eFXC | TTXGP 2012 - More than just a race for the podium
Electric Motorcycles carve it up in Queensland
Round two of the Australian Electric Motorcycle Race series and once again, amid rumor and speculation, only two bikes made it to the grid. For this round both Catavolt and the Ripperton R1 Electric Superbike were carving it up at Queensland raceway, aka 'the paperclip'. While cosmetically unchanged, both Catavolt and Ripperton have undergone some serious heart surgery since the first round at Wakefield Park. Catavolt was sporting a new a123 battery pack and beefier rear wheel while Ripperton was running on some thicker motor windings and an experimental regenerative system. Catavolt was rocket fast off the line thanks to the energetic a123 cells and Danny was loving the knee down action.
Double stack hub motor from EnerTrac
The EnerTrac hub motor is providing an effective challenge to the Ripperton Electric Superbike. Catavolt rider Jason Morris commented that the bike "handles like a superbike" and that the unsprung weight was "not affecting the handling in any significant way". The addition of the new wider rim meant that Jon Eggenhuizen could "stick it with some serious racing rubber". A stronger rear shock was fitted to keep the rear wheel firmly planted on the blacktop.
A catalyst for electric motorcycle development
Considering that these two teams are largely self funded, both Danny Ripperton and Jon Eggenhuizen are inspirational in their approach to the development of their machines. More than privateers, they are electromechanical pioneers.
Through his efforts, Jon Eggenhuizen has provided the proof that the EnerTrac hub motor can last the distance and Danny Ripperton has modified the Motenergy so much that it is mechanically unrecognisable from the original stock design.
Danny Ripperton and the pursuit for electromechanical perfection
Just looking at the intricate engineering detail in the Ripperton machine is enough to humble even the most radical of skeptics. Every component must be optimised before it is added to the bike. Between each round Danny Ripperton discards these optimised parts on his persistent quest for engineering perfection. Five revisions later and his regen handlebar lever is still in 'beta'. Like some deranged electromechanical beast, the Ripperton reptile is constantly shedding it's skin.
Support for Australian electric motorcycle racing
Looking at the machines in the pits and on the track it is difficult to comprehend than only one year of development has taken place since they first hit the track. The pace of development is significant. One can only imagine how quickly this technology might evolve given the right kind of support and financial injection. It is great to see Catavolt gaining the support of their sponsors Solar Power Australia, ImpactAV and The University of Newcastle. The Ripperton machine remains fully self funded.
The final round at Wakefield Park
August is fast approaching and the final round will see the teams back at Wakefield Park in NSW. It is rumored that Danny Ripperton is once again modifying his motor in an effort to take the Championship for 2012. In the interim, Jon Eggenhuizen is busy at work perfecting his 'water misting system' which he promises to be a temporary measure, before the EnetTrac gets some serious 'Liquid Cooling'. Exciting times…