July 7, 2013
Electric Motorcycle Rules On Pikes Peak
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) is an annual race at Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The race, also known as the Race to the Clouds, is a 156-turn, 12.42-mile climb up Pikes Peak, beginning at an elevation of 9,390 feet and ending at 14,110 feet. This annual event began in 1916 and is the second oldest motorsport event in the US.
The PPIHC has attracted big name racers like Mario Andretti (won 1969), Al Unser (won 1964 and 1965), Bobby Unser (won nine times from 1956 to 1968), and Robby Unser, current record holder in the open wheel class set in 1994 at 10m 05.850s.
In 2011, 30 percent of the course still had dirt sections on it. By August of 2011, the course had been completely paved and future running’s of the PPIHC proved to be faster and records were broken.
In 2013, the race was held from June 24 to June 30. Among the 146 competitors were 63 automobiles and 83 motorcycles. Sebastien Loeb, a 9-time World Rally Championship from France, crushed the previous overall record with a time of 8m 13.878s in an 875 hp 2013 Peugeot in the unlimited class. His average speed up the multi-turn course was 87.47 mph. The previous record of 9m 46.164s was set in 2012.
Currently, there are 21 different classes that compete in this event, thirteen automobile and eight motorcycle classes. This year proved to be a year that the electric-powered vehicles gave the gas jobs something to talk about.
A record was set in at the 2013 race in the electric automobile class by Nobuhiro Tajima from Japan with a time of 9m 46.530s in an E-Runner Pikes Peak special. Only four gas-powered automobiles were quicker.
Not only are electric automobiles making a name in the race, electric motorcycles are stepping up to the challenge. This year’s race had an electric motorcycle prepared by Lightning Motorcycles, driven by Carlin Dunne from Santa Barbara, CA, dominate the motorcycle class. The 200 plus hp electric motorcycle climbed the course in 10m 0.694s with the closet gas-powered bike turning in a time of 10m 21.323s.
Dunne also set a record in 2012 in the 1205cc class with a time of 9m 52.819s. This is the overall record for any motorcycle class at the Pikes Peak race.
Most of the other electric bike times were in the mid 12-minute range, although the gas-powered automobiles still rule over the electric cars at Pikes Peak. The electric motorcycle has proven that it can not only rise to the challenge, but win in a sport primarily for gas-powered bikes.
Image Credit: Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber