Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Mark Miller's story about not finishing the 2013 TT ZERO

In today's TT ZERO, Mark Miller pulled out of the race at Ballaugh Bridge while team-mate Mike Rutter went on to win the race.  I was going to let it go as one of those details that we'd never hear about, but Mark Miller made a long posting on Facebook describing his day at the TT.

Team MotoCzysz
In case the posting isn't publicly visible - here's my summary of what he said.  By all means click through to Facebook to read the real thing if you prefer.

Their strategy was for Miller to drop back and let McGuinness in front of him, and for Miller to draft McGuinness.  This way Miller would save a lot of energy that he could use in a sprint after the Bungalow, beating McGuinness and maybe even snagging first place. 

That idea was working fairly well, and they were even catching up with Mike Rutter.  If you read the race report, McGuiness was ahead of Rutter by as much as 9 seconds during the race, meaning they did almost catch up with Rutter.

At Ballaugh Bridge John McGuiness hit the juice hard and took lots of air.  Miller took it differently, and when he landed something in the gearbox broke ending the race for him. 

Mark Miller went on to discuss the relative size and such of the two teams.

First, he repeated the claim that apparently was going around that Mugen had spend $4 million on the 2013 bike.  Some proof was Mugen had 12 engineers on staff testing everything to the nth degree, and doing daily tests at a local track.  With all that they couldn't beat MotoCzysz, who had 1 engineer, one "manager type" and Michael Czysz' father "who can do everything well."  Oh, and Michael was on call while back in Oregon undergoing treatments.  A small team going against everything Honda, er, Mugen, could throw into it, and the Oregon boys still won.

Oh, and as for whether Mugen === Honda ... Miller said that Mr. Honda was there in person.  Big hint.

Miller described his instructions as to "create a thermal meltdown" just as the bikes cross the finish line, then lean the bike against the pit wall and let it burn.  He said that Rutter ended the race having consumed 1% more energy than the battery pack is rated for .. meaning that the bike was beyond empty.  That's what it really took to win against  Being willing to let the bike burn to the ground on the other side of the finish line.

I'll close this by noting that at the 2012 TTXGP at Portland International Raceway, one of the MotoCzysz riders did exactly that .. ride the bike hard enough to create a thermal meltdown.  What Michael Czysz told me at the time is that the bike had just returned from the 2012 TT ZERO on Friday, and Saturday they took it to PIR for the TTXGP, and they hadn't had time to switch from the Isle of Man pack to the TTXGP pack.  The difference is that for the Isle of Man they need distance, hence more kilowatt-hour capacity, and for a TTXGP they need speed, hence delivery of more raw power.  With the wrong pack on the bike it went into thermal problems and almost caught on fire.  But.. if Miller is correctly reporting the instructions ... maybe their rider in Oregon took it a little too literally.

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