Münch Racing's Mattias Himmelmann walked away as the victor of both series after a season of commanding performances, but a small twist of fate kept him from the top podium step at this race. That honor went to Canadian Miguel Duhamel, who Lightning Motorcycles manage to lure out of retirement for the appearance. The former AMA champion proved that the past three years he's spent "on the couch" have not dulled his competitive spirit.
Duhamel had a slight edge on Himelmann in practice and qualifying, but it was the big German who actually started strongest when the green flag fell and he led for several laps. That's when fate stepped in.
Apparently, the Münch TTE-2 machine shut itself down after a small bit of rubber managed to mash the big red emergency stop button under the rear fender, and it rolled to a stop, allowing the field to pass it by. Luckily, the rider quickly found the problem and resumed the race, in hot pursuit mode. To his credit, Himmelmann closed the gap considerably, and at the end of the eight lap race, flew across the finish line just 1.929 seconds after the winner, fast enough to clinch 2nd place.
Yu Tang overcame a crash in practice to finish third for Zongshen Racing, bringing his DC-powered bike in ahead of his teammates Ho Chi Fung and David Dumain. Though last in the race after rushing to rebuild his bike after its motor burned up, Christian Amendt took third place overall in the season standings on his Epo.
While we ponder the racing drama to come in Daytona, where the Le Mans winner will team with long-time Lightning rider Michael Barnes to take on both the Münch machines and the Brammo boys (and others) at the TTXGP World Championship, scroll down for the official press release from Le Mans, along with video from Lightning Motors showing Duhamel taking a lap in qualifying and hitting 166.6 miles per hour down the front straight.
FIM e-Power International Championship
Duhamel wins at Le Mans
Miguel Duhamel won the FIM e-Power & TTXGP race this afternoon at Le Mans. Despite a three-year break from competition, the Canadian champion had lost nothing of his will to win as he rode the US Barracuda Racing Team's electric Lightening motorcycle on the track this afternoon. For his first race in this discipline, he carried the day after an intense battle with Matthias Himmelmann of the Münch Racing Team. "It was a fantastic race, said Miguel Duhamel with his delightful Quebec accent. Lightning is very powerful but you have to pace yourself to preserve the batteries for the end of the race. It's the first time I've taken part in this type of race. I did 40 test laps this week, that's all."
2011 champion Matthias Himmelmann was out in front for the first few laps but was then stopped dead on the track. "A bit of rubber got stuck in the circuit breaker. I found the problem after a general check and then I was able to chase down Miguel." In the meantime, his Münch Racing Team team-mate Katja Poensgen had a much more serious electrical problem which kept her out for the duration. As a result, she loses the 2012 FIM e-Power International Championship title that goes to Matthias Himmelmann for the second year running.
After his win at Oschersleben, Tang Yu of the Zongshen Racing Team is on the podium again, ahead of his team-mates Ho Chi Fung and David Dumain, editor-in-chief of the French magazine Moto Journal. Christian Amendt of Germany, who brings up the rear in the rankings here at Le Mans, had to rebuild his bike after the practice following a motor burnout. His determination paid off as he takes the third place in the overall 2012 FIM e-Power rankings behind Matthias Himmelmann and Katja Poensgen.