. The field is sequestered on hot pit road for a 20 minute delay. Now, battery capacity and drivetrain heat become issues. The uncounted warm up lap, the red flag lap, and the rigors of two starts are a concern to all riders as they impatiently await the restart.
While on the grid, Nozaki-Miller and his team try unsuccessfully to repair a critical broken footpeg mount. Clark remains as the man to beat.
The somewhat heavier, and more complex Brammos have up to now given a little in speed. That is in part due to a water cooled motor, and a complex battery system.
Upon the restart, predictably, Clark sets the pace on his Zero, with Nicolosi and Haynes on their Brammos in hot pursuit. Haynes is the only bike left in the field that sports a fairing, giving him a potential edge in power conservation, in what is shaping up as a battle of attrition.
With pressure mounting behind him, Clark must keep up his pace to maintain the lead heading into the final lap. His pace slows dramatically as power wanes. Nicolosi has been stalking and now pounces on the leader in Willow Springs famed turn nine onto the front straight, taking the lead and the win. Haynes also maintains his power and is rewarded a steady 3rd place behind Clark.
The next eMotoRacing round is only days away at Sonoma Raceway in Northern California. There are several other teams poised to join these same riders at Sonoma’s more technical (and less windy) racetrack.