Electric racing controversy continues

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Danger_Electric.jpgThis morning, the Isle of Man government issued a bizarre statement intended to address “speculation and unsubstantiated claims” surrounding its decision to drop the TTXGP and replace it with its own event, TT Zero. You’ll find the statement reprinted in full below, but essentially it reeks of desperation, making wild accusations to address unspecified criticism. Meanwhile, Azhar Hussain and the TTXGP have moved on, announcing a fourth American race this June at Road America. In fact, this whole controversy has an air of the ridiculous to it, despite the FIM and now the Isle of Man doing their best to steal electric racing from the TTXGP, it remains the only one of the three with multiple participants and firm dates for international races; the TTXGP remains the only viable electric motorcycle racing series for 2010.
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That Road America round of the TTXGP will take place in Wisconsin on
June 3-6, supporting AMA Superbike. Those dates effectively prevent
participants from also taking part in TT Zero, while that event won’t
be held until Wednesday, June 9, qualifying takes place on June 5
and 7. That Wednesday date for TT Zero is also the source of some
controversy, being a less desirable slot than the weekend position the
TTXGP formerly occupied.

Indeed, scheduling is proving to be quite the talking point in all
this. The Isle of Man cites the inaugural race of the EMXGP (which is
also owned by the TTXGP’s parent, eGrandPrix) as one of the reasons for
dropping TTXGP in favor of its own event. EMXGP is an electric car race
taking place in Paris on June 4,5,6. It does include electric bikes,
but only as a demonstration, which shouldn’t have conflicted with any
teams’ racing plans.

Here’s the Isle of Man’s statement:

STATEMENT FROM THE ISLE OF MAN GOVERNMENT REGARDING TT ZERO AND TTXGP LTD

Following speculation and unsubstantiated claims regarding The Isle of Man Government’s decision to run their own clean emissions event as part of the 2010 TT races, The Isle of Man Government’s Department of Tourism and Leisure wishes to put on record the facts regarding their decision.

The Department began formal negotiations with the TTXGP Ltd team in July 2009 with a view to running another clean emissions event on The Isle of Man in 2010. On 2 September 2009, the Department formally agreed in principle to run an event and this was confirmed in writing to TTXGP Ltd.   A proposal, including a financial support package, was communicated to the TTXGP team on 7th October, 2009.  This proposal was rejected by the TTXGP Ltd management team. Subsequent to the original proposal TTXGP Ltd announced in late November, 2009 – without prior consultation with the Department – their plans for an event in Paris which conflicted with the TT period and effectively prevented TTXGP from participating in the allotted schedule in TT 2010.

On 21st December 2009 TTXGP Ltd advised the Department that due to their plans for Paris and their consequent inability to participate in the scheduled race in TT 2010, they proposed not to have a clean emissions race in TT 2010 and would aim to come back to the TT in 2011. TTXGP were advised that if they could not reschedule their proposed Paris event, in order to attend TT 2010 for the scheduled date, the Department would develop and manage its own clean emissions race. This was confirmed to TTXGP Ltd on 24th December, and subsequently a meeting between the Department and TTXGP Ltd was held on 15th January 2010.

TTXGP Ltd were invited to reconsider their position regarding the Paris event to enable their participation in TT 2010 on the scheduled date, but declined the opportunity to do so. The Isle of Man Government then confirmed its intention to organize its own clean emissions event and would provide a press release to TTXGP Ltd for any comments. At the request of TTXGP Ltd, the Isle of Man Government deferred the issue of its press release. Immediately after 15th January, the Isle of Man Government initiated its contingency plan in order to organise its own clean emissions race.

The Isle of Man Government made a significant investment in the TTXGP in 2009, both financially and through officer time across a number of departments. In order to protect this investment, the Isle of Man Government’s Council of Ministers decided that if the Department was unable to reach agreement with TTXGP Ltd that it should run its own event. Regulations for the new event, TT Zero, were issued this week.  This race will be run as a stand-alone class as part of the 2010 Isle of Man TT races meeting.
 
