Motorcycle USA contributing editor Steve Atlas became the first person to win a TTXGP round at the famed Daytona International Speedway, with the defending North American TTXGP Champion claiming the 2012 world title with his Daytona victory. Atlas finished ahead of outgoing World Final Champion Matthias Himmelman of Muench Racing and Eric Bostrom, who took second and third respectively.
In 2011, Atlas outlined his jump into the electric motorcycle racing world with manufacturer Brammo in a six-part series for MotoUSA entitled “Electric Superbike Racing.” Now, just a little over a year later, Atlas and Team Icon Brammo team have reached the top step in TTXGP, the premier-class racing series for electric motorcycles.
“It felt good and it is cool to be world champion as well as first to win an electric race here at Daytona,” said Atlas. “I jumped Eric at the start and didn’t look back until the 2nd or 3rd lap. I was then nervous as Eric was not on my shoulder and the race was obviously mine to lose. I hadn’t realized that there was no one just behind me as I was focused on the track ahead.
“The Brammo team has worked hard to get us here this weekend, so this victory is very well deserved for the whole team. There were no gremlins at all in the race, the bike performed perfectly for the first time in the weekend, just at the right time – perfect.”
TTXGP riders pose with their electric motorcycles in Gatorade Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway in 2012. L to R: Jeremiah Johnson of BE.EV.com/Amsoil Racing; Matthias Himmelmann of Germany’s Muench Racing; race winner Steve Atlas and teammate Eric Bostrom of Icon Brammo Racing; and Jason Morris of Australia’s Catavolt Racing
Atlas’ Icon Brammo teammate, Bostrom, had been posting top times in the sessions leading up to the main event, and he started the race in pole position. Atlas got a good start though and took the lead early on, but Bostrom remained close behind through the opening turns. A brief power failure set Bostrom back and allowed Himmelman to take second but by that point Atlas was uncatchable and rode on without incident to the checkers.
“The weekend has been part of the learning process for me and the team,” said Bostrom. “The team has made lots of progress in a very short time, so problems are to be expected. It has been an important day for the team and it is good that the team had two bikes out there.
“The power failure was a different sort of failure to the problems we have had for the rest of the weekend. The bike just lost power for a lap or so and then the power came back. It was the strangest thing, in the later laps everything felt very good and the bike was up to speed again.
“This weekend the bike has been the fastest it has ever been, but we have had teething problems. You can’t win them all! It has been a big achievement for all the electric bikes to get round this circuit, it is the most demanding circuit there is. “
The Brammo’s reached top speeds of close to 170 mph over the weekend and Atlas logged a fastest lap time of 1.58.010. For comparison, AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport rider Jake Lewis of Vesrah Suzuki logged a best lap of 1:51.392 during the competition in March 2012 at Daytona aboard his Suzuki GSX-R600.
Himmelman lost his chance to contend with Atlas from the start as he was the last to leave the grid.
“I enjoyed the race, but I was asleep at the start,” said Himmelman. “I was the last bike to leave the grid. I was looking for the red lights at the start line as we have at tracks in Europe, but I couldn’t see them. The next thing I knew all the other bikes had left the grid and the race had started without me.”
Catavolt’s Jason Morris and BE-EV.com’s Jeremiah Johnson went head to head for fourth-place with Johnson coming in ahead of the Australian rider.
“As a racer I have always enjoyed Daytona,” said Johnson. “It has been great to be involved in representing electric bikes at Daytona due to the prestige that this course holds. It was great fun to race head to head with Catavolt. We were trading places until they had a fault and I got ahead.”
With the 2012 TTXGP season now officially over, teams will return to beef up their respective rides for the 2013 season. Check out the TTXGP World Championship raceday recap provided courtesy of Brammo, via YouTube, in the video below.
TTXGP World Series Final 2012:
1. Steve Atlas (Brammo Empulse RR)
2. Mathias Himmelman (Munch TTE)
3. Eric Bostrom (Brammo Empulse RR)
4. Jeremiah Johnson (LeLi)
5. Jason Morris (Catavolt)