The first leg of the FIM e-Power electric motorcycle race in Magny-Cours is over, and as I have said before, it was a disappointment. It's not the electric motorcycles and their teams that disappointed, but the fact that for a World Championship, FIM only managed to get 3 bikes at the start, all of them German.
It's something that FIM needs to address, since like it or not, electric motorcycles are the future, with gas prices running into the high figures. To not only make it interesting for the public, but also to make the bikes more competitive, you will need at the very least 10 competitive teams. Obviously there are a few manufacturers in Europe, but the USA has several very good electric race motorcycles, and some very good riders who could make the championship interesting. But the cost for these start-ups is way to high to bring their teams across the pond to race. This is where FIM should jump in and make things easier for the teams. Pay for the transport, allocate bigger prizes to winning teams, more publicity, etc. But will it happen?
The winning team at Magny-Cours was the German Munch Racing Team. They had entered two bikes into the race. The team looked and acted professional, but then that is probably because they are.
Their lead rider is Matthias Himmelmann, who is the reigning World Champion of the e-Power category. He won the first round of the 2012 championship with a 30 second lead over compatriot Katja Poensgen.
Katja, after several years absence started racing again. She won the Supermono Europa Cups in 1998 and Daytona Grand Prix Single Championship Cup in 1999, and in 2000 she was 6th in the 750cc Superstock European Championship. In 2001 she was the first woman to ever earn points in the FIM 250cc World Championship, so no stranger to competitive racing. Both bikes were not the same, since Matthias's bike had a newly developed battery system, giving him more power and duration.
The Munch TTE 2.0 weighs 220 kilos, and the battery supplies 350V/40 Ah. The third entry, Christian Amendt of the EPO Racing Team has a 99 kilo bike with a 90V/60 Ah battery. They are still developing their bikes, and hope to have a new one available for the next race.
The Munch team are planning to further develop their bikes, and in 2014 commercialize their motorcycle. As for performance, Matthias won with a best lap at 1:59.468, averaging 117 kph (in comparison, the Bol d'Argent best lap was done in 1:51.725 - average speed 134 kph, while the Bol d'Or best lap was in 1:41.359, averaging 143 kph). Their performances are very decent compared to the gas powered ones.
The next round is in Hungary on the 10th of June. Let's hope there are more teams there, particularly some American ones.