Michael Rutter has just won his third SES TT Zero, giving MotoCzysz it's fourth-in-a-row victory in the electric motorcycle race on the Isle of Man. But it was close. Damn close. One-point-six-seconds close. In the end, after months of engineering effort, the top spot on the podium – the only position that really matters to these guys – came down to which team was willing to take the most risk.

As we suspected, it was really a contest between nineteen-time TT winner John McGuinness on the Mugen Shinden Ni and reigning TT Zero champion Michael Rutter riding for MotoCzysz. Both teams wanted this win badly. For MotoCzysz, this bike (you can see great pictures of it here) represents its entire electric drivetrain technology and motorcycle performance parts business and the event gives the U.S.-based outfit a worldwide publicity megaphone. The difference between a win and second place could mean keeping the lights on. Though, with team principal Michael Czysz currently engaged in a personal health battle, the positive result might be even more important.

*UPDATE: We've added some on-board footage from the bikes of both Rutter and McGuinness
How badly did Mugen want to win? If the widely-circulated rumors are correct, the company (which is very closely associated with Honda) spent $4.3 million developing this year's entry. It is 44 pounds lighter than last year's Shinden – or, 神電, which means "God of Electricity" in Japanese. Ni, or, 二, means two – and appears to be mostly hewn from carbon fiber (you can see a pretty awesome photo set here).

It went down like this. It's something of a time trial race, so each rider left the starting gate with 10 seconds between them. Rutter left first, with teammate Mark Miller next in line. McGuinness was third off the mark and soon found himself passing Miller. That was, however, part of Miller's race strategy, and he ducked into the Mugen's slipstream and began conserving energy. The move, however, may have also helped McGuinness gain some speed as he began closing the gap on Rutter, eventually opening up a nine-second lead.

Miller hung tight until Ballaugh Bridge, where the bikes generally take to the air. Upon landing, "something in the gearbox broke," and MotoCzysz was down to one entry. Rutter hit 142.2 miles per hour down the Sulby straight and started narrowing the gap. It was going to be close.

According to Mark Miller's account of things, the Mugen team wouldn't let McGuinness wring every last electron from the machine. For good reason, perhaps. There's a fine line with lithium ion batteries that, when crossed, can cause the units to self destruct in a difficult-to-extinguish conflagration. On the other hand, the Americans were willing to let it burn if it meant a win and the E1PC crossed the line with its batteries actually below their capacity.

The race saw another team from the US on the podium as well. Rob Barber did the Buckeye Current team from The Ohio State University proud, bringing their shoe-string budget bike 'round the Snaefell Mountain course at an average 90.403 mph. An amazing accomplishment indeed.

The Rutter/MotoCzysz win set a new record lap time for electric bikes of 109.675 mph, which was just slightly below the 110-mph goal for this year. We expect they'll be aiming even higher next year, but for now, we'd just like to congratulate everyone involved for their efforts and wish Mr. Czsyz a speedy recovery. You can see some onboard Shinden Ni footage and recorded flybys from the race in the video below along with the official press release.








Show full PR text


Michael Rutter takes another SES TT Zero win for MotoCzysz team in record-breaking lap

Michael Rutter and MotoCzysz took a thrilling victory in the SES TT Zero race in glorious conditions on the Isle of Man this morning, officially breaking the previous clean emissions lap record that he set last year. The Midlands rider smashed the record unofficially earlier in the week during practice on the MotoCzysz 2013 bike, but only narrowly took victory from Mugen rider John McGuinness. Rutter's new record official is a time of 20:38.46 (109.675mph), beating his time last year (21:45.33/104.056) by over a minute.

John McGuinness was not far behind Michael Rutter, lapping with a time of 20:40.13 (109.527mph) on the Mugen machine. The Morecambe missile showed that he can be just as competitive in the Zero class as he is in the other classes at TT 2013. Robert Barber, the 2009 race winner, took the final podium place on the Ohio State University machine, which lapped the Mountain course in 25:02.467 (90.403mph). Rutter's American MotoCzysz teammate, Mark Miller unfortunately retired at Ballaugh Bridge with a broken gear box.

