27th July 2012
The third round of this years championship is a joint round with FIM ePower held at the world famous Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca during the US Grand Prix. Today saw the first practice of the weekend with newcomers to the grid Tom Montano (no. 89 for Barracuda Lightning) and Eric Bostrom (no. 32 racing for Team Icon Brammo), the weekend racing should be exciting.
It has been a spectacular day with high and lows for the teams. After the rain during round two at PIR the Californian sunshine was a welcome change for the TTXGP North American racers joined on the grid this race by their European cousins from FIM ePower, no. 49 Matthias Himmelman and 65 Katje Poensgen.
With 11 riders entered for this year’s event, Kenyon Kluge (Zero/K Squared Racing) and Ted Rich opened with their production based motorcycles.
The best time (1’35.024) was set by Michael Barnes (Barracuda/Lightning) with a top speed of 219,7km/h. Second fastest was Steve Atlas (Team Icon Brammo) followed by Tom Montano on the second Lightning.
After the free practice session the riders gave us their following impressions:
Michael Barnes: “We were a little behind the eight ball today and went out on a bike that was not as good as I know it should be. We didn't have a chance to put tyre warmers on so the bike was cold, and improvements need to be made with the suspension and geometry wise. Having said that there were definitive improvements to the bikes handling since Infineon our speed is strong as it always has been and the handling is getting each time better when we are out on the track. My goal this weekend was to beat Rapps’ qualifying time from last year as I know the bike is capable. We are close today in the free practice and hope to close the gap in tomorrow's Qualifier but I am not sure we will have that magic set up that we are working toward.”
Brian Wiseman, Brammo’s Director of product development: “After a brilliant effort by team Icon Brammo to get a two bike team to Laguna, we were met with a good start on bike 58 (Steve Atlas) and a perplexing problem on Bike 32 (Eric Bostrom.) Although the bike ran great in testing, it seemed determined to run in reverse ahead of the first practice. The problem is currently being diagnosed and resolved, but unfortunately we were not able to get the use resolved in time to allow Eric to get out of the first practice session.”
Following the practice session the team solved the simple technical glitch and is now confident for tomorrow qualifying session.
Matthias Himmelman: “We are excited to be back here at Laguna with many new developments from last year. The bike is almost completely new and we are still working on getting the right set up and could probably do with another two months to work on it. The suspension really needs work as is currently too low and we have a new swing arm that has not been calibrated properly. I am very happy with the motor however as it is working so much better than any we have used before. In fact, it is working so well that we have agreed to distribute Wittenstein Motors to help others have access to such great technology. I am of course disappointed with my time today but I know I have a better result waiting for me tomorrow.”
Katja Poensgen: “Today everything for me was about getting to know the track. There are many blind corners; this track is not an easy track to learn so it can be scary the first time out. I have been working on growing myself confidence and to trust in my own ability. I finished the session a little early as the bike was getting hot and rather than risk overheating I wanted to make sure that the settings were correct. It is great to be on the track with so many American teams, I think it is going to be a fun race. I am sure tomorrow will see a better performance from me, this is what we come racing for; to always go out and do better.”
Robert Hancock: “I have to say it was amazing being out there today my first time at Laguna Seca and the first time I have ever ridden an electric bike make this a very special day for me. One thing I did notice was that without engine breaking the bike just falls into the corners much quicker than I expected which scared me a little first time but once I got used to it, the experience was awesome. I know I go quicker, today was to get to know the bike as well as the track.”
Kenyon Kluge: “First practice was a solid session for the zeros as it has been all season long for us. Both the Zero's ran perfectly from the beginning to the end of the session with no surprises. Ted and I were practicing race configuration to try and get the best times for both of us so that tomorrow we can put in the best possible qualifying time. We are really confident that we will be able to cover the full race distance without any trouble. Ted and I had a little fun running back and forth throughout the race and passing each other figuring out how to get around Laguna as fast as we can!”
Qualifying practice is scheduled tomorrow Saturday at 17:10 (30mn).
|no||rider||team||time||gap||top Speed (km)|
|58||Steve Atlas||Team Icon Brammo||1'39.233||4.209 4.209||197.0|
|89||Tom Montano||Barracuda/Lightning||1'43.144||8.120 3.911||193.3|
|49||Matthias Himmelmann||Muench Racing||1'44.211||9.187 1.067||199.3|
|65||Katje Poensgen||Muench Racing||1'53.453||18.429 9.242||165.4|
|72||Robert Hancock||Virgina Tech Bolt||2'01.000||25.976 7.547||140.0|
|11||Ted Rich||Zero Motorcycles||2'03.928||28.904 2.928||119.8|
|96||Kenyon Kluge||K2 racing||2'04.064||29.040 0.136||124.9|
|32||Eric Bostrom||Team Icon Brammo||DNS|
Circuit Record: Steve Rapp Mission Motors 1'33.194
Circuit Best Lap: Steve Rapp Mission Motors 1'31.376 (in qualifying)
Photos by Jacky Ley/FIM - Good-Shoot
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