The electric motorcycle duel on America’s Mountain will pit the event’s racer with the fastest time on an electric bike, Chip Yates, against six-time Pikes Peak motorcycle champion Greg Tracy. They are the only entries in this class and the matchup promises to be a highlight of the day.
The two professional motorcycle racers will face off on the Peak with Yates selecting an American-made Lightning Electric Superbike, and Tracy on his new concept model Amarok P1A Super Bike.
During the 2012 Race to the Clouds, Tracy and his Ducati teammate, Carlin Dunne, were the first motorcyclists in history of the race to reach the finish line under ten minutes with their fuel-powered Multistradas. Dunne clocked 9:52.819 and Tracy was right behind at 9:58.262 in the 1205 cc class.
Tracy (Long Beach, CA) has won six titles in several divisions since 1996 on Pikes Peak, including victories in the 1205CC division in 2009 and 2010.
Yates (Aliso Viejo, CA) is an electric vehicle pioneer known for risky record-setting adventures in extreme electric vehicles of his own design. This year’s Pikes Peak race marks the first time Yates has put his trust in an electric manufacturer to build and supply his race machine. Lightning also supplies the lithium-ion batteries that power his world record breaking electric airplane.
Yates first took on Pikes Peak as a rookie in 2011. On the paved section of the course, his rookie split times landed him 9th overall among 112 motorcycles before the ensuing 2.6 miles of bumpy dirt roads in the middle of the course slowed his final result to a 12:50.094. With the course being completely paved this year, Yates’ aggressive knee-dragging style learned from his FIM World Supersport and AMA Pro Daytona SportBike racing background makes him a solid contender for a new speed mark in the class.
This Electric Motorcycle Class division joins existing Electric Car class, which also consists of six entries this year and includes big names and seasoned Pikes Peak veterans like Monster Tajima and Rod Millen.
The legendary race is the second oldest motor sports race in the United States behind the Indy 500. With 156 turns over 12.42 miles, sheer drop-offs and an elevation that increases by more than 5,000 feet from the start line to the 14,110-foot summit on a fully-paved public highway.
“The Lightning Electric Superbike is the only electric motorcycle to ever show a higher top speed than my electric bike, which is enjoying retirement at the Petersen Automotive Museum right now,” said Yates. When I heard Greg Tracy was coming to the mountain on an electric bike this year, I realized my Pikes Peak best time was at risk and so I turned to Lightning Motorcycles to help me raise the bar and hang on to the title.”
“The amazing thing about the Lightning bike, is that it‘s a full-on 180-horsepower electric superbike, faster than a Suzuki GSX-R1000, that anyone can buy – it’s actually in production up in Northern California” added Yates.
“The 147kg (325lb) Amarok P1 concept is about making the best handling motorcycle on the planet. There are electric bikes with much more power, but we want to own the corners. The 156 turns of Pikes Peak represent to us the best opportunity to prove our core belief that in vehicle design, you can do more with less.” says co-founder Michael Uhlarik.