2014: what went down (so to speak) on the mountain?
-Zero Motorcycles (well, indirectly) got exactly what they put in: a Zero FX entered, and it finished. Rider Jeff Clark put in an average time, on an average bike- it was the 2013 FX, not the improved 2014. This is because it wasn’t literally a factory team, but pretty much sponsored by Los Angeles dealership Hollywood Electrics, who did some light mods. (Though not enough to leave the production class, for the modified class).
-Brutus Motorcycle put in their V2 custom… and got a worse time than Clark on a Zero. Last year’s Zero. Last year’s lightweight Zero. Yeah, doesn’t say much about them, but it could be the rider, not the bike. Could be the person tuning the suspension didn’t quite grasp the issues of the course. Could be the V2 is really more of a drag bike or boulevard catapult, and the suspension doesn’t really tune. (The course contains hairpins, “The Devil’s Playground,” and a part called “Bottomless Pit.” ) Never rode a Brutus, nor have any acquaintances. Don’t particularly feel like it now.
-Bigger news: Mitsubishi’s modified race car (billed by them as a kind of MiEV, but no one actually believes that) came within 2.5 seconds of topping all other cars, gas or electric. 2.5 seconds is close enough to be driver skill, a botched corner, something getting on the course, etc. And we were that close to a 2013 Lightning moment, but in cages, not bikes.
-Similarly, “Tesla” raced… actually, it was a privateer in a modified Tesla Roadster, not a factory team. Similarly, a Honda Fit EV beat the sleek, expensive model. Someone in a Honda Fit, modified only with a race-mandated roll cage, beat a Tesla sports car.
Life’s weird, eh? Actually, no, this is perfectly understandable. In a growth industry, lots of stuff is going on, and one slipup means the first can become last- that’s how you know the industry is actually growing and developing.