Well, where do we start? If you have been paying attention to electric motorcycle racing and the TTXGP Series in which we race you know that while things started off a little rough for Team Icon Brammo in 2012, they really couldn’t have ended up much better. To come back from a massive high-side in the opening round, one that fractured six vertebrae in my back and took part of my right pointer finger off, to not only win the North American Championship for the second-straight year, but to also take the TTXGP World Championship at Daytona in October in our first try at it was quite amazing. Add to that the addition of former AMA Supersport and Formula Xtreme Champion Eric Bostrom to the team mid-way through 2012 and things coming into 2013 couldn’t have been looking too much better.
Our first test on this year’s Empulse RR was this past Monday at Thunderhill Raceway in Northern, California, which has been our home testing track since this all started in early 2011. Well, that’s where I entered the mix at least. To say I was excited to get back on the bike after not riding since last October would be a gross understatement. I couldn’t get packed and to the track fast enough. I felt like an eight-year-old on Christmas morning when the guys rolled into the track and rolled out that shinny, now-red machine. And with Icon back as title sponsor and doing an amazing job designing the bikes graphics and our spiffy new leathers and helmets, well before rolling out for the first session my head was about to explode.
Thankfully it didn’t and things started off well; for the first session at least. Besides a small fuse failure that brought things to a slightly premature end, the bike felt great. The Parker GVM engine’s power delivery has been smoothed out rather nicely for this season, eliminating nearly all of the two-stroke-like power hit that came as we increased the torque levels at the end of last season. Also new for yours truly this year is Dunlop tires. Having run Pirellis for the last two seasons, it’s quite a big difference switching to the ‘lops. They have a far more rigid carcass and tend not to mask some of the chassis issues that the softer Pirellis will. That said, I think the Dunlops have just as much outright grip, if not more, and a bit more feel from the first tire as well, so the potential is there for them to be really good.
Only problem was, I think I gave the front tire a bit too much credit right off the bat. In the second session I was up to speed and nearly on pace with any of the times I had done at T-Hill last year within the first two laps. Too bad on the third lap I got into the off-camber Turn Three a bit too hot and lost the front, hopping off the shiny new Empluse RR and sliding into the gravel. I knew things were going too well too quickly. Thankfully I held onto the clip-on and kept the bike from tumbling as we went into the grass. This kept damage to a minimum, with only the right side footpeg and windscreen needing to be replaced.
The guys worked hard and got the bike ready for me in no time and I was back out in the very next session. My Icon leathers and helmet did its job and I walked away without a scratch on me, ready to suit back up and get back out on the bike right away. Thankfully I eased my way back into things for the remainder of the test. And while the sheer amount of lapped traffic kept us from posting any impressive lap times, I can already tell the package is there for this year’s Empulse RR to be that much better than last year’s.
That’s all for now folks, but be sure to stay tuned case we have plenty more tests and some really exciting races in store for you this year and you won’t want to miss them.
2012 North American and World TTXGP Champion