Right now, the Isle of Man is abuzz with the chatter of visitors and the blatting of motorcycles, as the annual set of TT (Tourist Trophy) contests are in full effect. Crowds have gathered from around the world, lining the 37.73-mile Snaefell Mountain Course, to watch races being run and records being beaten. They have not been disappointed.

In that falling-record category, the quietest bikes have made the biggest noise. Although the electric motorcycle TT Zero Challenge only gets underway at 10:45 AM, local time, on Wednesday, John McGuinness has already bested the mark he set last year in qualifying, completing one lap of the circuit at an average speed of 118.056 miles per hour.

That makes him and his Mugen mount faster than any sidecar ever, and puts the (unofficial) electric record just a hair's breadth from the mark set by 250 and 650 cc Lightweights. Considering those classes have the advantage of a flying lap, rather than a standing start, we think it might even be better. You can watch McGuinness talk about electric racing and his team's chances, along with further technical revelations about the Shinden Yon from Mugen Europe's Colin Whittamore in a video below.

The other big TT Zero news sees fan favorite Guy Martin in the seat of one of the Victory Racing entries. He took over for William Dunlop, who is recovering from bumps, bruises, and a broken rib sustained after crashing a Superstock bike in practice. Dunlop and Martin are BMW Tyco teammates.

Monday's qualifying session also put the prospective performance of the other competitors into perspective. Clearly Mugen would seem to have the advantage, with Victory running about a 10 mph-or-so slower average lap speed. Saroléa (96.763 mph) is a bit behind them, failing to break the ton – the colloquial equivalent of an average 100 mph. Of the three student teams, the University of Nottingham seemed stronger than the Brunel University entry, putting down a 81.93 mph marker, while the Kingston University Ion Horse has yet to register an official time. Saietta (which just recently merged with Agni Motors, winner of the first e-bike race here in 2009), was also entered, but seems to have not made it to the island.

We wish all the participants the best of luck and look forward to seeing footage of the machines in action. The course is an unforgiving test of both bikes and riders as it is set up on public roads and not a safer, more modern racetrack. Sadly, one TT participant, Franck Petricola, lost his life earlier this week – and so any finish across the line, really, is a good one.



Share This Photo X