For the last race of the eMotoRacing season, we decided to make the 2000 mile trek out to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. For those who don't know, Barber is an incredible race venue and motorcycle museum with over 1500 bikes in the collection. The AHRMA event coincides with Barber's Vintage Festival and it was reported there were about 72k people in attendance throughout the weekend! Between the museum, swap meet, Wall of Death, and numerous other attractions, it was a motorcycle lover's dream and we were barely able to get a taste of everything in the four days we were there. But back to the racing...
We brought four bikes to the grid, out of the ten electrics total, the largest grid we had participated in to date. Rafael DaSilva and Jeff Clark would be racing Zero SR motorcycles with Bobby Loo on his Zero FXGP and Brian Larrabure on the Zero FXS Pikes Peak Special. The other six bikes on the grid were Brammo Empulses, the most common choice for the race series. We had two practice days on Thursday and Friday to prepare for the race days on Saturday and Sunday. Luckily between the outlets provided by the track and the power from our solar powered support vehicle, we had plenty of electricity to go around. With these ample resources we kept the bikes topped off throughout the practice days to get the most out of them.
Saturday's race, had us with ten on the grid. We started in the last wave of riders behind the Triumph Thruxtons in the first wave and the Formula 750 and Sportman 750 in the second wave. With nearly sixty bikes on the grid, we were prepared for some exciting racing! As the green flag dropped, the bikes took off, but not even halfway into the first lap, we saw the red flag waving as one of the gas riders crashed in turn 1 (luckily he was ok). This is not such a big deal for the gas bikes, but for the electric bikes with limited battery range available, we were already pushing the limits for the eight lap race. This especially affected the smaller Zero FXS based bikes which have roughly half the range of the Zero SRs.
The bikes slowly made their way back to the starting grid to prepare for a restart. The green flag dropped for the second time and the bikes once again took off! Although we started over 20 seconds behind the first wave of riders, it didn't take more than a couple of laps before Rafael #913 had passed all the 750s and started picking off the Thruxtons one by one. By the end of the eight lap race, Rafael finished first in class having passed all but four of the gas bikes! Jeff finished second with Pete Nicolosi on the Brammo in third place. Even though their bikes were starting to lose some steam by the end, Brian was only a couple bikes behind in 5th place and Bobby in 7th. A great showing by all and to top it off, Colin Edwards was handing out the trophies at the award ceremony!
For Sunday's race, we decided to petition the officials to score us for only six laps. This would ensure the race was much more of a sprint and not as much of an endurance race so the lightweight FXS bikes could remain competitive among the field of heavyweights. As the bikes took off, Rafael once again took an early lead followed by Jeff and Brian. With only six laps and no red flag, the bikes would hold their own and it was up to the riders to keep up the pace. Rafael once again dominated, making his way through the field of 750s and Thruxtons. Jeff made some progress through the traffic and Brian was doing a great job keeping up on the Pikes Peak Supermoto, but Pete was hot on his tail.
Brian and Pete traded places a few times, battling it out for third, but with only two laps to go, Pete took the lead and Brian couldn't reel him back in. At the end of six laps, Rafael, Jeff and Pete once again finished first, second and third. It was some exciting racing and we definitely plan to attend future races at Barber and become more involved with the eMotoRacing series. Everyone involved is very enthusiastic and we had a great time hanging out between sessions. If you are itching to race an electric bike, you are in good company! Call us at Hollywood Electrics anytime and we'll set you up with a race-ready bike!
Thanks to the racers, my Hollywood Electrics Team and all the race fans that came out to support us! Now watch the video below of Rafael's incredible race on Saturday! Can you guess how many bikes he passed?