• Nov 17th 2010 at 7:57AM
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Swigz Pro Racing superbike with KERS – Click above for high-res image gallery

In a somewhat provocative statement, Chip Yates has ruled out Swigz Pro Racing competing in the 2011 TTXGP series. Citing a new rule change that reduces the allowable weight in the Formula GP class to 250 kilograms (551.2 lbs), the racer says they have "lost the desire to participate" in the series. Their 194 horsepower monster weighs in at approximately 585 lbs.

So what's the provocative part? We think the statement that there is a conflict of interest present because the principal player behind the TTXGP is also the head of Mavizen, a bike supplier to the series whose machines are already within the revised weight limit, falls within that category. The TTXGP, as you can imagine, disagrees with this assessment and has its own statement about the decision. You can find both the original press release and response after the break.

The development has ignited discussion among followers of electric motorcycle racing about the wisdom of having an upper weight limit. While the organization argues that reducing mass will push teams to increase efficiency and produce technology with more real-world applications, others contend weight is naturally self-regulating and doesn't require rule changes to accomplish. Feel free to give us your opinions in the comments section below.

[Source: Chip Yates / TTXGP]


World's Most Powerful and Technically Advanced Electric Superbike Excluded by the TTXGP from Racing in 2011

ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA, U.S.A. November 9, 2010 -- SWIGZ.COM Pro Racing USA announced today that the TTXGP organizers' decision to slash the maximum allowable vehicle weight by 110 lbs has excluded Chip Yates from riding his 194 horsepower superbike in any TTXGP race. The previous allowable weight maximum was 660 lbs.

SWIGZ.COM Pro Racing was one of the founding teams in the TTXGP series, but was not consulted on the rules change that now forbids bikes weighing over 550 lbs. SWIGZ team pro rider Chip Yates has publicly announced in numerous forums his superbike weight of 585 lbs. Although the SWIGZ team has been working hard to reduce the weight of the bike, the lack of rules stability combined with the TTXGP and Mavizen conflict of interest make the TTXGP an unattractive series for a team trying to develop an extreme performance superbike.

Not only do TTXGP organizers make and change the rules that govern electric motorcycle racing at their own discretion, they also manufacture, promote and sell their own electric motorcycle under the Mavizen brand name that is eligible for racing in their series. The Mavizen TTX02 has an advertised weight of 350 lbs, produces between 54 hp and 94 hp with its two electric motors and has not been excluded from racing under this new weight reduction rule change. The sales slogan for the Mavizen TTX02 bike is: "Entering the TTXGP Just Got Simpler".

CHIP YATES: "The TTXGP officials knew our bike weight and made this surprise rule change anyway. I contacted them to protest, and they could not provide a single reason why they lowered the weight and they told me that it would not affect any of their current competitors except me. We have to conclude then, that the TTXGP series is catering towards manufactured electric bikes in the scooter category putting out between 50-90 horsepower. No race fan would confuse these with a legitimate superbike, which is what we are developing to give people something to get excited about. Too many electric vehicles are slow and boring, and perpetuate the myth that electric vehicles can't be powerful and exciting. Our 194 horsepower, liquid-cooled UQM Technologies electric motor makes 295 ft/lbs of torque the instant you open the throttle and can be seen smoking its tire at www.youtube.com/chipyates"

The SWIGZ.COM Team is currently engaged in discussions with numerous event organizers and sanctioning bodies to set the 2011 schedule for racing and showcasing the electric superbike in front of real race fans and electric vehicle supporters around the world. On the engineering front, dyno testing, software development, and battery pack testing is ongoing and the superbike is expected to begin track testing in December, 2010.

CHIP YATES: "We have no shortage of invitations, special events, and races to participate in next year and can't wait to get this monster out on the track in front of the fans. The TTXGP series has taken a turn away from innovation and towards more of a spec racing series of low performance machinery that's not for us. We have developed a true superbike with real technology that shouldn't be hampered at this early stage by rule makers with a conflict of interest."

