Friday, January 31, 2014

Jeremiah Johnson returning to Pikes Peak, riding for Brutus Electric Motorcycles

Jeremiah Johnson on the Brutus V2 Rocket
Brutus Electric Motorcycles and Bell Custom Cycles announced today they're entering the 92nd Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and that they've signed Jeremiah Johnson as the rider.  Brutus manufactures a small line of motorcycles that includes cruiser and cafe racer style bikes.  For Pikes Peak, Johnson will be riding Brutus's V2 Rocket electric motorcycle, which has yet to be properly unveiled.

Jeremiah Johnson is a well known figure in electric motorcycle racing, of course.  He's an AMA Pro racer with many years experience.  I first met him in 2009 when the TTXGP came to the AMA Vintage Motorcycle event in Ohio.  At that time he rode a bike built by EnerTrac, but was talking about building his own bike, including one for long distance riding.  In 2012 he rode Zero S's in a couple TTXGP races, and for the 2013 season he rode his own 2013 Zero S in both eRoadRacing and the Pikes Peak Hill Climb.  In addition he's helped Terry Hershner with his own cross country electric motorcycle adventures.

Jeremiah has demonstrated a passion for electric motorcycles and electric motorcycle racing.

The press release has him saying:
I am really stoked to get the opportunity to race the Brutus Electrics V2 Rocket for the 2014 race season. I have talked to the team behind the bike many times and their goals are really in tune with their creations. I recently got the opportunity to spend time at their shop in Las Vegas and saw the progress of the V2 Rocket firsthand. The Brutus team really listens to my feedback on the bike’s design, making them a great company to work with. I can see the potential of this bike and I can’t wait to get it on the track. We have a lot of different racing planned for this year and the V2 Rocket is going to be an exciting bike to race. Team Be-Ev.Com has done a lot of work through the years to bring the modern idea of electric vehicles to as many people as possible. I know that working the V2 Rocket into our race program will allow us to showcase the potential of electric vehicles being designed by private innovators. This is going to be a fun year.
Chris Bell, the CEO of Brutus Electric Motorcycles is quoted saying:
Jeremiah’s input on the V2 Rocket project has not only made it a better machine, it has allowed Bell Custom Cycles to expand its line to include racing electric motorcycles. From our initial conversation I knew I had to have Jeremiah pilot the V2 for its first appearance and the many more to come. With Jeremiah’s breadth of racing experience and Team Be-Ev.Com behind him, I am confident together we will have quite a good showing for 2014.
Sophon Johnson, VP of Brutus Electric Motorcycles, is quoted saying:
The first time I met Jeremiah and it felt like a reunion with a long-lost brother! At Bell Custom Cycles we are one big family. Jeremiah is a great fit to our family and for the message we are all try to bring to the public with our one-of-a-kind motorcycles. His knowledge and experience are a great asset to Bell Custom Cycles, Brutus Electric Motorcycles, and the V2 Rocket. I am very pleased he will be racing our V2 over the next year and that we will be working together with him and Team Be-Ev.Com.
Gene Seymour, CTO of Brutus Electric Motorcycles, is quoted saying:
When we started designing our V2 Rocket, I knew instantly who had to race it: Jeremiah. I knew Bell Custom Cycles, Brutus Electric Motorcycles wanted someone with Jeremiah’s passion, skill, and knowledge to ride our introduction into the world motorcycle racing scene. As a technical racing advisor, Jeremiah has helped guide our design and develop the V2 Rocket into what it is today: a flexible platform for racing or street riding that will deliver reliable and exciting performance. I'm looking forward to seeing where 2014 brings the partnership of Brutus Electric Motorcycles and Jeremiah Johnson with Team
I first met Gene during the 2010 TTXGP season, when he still worked for Manzanita Micro.  Manzanita was supporting some of the TTXGP teams, and at each race sent someone (usually Gene) to the race as a support crew.  Gene knows his, er, stuff, about building electric vehicles.  While I've not seen a Brutus bike in person, to know that Gene is involved with the company tells me it'll be a good bike.

The only qualm I have about the Brutus bikes is they all use DC motors.  Okay, so I have a DC motor in my electric car, and I shouldn't be saying this, but really aren't DC drive trains so 1990's?

Anyway, what Brutus has unveiled concerning the V2 Rocket are these specs:

Motor9” DC
Battery Pack20 kilowatt-hour
Weight545 lbs
Overall Height46”
Wheel Base58.5”
Seat Height32.5”

I wonder if for racing they'll keep it with a 20 kWh pack.  The lighter weight of a smaller pack is desirable, right?  With a 9" DC motor there should be plenty of power to keep Jeremiah happy.

On Facebook, Johnson has been discussing organizing a whole racing team with multiple riders.  We still don't know if eRoadRacing will run in North America in 2014, but Johnson is working with Arthur Kowitz on launching the eMotoRacing series.

Whether Johnson will race the Brutus V2 Rocket at anything other than Pikes Peak remains to be seen.  The press release only says Pikes Peak, but in the quote from Johnson he talks about having planned a lot of different racing for 2014.  What the folks at Brutus said in response to my query is: "we are planning on doing other races as the year progresses and will post more info as we are able to set things in stone."

Brutus Electric Motorcycles: