This week a pair of electric motorcycle racing teams were at the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials on the Bonneville Salt Flats. They hoped to establish new electric motorcycle land speed records (see More electric motorcycle land speed record action at Bonneville Salt Flats), and while records were set they did not surpass the 215.96 miles/hr record achieved three weeks ago by the Lightning Motorcycles team (see Lightning strikes again with 217 mph electric motorcycle record at Bonneville). Racing action ended yesterday, and we can now report on their results.
At the last writing Chip Yates was having troubles with breaking chains, sagging battery voltage, and seeing well enough to avoid running into the mile markers. Good news is the team fixed these issues and they were able to set four FIM electric motorcycle land speed records at just shy of 200 miles/hr. Not fast enough to beat the times Lightning set, but due to the vagaries of land speed record keeping Yates record is the FIM record, while Lightning’s record is not.
- Record 1: “FIM over 300kg class first pass 195.994, impound and must run opposite direction within 2 hours, second pass 196.847 for first world record!” This averages to 196.420 miles/hr which is over 20 miles/hr faster than the record set last year by Lightning Motorcycles. In a sport where the typical per-year improvement is 1-2 miles/hr, a 20 miles/hr improvement is phenomenal. Yates noted his maximum speed was 200.7 miles/hr during the runs, but in this racing format they record the average speed over two runs rather than the peak speed.
- Record 2: “Timeslips on our 2nd FIM World Record, run 1 is 180.841 and 2hr return run is 182.037, with NO fairings!” In this case he’d taken off the fairings (hence the word “naked”) to be categorized into a different classification, in this case a bike over 300 kilograms with no fairings. These runs average to 181.439 miles/hr.
- Record 3: “Time slips on 3rd record, 168.147 I got red lite and slowed a bit, return 179.001, no fairings or windshield!” In this case he reconfigured the bike for the “150-300 kilogram, no fairings” category. Perhaps removing the windshield and a couple other parts dropped enough weight to get just below 300 kilograms. These runs average to 173.574 miles/hr.
- Record 4: “FIM World Record #4 in the bag!! 150-300kg fairings class, does this make history?? 4 Official FIM World Records (and AMA) in rookie year?” “Time slips on 4th record, 185.353 run 1, and opposite return run 188.932 to seal the deal!” In this case he added the fairings back onto the bike, while remaining below 300 kilograms. These runs average to 187.142 miles/hr.
Yup, four records using the same bike and doing slight reconfigurations to fit into different vehicle classification niches.
If nothing else Yates demonstrated the value of fairings to improve aerodynamics to improve vehicle energy efficiency. In these runs he had the same bike, same power, and got different speeds for the runs. Namely 196.420 miles/hr with fairings, 181.439 miles/hr with no fairings, while configured for the 300kg class. Then 187.142 miles/hr with fairings and 173.574 miles/hr with no fairings, while configured for the under-300kg class. (see Aerodynamic efficiency can reduce fuel (energy) use and environmental impact)
As a side note, Yates’ tweets describe this Bonneville trip as being his last act as a professional motorcycle racer, and that today (Friday) is his first day of retirement from professional motorcycle racing. He hasn’t disclosed yet what his next gig will be, but given his accomplishments this year he no doubt has a bright future.
The KillaJoule team also set a world record, for their unique vehicle class (electric fully streamlined motorcycle with sidecar). That record, average of 138.586 miles/hr, was set on Tuesday. On Wednesday they made a run which aborted because the motor lost power halfway down the track. Back in the pits they discovered the motor had gotten filled with salt, and arc’d out. They rebuilt the motor and added a salt guard but ran out of time on Wednesday. The last report on their facebook fan page from thursday says the DC motors they used are the weak link, and that the motors couldn’t handle speeds over 150 miles/hr, and that above 150 miles/hr these motors let out their magic smoke. The magic smoke is widely revered as being essential to the proper functioning of electric vehicles, and once the magic smoke is released the vehicle no longer functions.
Good news is they have a high power AC motor from EVO Motors at home, plan to install that into the KillaJoule, and apparently plan to return to the salt for the World of Speed in a couple weeks.
They are leaving having impressed the heck out of “Tech inspectors, officials, land speed celebrities as well as other competitors” who are “blown away” by how far they’ve come in the last 18 months.
KillaCycle Facebook Fan Page
New record yesterday, less successful today (Eva’s blog)
Chip Yates on twitter