Electric motorcycle racing took another huge leap forward on Wednesday, as Team Mugen's John McGuinness and Bruce Anstey shattered lap speed records in the 2014 TT ZERO on on the Isle of Man. Both McGuinness and Anstey raced faster today than they had during practice, and McGuinness came in first with a stunning 117.366 miles/hr lap speed, and Anstey with a 115.048 miles/hr lap speed. Coming in 3rd place was Rob Barber (Buckeye Current) with a 93.531 miles/hr lap speed, after a photo finish between against Robert Wilson (Sarolea) with a 93.507 miles/hr lap speed.
McGuinness and Anstey both set a faster pace, compared to Monday's qualifying round, in every sector of the 38 mile race around the Isle of Man. At the Bungalow checkpoint, on top of the mountain, McGuinness had a stunning 124.871 miles/hr lap speed to 122.443 miles/hr for Anstey. In the end it was the result we expected, Team Mugen taking 1st and 2nd, with McGuinness coming in fastest. What we didn't expect was such a stunningly fast finish.
After the race, Team Mugen posted on Twitter: We came with a sledgehammer of a bike and cracked the nut at 117mph winner @jm130tt second for Bruce Anstey great job for Shinden san
We'd been watching 3rd place all week to see who would take that podium spot. Barber scored an 89 miles/hr lap speed on Friday during practice, but during that run the Buckeye Current battery pack was damaged forcing the team to redesign the pack in the field. That meant Barber missed the two following practice rounds. Wilson (Sarolea) had faster lap times in both practice rounds than Barber's, so we knew the 3rd place finish would be close but we didn't know how close.
Their finishing times were so close that initially the Manx Radio announcers thought it was Sarolea who had taken 3rd place, and introduced Wilson on the radio as the 3rd place finisher. After race officials closely checked the results they determined that Rob Barber had indeed finished before Wilson, by a narrow 0.3 seconds.
Coming in fifth was Mark Miller riding the Team VercarMoto entry, and in sixth was Timothee Monot on the ManTTX bike.
A year ago we were celebrating that MotoCzysz and Mugen finished the TT ZERO with 109 miles/hr lap speeds. (MotoCzysz was sorely missed this year, the best of health to Michael Czysz) In one years time the top speed has jumped by about 8 miles/hr, which is an astronomical improvement compared to gas bike racing. The rate of improvement among the top electric racing motorcycles is so fast that one wonders how soon we'll see electric motorcycles holding the outright lap speed record on the TT course. Earlier this week several riders set new gas bike lap records, with Bruce Anstey scoring a 132 miles/hr record on Monday. That's a 23 miles/hr gap, but if the electric bikes continue improving by 5 or more miles/hr per year it's 4-5 years to close the gap.