Two Wheels

John McGuinness wins SES TT Zero Challenge for Mugen

Sets New Record Average Speed Of 119.279 MPH

  • Image Credit: Pacemaker Press Intl.
Motorcycle racer John McGuinness is also known as the Morecambe Missile (for his birthplace and speedy attributes), and McPint (because he shares his family name with a much-loved, very delicious, dark Irish beer). We would now like to also bestow upon him the title of The Battery Whisperer. Yes, it's probably a bit nerdy, but seeing as he has just won his second SES TT Zero Challenge with a second record-setting performance, we think it's apt.

The 43-year-old Englishman garnered his 22nd Isle of Man TT victory aboard the all-electric Mugen Shinden Yon, completing the one-lap race at an average speed of 119.279 miles per hour, and breaking his own unofficial record from the day before. Though the field lacked a large number of challengers – only seven riders left the start line – their quality can not be questioned. Bruce Anstey, owner of the all-time lap record on the Isle of Man (132.298 mph) and riding an identically-prepared Mugen machine, was chief among them. In fact, the New Zealander actually had a slight lead early on.

The New Zealander actually had a slight lead early on.

In a post-race interview, McGuinness copped to bobbling a switch on the bike at the start, which reduced its power output somewhat, perhaps costing him a potential 120-mph lap in the process. After correcting his mistake, and with electrons back in full flow, he proceeded to carve out the quickest, most efficient battery-powered path around the 37.73-mile Snaefell Mountain Course, making up for the initial deficit to his teammate and adding a few seconds. Anstey wasn't far behind, finishing with a notable 118.857 mph performance of his own.

In its debut on the Isle of Man, Victory Motorcycles acquitted itself quite nicely, with the young Lee Johnston taking third place averaging 111.620 mph. Guy Martin, who was a last-minute replacement for William Dunlop, completed his second-ever lap around the course on an electric bike at an average 109.717 mph. Both riders seemed to really enjoy the experience, with Johnston saying that he hoped to be back in the battery bike saddle again next year.

Arguably the most beautiful bike in the contest was also the most improved. The Saroléa SP7, expertly guided by Robert Wilson, went from sub-ton territory in early qualifying to a somewhat more satisfying 106.510-mph finish. Pre-race, Wilson said the new bike was hugely improved over the one the Belgian outfit had brought in its 2014 debut and the numbers would certainly back that up. We can't help but hope this result encourages the resurrected brand to continue its campaigns.

Of the three university teams that made it to the island this year, only the University of Nottingham managed a finish, with Michael Sweeney bringing home a 73.156 mph result. We understand that speed might have been greatly improved had it not been for a glitch forcing the bike to come to a stop several times. Interestingly, the team uses the same Parker motor found in the Victory bikes, although it is packaged in its off-the-shelf jacket as opposed to a custom container for the American team. This goes to show the importance of batteries (and budgets) in a contest such as this. While obviously slower than its corporate competition, a finish has to be seen as a win for the team, and it aims to break the ton in 2016.

You can see some snaps of the victors in the gallery above. Video of the brief post-race press conference is just below, where it keeps company with the official press release.

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History makers McGuinness and Mugen deliver again in SES TT Zero

John McGuinness broke his own SES TT Zero record in today's Isle of Man TT Races with his teammate Bruce Anstey again following him home, as he did last year. Anstey was also inside McGuinnesses old lap record for the electric bike class.

John McGuinness was first away from the line but by Glen Helen Anstey had actually moved into the lead on timing, albeit with only a second separating the Mugen pair who had already established a 17 second lead over third placed Lee Johnson with his Victory Parker Racing teammate Guy Martin in fourth a further nine seconds back. Martin was a late replacement for William Dunlop who was injured earlier in the week during qualifying.

McGuinness had moved into the lead by the next timing point at Ballaugh Bridge with a lead of over two seconds from Anstey with the Team Mugen pair establishing a healthy lead at the front of the field. Johnson and Martin continued their challenge for the final podium spot with the Northern Ireland rider establishing a lead of over 10 seconds from Martin at Ballaugh.

Robert Wilson consolidated fifth place for Belgium's team Sarolea Racing while James Cowton (Brunel University) and Michael Sweeney (University of Nottingham) were going head to head in sixth and seventh for the honour of finishing the first university.

At the front of the field McGuinness was being made to work for the race win by Anstey with the gap closing to less than three seconds but the Morecambe Missile held on to win with a new lap record of 119.279mph (18:58.743) from Anstey (118.857/19:02.785) with Lee Johnston taking third for Victory/Parker Racing with 111.620mph - 20:16.881. Guy Martin (109.717/ 20:37.987), Robert Wilson (106.510/21:15.256) completed the top five with Michael Sweeney (73.156/30:56.695) taking the University honours for Nottingham.

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