March 16, 2009 In a landmark move, the world governing body for motorcycle sport, the FIM, is endorsing the upcoming TTXGP, the world’s first clean emissions motorcycle race which will be held on the Isle of Man on 12th June 2009. In making the announcement, FIM President, Vito Ippolito, said, “ FIM recognizes the importance of this area that is evolving very quickly. The future of the sport depends on our capacity as well as that of the manufacturers to innovate quickly. We are convinced that very shortly the motorcycle World Championships will be accessible to non-polluting engines.” For motorcycle manufacturers wishing for a place in history, this is now IT!
In acknowledging the significant milestone for the fledgling series, TTXGP founder Azhar Hussein said, “This our first big step to building a championship. It is a logical move for motorsport and society as we progress from a petroleum to more efficient, sustainable, intelligent and ultimately responsible energy management. Motorsport drove the first boom in personal transportation, and we can now be confident it will drive the second ecologically responsible boom, so we are very proud to have the support of the FIM in this endeavour. Our aim is to provide a platform, a competitive environment that will drive low-carbon technological innovation forward in form factors that are relevant to society as road transport, proving that clean-emission transport technologies have matured and can be fun, fast and exciting.
The TTXGP will be the first international platform for clean-emission motorcycles and provides exactly the same backdrop as the Isle of Man TT races did for petroleum-based machines a century ago. At a time when some European cities had laws requiring a man holding a flag to walk in front of a car on public roads, the IoM created an island-wide racetrack where enthusiasts have congregated annually every since. So powerful did the publicity derived from competing in these events become, that the phrase “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” was coined to capture the effectiveness of the racetrack as a proving ground for reliability and performance. He TTXGP provides a means for alternatively-powered motorcycle and trike manufacturers to prove their technologies to a still fundamentally unsure global marketplace. The historic first race will be held on June 12, less than 90 days away.
It is equally remarkable that the motorcycle manufacturers which form the pillars of the established motor industry (Honda, Yamaha, Harley Davidson, Suzuki, Ducati, BMW, Triumph et al), have not yet committed to an electric race program of any kind. Honda will have an all-electric roadgoing motorcycle by 2010, but only Austria's ultra competitive and innovative “ready-to-race" brand KTM has embarked on a visible electric bike development program.
All of those brands built their name on the back of competition victories in reliability trials and road racing, and it is astounding that none of the majors have yet committed even an exploratory entry into the historic first race for electric bikes.
The FIM's lead in moving the motorcycle industry towards an electric era is visionary – the world will have a massive electric two wheel industry just a decade from now, yet the industry's establishment has been very slow to move. Most of the working prototypes for electric two-wheeled transport have come from smaller innovative companies such as Vectrix, and more recently, Mission One.
While the entry list for the historic first race does not yet include Honda, Ducati or KTM, it is quite healthy and a number of independent teams from all over the world have already confirmed their entries for the groundbreaking event including representatives from the USA, UK, India, Germany and Austria. Witness the entry lists of similar events during motorsport's infancy and it was the first time the public ever saw names such as Daimler, Renault, Benz,
In failing to understand their commercial role fully, those companies which dominated commercial freight in the eighteenth century (shipping, canal and rail congolmerates), did not produce the road transport companies of the nineteenth century – similarly, unless they move with haste, the petroleum-based motorcycle industry might find that the Chinese motorcycle manufacturers can indeed build better and more cost-effective electric motorcycles. The smarts for the next round of motorcycles will come in the form of new expertise in batteries, drive train design and power management software.
Vito Ippolito, President of the FIM, commented: “The FIM recognizes the importance of this area that is evolving very quickly. We have had a working group on alternative energies in place for a year and a half, chaired by our American Vice President Robert Rasor, and we are pleased to support the TTXGP race on the Isle of Man.”
“The future of the sport depends on our capacity as well as that of the manufacturers to innovate quickly. We are convinced that very shortly the motorcycle World Championships will be accessible to non-polluting engines as far as gas and sound emissions are concerned.”
Representatives from the Isle of Man Government including Hon Martyn Quayle, MHK, Minister for Tourism and Leisure, also recently attended and spoke at the Lord Austin dinner and lecture along with TTXGP founder Azhar Hussain.
The Lord Austin Lecture forms part of the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s yearly programme of special named lectures and is attended by leading commercial and political figures.
This year’s lecture was themed Greener technologies for meaner motor sports. The other speaker at the event was Jon Hilton from Hybrid Systems LLP who discussed the KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) his company is developing for Formula One this season.
Hon Martyn Quayle, MHK, Minister for Tourism and Leisure, commented: “It is a real boost to the prestige of the TTXGP to have the support of the FIM and also the continued backing of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Azhar Hussain, the inspiration behind the TTXGP,and I were overwhelmed at the messages of support that we received from leading figures in the world of commerce and technology.”
Azhar Hussain said: The TTXGP is all about pushing the boundaries of what is possible with zero-carbon transport technologies and in doing so, securing widespread buy-in for the end to our dependency on fossil fuels. The recognition the FIM has given us today secures the TTXGP’s place in the world of motorsport and demonstrates that our mission is already showing signs of success.”
For further details on how to enter the TTXGP here.