Electric Superbike Sponsors: SWIGZ.COM Dual Hydration System (www.swigz.com), Ohlins USA (www.ohlinsusa.com), Yoyodyne (www.yoyodyneti.com), McKenna Long & Aldridge, LLP (www.mckennalong.com), Swift Engineering (www.swiftengineering.com), MoTeC Systems USA – West (www.motec.com), Dainese (www.dainese.com), SolarReserve (www.solarreserve.com), Manzanita Micro (www.manzanitamicro.com), MicroStrain (www.microstrain.com), UQM (www.uqm.com), and Performance Machine (www.performancemachine.com)

About SWIGZ.COM: Designed and built in Orange County, California, SWIGZ® is the world's first dual hydration sports bottle allowing athletes to carry two drinks of their choice in a single bottle during workouts. SWIGZ® sports bottles can be purchased at www.swigz.com.

About Chip Yates: Before turning pro fairly late in life, Chip Yates was a Boeing executive in charge of transitioning advanced aerospace technology and patents to other industries such as automotive for racing and OEM applications. He personally holds 7 U.S. patents on automotive drivetrain and other technologies and is an engineer with a master's degree in business from USC. Chip has raced in the AMA Pro Daytona Sportbike series and the FIM World Supersport series. www.chipyates.com

TTXGP statement

TTXGP are very surprised and disappointed to learn via twitter that Swigz are choosing not to join TTXGP in 2011.

TTXGP 2011 will consist of two classes: Formula GP (maximum weight: 250kg) and Formula 75 (maximum weight: 200kg + 7.5kWh limit). The race length is 20miles. wiki.egrandprix.com was a key channel for rule deliberation. The rule book is open sourced, Harry Mallin of eMotoRules was involved in pulling together the suggested changes for rules of TTXGP 2011. They were then peer reviewed by the independent technical committee from the IET.

TTXGP is not a one man, one company show. Be Part of it is more than a tagline.

It was apparent over the 2010 season that a single class could not meet the best interests of the teams, fans or sponsors. The field was too wide. In this case TTXGP consulted widely, acted responsibly, in the best interest of the sport, community and majority of teams.

The economics of running a racing series means that classes have to be connected to number of entries. Our concern was to create classes that will have the highest number of entries and give the participants a level playing field. We are by nature committed to removing limits where possible.

TTXGP launched the Electric Motorcycle Motorsports in the world stage in 2009. In that time we, as an industry, have learnt a great deal that could move forward the progress and innovation. A key motivating factor for us and the current teams is to build vehicles that have real world applicability. Driving down mass for higher speed leads to higher efficiency and better design and fits in with the goals of the teams and the series.

To date, the rule changes have had a positive response and the teams are encouraged that we have created some sensible classes that will grow the field. Racing needs to both push and constrain to create real world innovation and a thrilling spectacle, in this case we are satisfied that we have struck the right balance for the greater good.

Using the conflict of interest with respect to Mavizen is a mute point. Mavizen exists purely to provide technical support, spare parts, expertise and on occasion, complete platforms to those that need it. No team is required to use Mavizen, though over the year, it has proved crucial to many.

In addition to the class changes, 2011 will also see solutions for logistics and a focused effort to promote the TTXGP teams across the world.

We wish Swigz well in whatever they decide to do.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      That is funny.... racing rules have MIN weights not MAX. This thing with mechanical front wheel drive is no guaranteed performer so who-ever is writing the rules to ban it is just stupid and/or gutless.

      It's all supposedly about innovation and competition!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      No racing rules have maximum weight limits.
      • 4 Years Ago
      @Joe : heavier (as in ICE bikes) WILL win a race .... on certain tracks.
      On tracks like Laguna Seca, they'd have a much harder time.
      To even the playing field, this is why ICE engine sizes are strictly limited, and classed, for races.

      This assumes of course the obvious: dead weight is useless, and will make you lose.
      weight added which gives you more hp (i.e. a bigger ICE engine), makes you win... on some tracks. (And finally, on motorcycles, better distribution of 'good' weight will also make you win...)

      That said, this is all wrong: at a minimum, as attoosmart mentions, there should be an Open Class. This technology is too early in its infancy.

      • 4 Years Ago
      I think TTXGP is too small to be eliminating competitors with a weight limit. And I tend to agree that weight will be self regulating. You always want your bike as light as possible, nobody is going to win with some giant bruiser of a bike that cant get through turns.
      • 4 Years Ago
      He's crying over 35lbs on 585 package?

      If the race organisers gave reduced the race length by 20% and he can't take out 6% of the weight compensate?

