American Michael Czysz has been building two-wheeled racing motorcycle masterpieces for many years, though the cruel reality of racing has meant that the distinctly proletarian budgets he has had at his disposal in building not just his own race bikes, but his own racing motors has always seen his work directly compared to factory machinery of Honda, Yamaha, Ducati et al, who spend tens, maybe hundreds of millions and have a professional team with a cast of hundreds. When electric motorcycling came along, Czysz was a natural to bring his energetic and innovative mind to the new class and forge the way.
Widely considered the “man most likely” for almost too long in (internal combustion engine) motorcycle racing, his new electric motorcycle took its first BIG win in the Isle of Man TT Zero race a few hours ago when it blitzed the competition, demonstrating 135 mph top speeds and went within a whisker of the GBP10,000 prize for the first 100 mph lap of the Island circuit. Most significantly, the MotoCzysz team demonstrated the massive performance leap electric bikes have taken over the last 12 months as the second IOM electric race, albeit under a different guise (the original creators of electric racing, TTxGP now has several international series running) saw the average winning speed jump more than 10% from 87.434 mph to 96.820 mph.
Though the MotoCzysz E1PC machine, ridden by Californian Mark Miller, was still lapping at 99.513 mph in the closing stages of the event, discretion became the better part of valor and the final time of 23 minutes 22.89 seconds calculated to an average 96.820 mph. That's still a long way from the Superstock 1000cc lap speeds.In winning the Royal London 360 Superstock Race this year, Ian Hutchinson averaged 128.1 mph on his Padgetts Honda CBR1000RR.
In the TTZERO event, Glen Helen took an early lead at the first timing checkpoint with an average speed of 95.212 mph, riding the Agni Z1 from the team which won the inaugural event. The extraordinary speed of the MotoCzysz soon overcame the Agni, and by the time the teams reached Ballaugh, the MotoCzysz E1PC had edged five seconds ahead and upped the average speed to 98.973 mph.
Agni’s second bike (Agni Z2) ridden by Jenny Tinmouth was in third at Ballaugh, with ManTTx rider James McBride less than a second behind her in fourth. Chris Palmer (Sert), Shaun Gilbert (Special Zero Emissions), Mark Buckley (Ecolve) and George Spence (Kingston University) made up the rest of the field.
The near-wireless E1PC uses a proprietary, integrated, electric motor controller DDU (known as the D1g1tal Drive Unit) and the full story of the bike and its technology is beautifully covered at Popular Science this week, and there's a whole lot more about the development and technology involved in the bike on the MotoCyzsz web site, Michael's blog, and in an upcoming documentary film entitled CHARGE (video of the trailer). The speed differential at the Sulby Speed trap was massive - the MotoCzysz clocked 135 mph while the ManTTx team were the second fastest with 107.200 mph and Agni’s Z1 from Agni Racing third with 104.200 mph.
MotoCyzsz continued to improve the pace on the faster parts of the circuit and by Ramsey had pushed its overall average to 103.978 mph and three teams (Rob Barber of Team Agni and James McBride on the ManTTx) were now averaging more than the “ton” (the magical 100 mph mark).
MotoCzysz extended its lead to over a minute by Cronk Ny Mona but had slipped below the 100 mph average to 99.513 mph and in the closing stages of the race dropped further in speed to ensure the win, rather than the GBP10,000 prize that was put up by the Isle of Man Government for the first team to record a 100 mph lap.
When the MotoCzysz crossed the line at Glencrutchery road in 23.22.89, it had averaged 96.820 mph – a disappointment in some respects because the bike clearly had the speed to do much better. On the other hand, every other facet of the event was a success for the team, and it can be expected to play a significant role in the future of electric motorcycle racing. Rob Barber and Agni Z1 were second, bettering last year’s winning time with 25.21 (89.290 mph) and local team ManTTx and James McBride third with 25.39.50 (88.653 mph).
For Michael Czysz and the entire MotoCzysz team, congratulations are in order, not just for the win, but for enduring the journey and never failing to believe. We suspect that you'll be seeing that name a lot more in motorcycle racing in the future, and indeed, it could well become a significant entry in the history books of motorsport when it's all taken into account in retrospect at some distant point.
The racing of vehicles with internal combustion engines will be as relevant to motorsport 100 years from now as the chariot racing of 2000 years ago is to harness racing today. It's just that no-one has bothered to think it through, from Bernie Ecclestone down.
Czysz, like last year's winner AGNI, could well go on to become the Ford, Renault or Daimler of the twenty first century. All those people demonstrated the mechanical excellence of their designs to an attentive public at the beginning of motorsport 100 years ago. Their reputations were forged on results far less convincing than the dominant display of the MotoCzysz earlier today.
Well done Michael Czysz!