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Electric Bike makes top five at Daytona

A battery-powered Energica made history at the famous Daytona race circuit in early March, by not only racing against combustion bikes, but finishing seventh in the first race, and fifth in the second. Winner of both rounds was Tyler O’Hara on an Indian FTR.

Colombian rider Stefano Mesa was pitting an Energica Eva Ribella RS against a more typical field of big-displacement petrol bikes. The event was part of the MotoAmerica Super Hooligan series, restricted to 750cc+ water-cooled twins – Indian FTR, KTM 890, Harley Pan America etc – along with unlimited air-cooled twins…and “Electric Street machines with race level battery specifications.” The Daytona rounds took in six laps of the iconic circuit, which has seen plenty of historic battles in the past, but never (tell us if we’re wrong) electric vs petrol racers.

Are we likely to see more battery vs combustion battles in future? It all depends on whether race authorities can decide how to provide a level playing field between two very different types of power train. While it’s relatively easy to divide petrol bikes into different classes depending on engine size, weight and power, electric machines tend to have a different nature, with greater weight but very high torque. Hence their restriction so far to electric-only events such as the Moto-E series or the Isle of Man’s TT Zero.

Jim Freeman, Chair of the BMF, said: “Shades of the discussions about rotary ICE versus reciprocating, which caused plenty of arguments, as did 2 stroke versus 4 stroke. I suspect this is going to be more like sidecars versus solos, completely different vehicle types competing together. I don’t envy the licencing bodies, like the ACU, their jobs over this one.”

Written by Peter Henshaw

All images courtesy of Energica