The Department is confident that with the support of the teams and riders, and the experienced third party agencies that are involved with running the TT Races, they can build on the 2009 TTXGP race. 

The teams and riders will now have direct access to funds from the Isle of Man Government to assist with their travel and other costs associated with their participation and will also benefit from the integral association with the TT races that the event will now have. 

The Isle of Man Government remains totally committed to clean emission motorcycle racing and the development of the technology that is associated with clean emission machines.

And here’s the response from Azhar Hussain, the man behind TTXGP:

I can only say that we are sorry that we won’t be there. I want to say deep heartfelt thank you to the many many people from the Isle of Man who have sent us messages of support and encouragement.
 
I can confirm the question of Paris or issues of financial packages were not factors in the decision making and am disappointed that it is being suggested so. We remain surprised about the decision as we did everything possible to make this happen. The decision to downgrade the zero carbon class and replace it with a vintage bike parade was made solely by the Isle of Man.
 
Moving forward, we are totally committed to the success of all our stakeholders and are building partnerships to spark a thriving and self sustaining eco-system around zero carbon motorsports and transportation. The economic and technical dividend in working with TTXGP is tangible, achievable and timely. Over the coming weeks, we look forward to sharing with you what that means. TTXGP is an open invitation to be on the grid for next generation of motorsports. We welcome all to be part of it.

Gee, which one sounds like a professional racing organization?

  • http://www.emotorules.com Harry Mallin

    Someone over on the IOM forum said: “The IOM have stated why the split occurred and the TTXGP have said it wasn’t the reason. Well if that wasn’t the reason then what was?” Could it possibly be that TTXGP isn’t subscribing to IOM’s “scorched earth” policy of airing dirty laundry because a) it’s classier than that and b) it hopes that one day it will be able to return to IOM to run another round of electric motorcycle races?

    Seriously, just because someone says I’m lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut, doesn’t oblige me to respond in kind. TTXGP continues to take the high road in this dispute, just like it did in the split with the FIM.

  • DoctorNine

    Sounds to me like some old windbags on the IOM were at the pub harrumphing that they didn’t need anyone else to run races on THEIR island, and they muffed it with the TTGXP. Now everyone is wringing their hands, and acting like idiots. Might be better to just gracefully admit that the IOM is a big enough place for more than one race, and shake hands on this. The TTXGP obviously likes the place, and tourism can only benefit. Funny how pride so frequently gets in the way of progress, isn’t it?

  • MotoFanSpeed

    The Isle of Man TT is a professional racing organisation and have been doing this for a 100 years. I think TTXGP should take a jump and not ruin what is one of motorcyclings most precious jewels.
    The TT is about the speed and skill. Electric bikes sound awful and are clearly not fast enough for such a major venue. I was there last year and I have to admire how well the TTXGP promoted it. It was truely awful as an event, though you would not think so from the PR.
    I’m glad TT have downgraded it, about time. TTXGP should keep the teams, and the TT authorities will have to cancel. Proberbly one of the smartest things TT can do is to walk away from this. TTXGP overshadowed what every other race in the press afterwards. The downgrade will allow the real racers to have the coverage they deserve.
    TT should have never have allowed TTXGP to happen. I’m glad they are finally taking charge and I congratulate TT for having the balls to bring this electric charade to an end.

    • froryde

      You really are stuck in your own little box, eh?

      • MotoFanSpeed

        Here on the Island,TTXGP was never popular.It only happened because of political correctness.

        The TT is about real motorcycling, and TTXGP isn’t it. Now that leccy bikes are back to being a sideshow, the real bikers can take the main stage.

        Am not against experimenting, but not at the TT! Its dangerous enough as it is without amateurs getting involved.

        • froryde

          So what’s the TT Zero all about then?

