Stock electric motorcycle chastised for being ‘too fast’ on race track

Entertainment

Electric motorcycles are notorious for their impressive torque and the ability to access that torque instantaneously. It’s why an e-motorcycle with less total power than a combustion engine motorcycle can still cross the finish line first in a head-to-head drag race. It’s also why an Energica rider recently got into a bit of hot water after being “too fast” on a race track.

The surprising story comes to us from New Zealand, where a popular e-moto YouTuber NewZeroland took his stock Energica Eva Ribelle RS electric motorcycle to the drag strip.

In fact, he didn’t just “take his bike” to the strip, but rather rode over 650 km (400 miles) from Wellington to Auckland to get there, recreating a similar ride he did three years ago to eat at the only Taco Bell restaurant in the country.

Back then he did it on a 2020 Energica Ego with a 13.4 kWh battery pack, meaning he had to stop and fast charge nine times. With three years of Energica’s advancements between his knees, this time he had a 21.5 kWh pack that allowed him to ride for up to two hours at highway speeds before stopping to fast charge. He estimated that he could do the ride with just three charging stops, though he ultimately found that he preferred to take a few extra stops “to rest my brain and my butt”, with each stop allowing for a brief DC fast charge and a chance to stretch his legs for a few minutes.

Ultimately though, he did the trip in a single day with just short stops to grab a snack and pump a few extra electrons through the battery.

Once he arrived at the race track in Auckland, he found that rainy conditions had left the tarmac slick with water – a less-than-ideal state for racing. With his highly experienced racing friend Steven in the saddle, the Energica lined up at the Christmas tree for its first run. Between traction control and some seriously honed riding skills, the bike crossed the line in 11.1 seconds – a respectable time for a stock motorcycle. Considering the bike wasn’t even fully charged (and thus not at full power) after having just rolled in from a rainy 400-mile trip, the feat was even more impressive.

The guys began dialing down the traction control and eventually hit 10.9 seconds, the bike’s fastest run of the day.

In fact, it was so fast that it resulted in the rider getting chastised by track officials for riding too fast.

“Steven’s fastest run was a 10.9, which we found wasn’t allowed since you need a special racing license to do anything below 11. So obviously we wanted to go again, because I came all this way, and how cool would it be to get kicked out for going too fast?!”

The Energica is on the right, seen less than 11 seconds before crossing the finish line

The team began lowering the traction control each run until it was all the way off, which resulted in some rather scary-looking moments halfway down the track.

But even after warming up the tire, there simply wasn’t enough traction on the strip to do another sub-11-second run. The guys had to settle for almost getting kicked out.

Electrek’s Take

First of all, I agree that it’s probably a good idea for New Zealand tracks to require a racing license for folks who want to get into seriously high-performance riding. Second, it’s impressive that a stock electric motorcycle that most people buy for recreational riding can hit pro-level race times with an amateur rider on a wet track. Lastly, I think this is a good opportunity to show that for those who do want to enjoy the crazy performance of their electric vehicles, a race track is the proper place to do so.

This is also my chance to say that Sam from NewZeroland is an awesome guy, and you should check out his channel if you’re interested in what the daily life of an e-motorcycle owner is like. I first met him in Italy on, ironically, an Energica group ride. In fact, we were riding Energica Experias through the Dolomite Mountains when we got caught in an epic rainstorm on the way back to town. Having worn my extra-breathy mesh summer jacket, I was soaked to the bone, and Sam generously gave me the merch shirt off his back – or technically an extra from his bag. Now I get to rep NewZeroland once every laundry cycle.

Left to right: Me, Sam, and his partner Jenn all drying off after our Energica group ride

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