George Spence on the Kingston University bike was next to finish the race with a time of 25:41.82 (88.096mph), followed by Chris McGahan on the Vercarmoto at 83.857mph.

After announcing that this would be his last TT, Ian Lougher paid tribute to Yoshinari Matsushita on the Komatti Mirai machine with a time of 27:46.30 (81.515mph). David Madsen-Mygdal on the Imperial and Paul Owen on the Brunel University machine completed the group in today's one lap race.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 13 Comments
      raktmn
      • 1 Day Ago
      Wow. It took gas motorcycles 20+ years to go from 100 mph average speed to 110 mph average speed. EV's nearly did that in just 1 year. For reference, the 600cc gasser class was 128 mph. Still a ways to go, but closing quicker that I ever expected! Here in the States, Brammo is racing against the gas bikes and finishing in the middle of the pack using both full race versions of the Brammo RR, and nearly stock versions of the Empulse R (the Empulse TTX) in some classes. EV motorcycles have come a long ways in the last few years.
      Roy_H
      • 1 Day Ago
      I don't think it will take very many years before electrics beat gassers. When this happens there will be a major shift as racers realize that to be in the top spot they have to have electric bikes/cars.
        Dave D
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Roy_H
        That is so obvious to anyone who isn't anti-EV. Once they start beating the ICE boxes, then all the glamour goes to the TT Zero class. Of course, it will take a long time before the EVs can even dream of a 4 lap race, but it will be really interesting to see where we are in 2020. Maybe 2 laps at top speeds? They'll probably doing 130mph laps by then and that takes a LOT more energy than a 110mph lap.
          CoolWaters
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave D
          I'd say, with current improvement rate, that will be in 7 years.
          raktmn
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Dave D
          In regular track racing where they don't do gas tank fill-ups, it looks like EV motorcycles are going to start being competitive in just a few years. Once EV motorcycles start taking track records away from gassers, and filling podiums, they will have to make gasser-only slower classes just so gas bike die-hards will have somewhere they have a chance at still winning.... =)
        raktmn
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Roy_H
        The length of the race seems to be the biggest hurdle for now. The EV's do a single lap on the Isle of Mann TT track, but the gassers do 4 laps with gas fill-ups in the pits. Fast swap batteries could solve that for EV motorcycles I guess.
      no1bondfan
      • 1 Day Ago
      It's incredible that a small company like MotoCzysz can even be close to a well-financed squad like Mugen, let alone to win. Congratulations to them. They are really inspiring.
      CoolWaters
      • 1 Day Ago
      Stunning, Staggering SPEED. Wow.
      Giza Plateau
      • 1 Day Ago
      That's crazy fast. I've said it before and I'll say it again, at those speeds, aerodynamics is king. Much to be gained still if allowed.
        Dave D
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        LOL Last year, you caused one hell of an argument on here when you said that. Will be interesting to see if they rise to the occasion again :-)
        raktmn
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Giza Plateau
        The top team, MotoCzysz, actually removed all of their aerodynamics stuff they developed for last year's record-breaking 2012 bike that shattered The Ton. This year's 2013 went back to their less aerodynamic design from their 2011 bike they won on two years ago, and just added much more battery power instead. The 2013 added over 10 mph to their 2011 average speed using more power with the same aerodynamics. The 2012 added ~5 mph to their 2011 average speed by using every aerodynamic trick they could find. Right now, power is king, aerodynamics isn't as important as sheer power. The
      karlInSanDiego
      • 1 Day Ago
      In the future, consider that you spoiled the outcome for those who haven't watched it yet. Good idea to bury the win below the headline so those who want to be surprised, can be.
        Domenick
        • 1 Day Ago
        @karlInSanDiego
        Sorry about that, I'll definitely consider it in the future. I went with this because there was such a time lapse between the actual race and the time the post could go live. And, I was really excited. :)
    • Load More Comments