          • Isaac

            Zero fans, LOL!

            I motorsports would be better off not being ruled my money making and fuled soley by determination and skill.

        • spanishjack

          Moghrey mie. I don’t agree with MotoFanSpeed – many people here saw the TTXGP as an unusually forward-thinking move by the IOMTT and an exciting window on to the development of the first really new drive technology since biking began. A curiosity at the moment, sure, and not yet as exciting as the full-speed conventional TT, but racing improves the breed and I’m sure we’ll see these bikes lapping the course at comparable speeds within a few years. And we’ll all be riding round on them in post-apocalypse Ronague. Have you not read Akira? :)
          Who knows what actually went on within Tynwald/IOMMTT organisers but it sounds like another typically manx-political case of suddenly wanting to play with the Big Boys (the FIM) as soon as they kicked their ball onto the playground, instead of having the courage to get on with their own game and stick with TTXGP. Shameful really and that press release is bordering on the embarrassing. I hope the TTXGP gets its race back. Lhiats J

  • Pete

    TTXGP always came off as a semi-professional circus to me. I say screw ‘em, and roll on TT ’10!

  • Phillip

    You petrol loving lads are forgetting your own humble beginnings. These electric bikes in their first race are faster than the petrol bikes were in their first race. Evolve or get out of the way. The FIM and TT are worried that they will lose their solid footing in this new generation of motorsport. Collaboration fuels the progress of the TTXGP, greed and divisiveness fuels the stagnant heart of the FIM and TT.

  • Phillip

    The winner of the single-cylinder class, and overall winner of the first event in 1907, was Charlie Collier riding a Matchless motor-cycle in a time of 4 hours, 8 minutes and 8 seconds at an average race speed of 38.21 mph.
    So don’t complain about the TTXGP’s first year of racing!

  • http://www.sideburnmagazine.com Ben Part

    Homosexuality was only decriminalised on the IOM in 1992. In a similarly old fashioned way, they probably deem putting a battery in a motorcycle an ‘un-natural act’. But it’s the fact that they have their own independent government that allowed them in 1904 to hold a motorsport event in in the first place (and the first TT in 1907), and continues to allow them semi-autonomy today.

    But ‘electric motorcycle racing’ is not intellectual property that belongs to one person – or one governing body, so it’s a shame everyone made such a mad rush for the pie and now it’s a mess.

    • froryde

      Try telling that to the FIM…

      • watahogg

        …or the TT.

        The TT has really screwed the pooch and jumped the shark… at the same time.

        Talk about screwing up the history of it all. Karma is bitch folks and it will bite you in the ass. In this case, deservedly so.

        The TT folks should be ashamed of themselves. I hope no team takes part and TTZero dies in the same fashion as it was born. Any team legitimising TTzero should have its head examined.

  • V

    Danger! Danger!
    High Voltage!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2a4gyJsY0mc

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Ha, that’s what i was thinking of when I wrote this.

  • ev fan

    http://www.motorcyclenews.com/MCN/News/newsresults/General-news/2010/February/feb1710-iom-minister-blasts-tt-organisers-over-ttxgp-split/

    this was just published on MCN

    more dirt on the TT organisers – how do they keep their jobs? Hope TTXGP have got good lawyers – breach of contract, slander, anti competitive behaviour…i’m sure there is a whole lots more than could be added…

  • http://www.facebook.com/pages/TTRACETALKCOM/342384440995 Andrew Kerr

    I believe electric bikes are the future of motorcycle racing whether at the TT or elsewhere.
    I don’t like the way the TT organisers have handled the PR side of this controversy but if TTXGP were unable to run a race this year then they shouldn’t be surprised that the TT would run one instead.
    Whatever the politics I think that any motorcycle race held on the TT course during TT week should be an integral part of the TT and not a stand alone event.
    I have begun a discussion about TT zero on my TT Facebook page If anyone would like to post your thoughts there.