      Smells foul Chip. very foul.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I can understand why TTXGP would want to exclude his 194 hp monster from racing against 50-90 hp machines. Wouldn't be much of a contest. However, they could have an open class, that would allow Chip Yates to demonstrate the advanced capabilities of this bike. It's not like electric bike races last very long, so having two in one day shouldn't be a problem.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You bring up a good point on race duration. I would like to see some races that were longer in duration so charging would be required. Charging is half the story w/ EV's anyway. It would add a new design reqmn't for the battery---A monstrous C rate req'mnt in charge mode.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Neil and Joe,

      I totally agree. This is very disruptive and unproductive to the whole EV movement. Sounds like dirty politics for sure. The SWIGZ bike is so cutting edge it's incredible and Chip probably has a lot of his own money tied up in it. This guy tackled the engineering and design of this bike with the best tools you can imagine. He has enough data taken off his gas bikes to actually map the track. Then using the data map he can predict how his bike will handle. Of course being a Boeing guy with a high tech background helps.

      Now this decision also kills all the work he did on the regen system.

      If you have not seen it yet, check out this video.

      • 4 Years Ago
      I thought the point of having a race was to push efficiency and performance. A heavier bike is indeed a disadvantage. Why not let them race?

      Lame, i'm agreeing that there is a conflict of interest.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If the point of racing is innovation, and if low weight helps you win, then why limit it? Let the designers of each bike figure out what is more important to win -- if regenerative braking is worth the weight, then so be it. If low weight is better, then fine -- the lighter bikes will win, all else being equal.

      Let's not let (more) infighting hurt this new innovative class of racing. TTXGP and FIM E-Power should combine to improve the competition.

      Sincerely, Neil

      PS: The paragraph near the end of the press release should be:

      "Using the conflict of interest with respect to Mavizen is a [moot] point."
        • 4 Years Ago
        The point of racing is to win. Mavizen has managed to alter the rules to suit there machine. Not exactly sporting, but that's why you should have a governing body with no stake in any particular manufacturer. Unless all the builders are represented equally.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It does sound like a pretty serious conflict of interest if a supplier of lightweight bikes is one of the principles behind TTXGP and they institute a weight limit.

      • 4 Years Ago
      How can TTXGP be "very surprised and disappointed to learn...that Swigz are choosing not to join TTXGP in 2011" when they knew that the rule change would specifically exclude them.

      They need an open class. To exclude anyone from such a small series, especially those who are pushing the boundaries and the closest to making it mainstream is shortsighted at best.

      Conflict of interest, if there is one, they should have a one make class instead.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Re: the conflict of interest. Because of the two classes presented by the new rules, the Mavizen bike wouldn't even be racing against the Swigz bike. Mavizen's TTX02 would race in the Formula 75, and Yates' bike would race in Formula GP.

      Yates tweeted on Saturday, November 6, that he was working on a program that would get his bike to 245 pounds, approximately 6 pounds under the Formula GP limit. Given that statement, and the fact that the conflict of interest, even if it existed, wouldn't come into play in the Formula GP series, I'm not sure why SWIGZ pulled out of the TTXGP.
        • 4 Years Ago
        good input Brammofan. But why should he have to reduce the weight at all. Why make a last second change that would knock Chip out of the competition. _GSB
        • 4 Years Ago
        A wiki is hardly a foolproof format for making race series rules, and teams on short timelines and budgets may not have the bandwidth or even awareness to participate. Yates bike was well publicized. Those participating in the wiki were either acting ignorantly or maliciously in excluding his bike. An upper weight limit on the premier class is indefensible on any grounds, especially at this early stage of the race series and technology. You and the others involved in creating the rules should be ashamed.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It wasn't a "last second change." Weight in general was discussed, without resolution, on the TTXGP technical rules wiki, (of which I was the moderator), and anyone could have chimed in with their position on the subject. Although several teams contributed to (and many teams monitored) the discussion, SWIGZ was not one of them. As for the reasons behind the weight change, I think TTXGP addresses that in the statement. It's about balancing the needs for growing the series and classes, innovation, and keeping the field competitive.

        The AMA used to have a "Formula Xtreme" class that had few limits on the size, weight, HP, etc. of the bikes. The "leveling" of the playing field during races was controlled with a variety of mechanical constraints. It ended up being the proving ground for the AMA pro SuperSport class. TTXGP isn't big enough (yet) to have an analogous class, but maybe someday it will.
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