Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lightning Motorcycles sets AMA/FIM electric motorcycle land speed record

Yesterday I reported on the Bonneville land speed racing last week, saying that Lightning Motorcycles had probably set a new record.  I've now talked with Richard Hatfield, and learned that they did set an official AMA and FIM land speed record for electric motorcycles, however they didn't get to beat their personal best speed from two years ago.  The new AMA/FIM electric motorcycle land speed record is 203 miles/hr. 

The racing event was cut short by a rainstorm that Richard described as the worst storm he'd ever seen.  That meant they could plausibly have gotten a higher speed if they'd been able to take a few more runs.

I didn't get a listing of all the runs Lightning did.  Richard said they set the FIM record first.  Then, because the FIM and AMA rules for fairings are different, they had to modify the fairing before setting the AMA record.  The difference is in the rear, where they had to expose the entire rear wheel from the axle rearwards.   Look at the picture above, and ponder how the tail would be different with a notch cut out of it.

The AMA and FIM record now stands at slightly above 203 miles/hr, getting slightly above 203 miles/hr in both directions.

For a couple days they had the 3rd fastest motorcycle overall at the event.

Two years ago they'd gone to Bonneville for an event sponsored by the Southern California Timing Associated and set a record of 215 miles/hr, and a top speed of 217 miles/hr.   While that was amazing, the SCTA events are not sanctioned by the AMA or FIM and the record was not recorded in the official record book.  Two weeks later Chip Yates did so setting the AMA/FIM electric motorcycle land speed records at just below 200 miles/hr.

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