How the FIM and TTXGP can fix electric motorcycle racing

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ttxgp infineon.jpgPhoto: Grant Ray

“Racing improves the breed.” That was Azhar Hussain’s mantra when he launched TTXGP and the idea of electric motorcycle racing a couple of years ago. He’s right, of course. If we want the best possible electric street bikes as soon as possible, the racetrack is the best place to breed them. But we also need the best possible breeding ground – one premier racing series. One. TTXGP and FIM need to work out their differences and create this series if we’re to believe it when they say they want what’s best for the development of electric motorcycles.

After Azhar Hussain and TTXGP kick-started the whole electric racing scene with the Isle of Man TTXGP last summer, they immediately sat down with FIM to create the world’s first FIM-sanctioned racing series for electric motorcycles. Almost as immediately, and for partly unknown reasons, it fell apart and they both decided to have a go at it alone. So instead of an FIM-sanctioned TTXGP series we got the FIM e-Power series and the TTXGP series. Halfway through the 2010 season, they’ve proved they made a mistake. They’re both capable of organising electric motorcycle racing, but compared to what they could have done together, the current series are both crap. Despite all their efforts, FIM haven’t managed to attract more than a handful of teams in their European rounds of e-Power. That nearly doubled at their Laguna Seca round a couple of weeks ago, but it’s probably back to a handful of teams for the last rounds of the season in Europe. TTXGP have had more teams in their races, both in the UK and US, but suffer from a lack of high profile events. The only thing they’ve done really well is to polarise the tiny electric motorcycle racing community to the point of “you’re either with us or against us.”

TTXGP’s long term plan for survival outside of the motorcycle racing establishment seems to be to try to out-expand FIM, probably in constant danger of over-stretching (the planned TTXGP Italy later this year could be the first victim of this, but even so, there are plans for more TTXGP-series next year). FIM’s strategy has been to try to out-pocket TTXGP by paying teams to race in their series and by setting up races on “TTXGP dates”. I don’t know how deep their pockets are, but I’m pretty sure the more or less constantly out of money national organizations that make up FIM will start asking questions about it sooner or later. Add some personal pride and some FIM politics to this and what you get is certainly not the best breeding ground for electric motorcycles.

It’s no problem finding people willing to tell you who’s to blame for this mess (off the record, of course), but – as always – the truth is more shades of gray than black and white. There’s been some bad decisions on both sides, and electric racing is so small, personal likes and dislikes plays a bigger role than you’d expect. It really doesn’t matter who’s to blame anyway. What matters is that separate FIM and TTXGP series are detrimental to electric motorcycle racing and the development of electric street bikes. Sponsors are waiting to see what will be the best series and mainstream media – and I’m talking mainstream as in “outside of the hardcore EV-blogging community” – couldn’t care less about half empty grids on half empty tracks. In short: FIM and TTXGP are wasting energy, resources, opportunities and synergy effects of working together. If you need examples, look at the ridiculousness of FIM and TTXGP running half empty races in Italy at the same time, on tracks just a few miles apart.

They’ve both said on several occasions they would consider working with each other again. If they are in this for the best of electric motorcycles and not just in self interest, it’s time to try again. A lot has happened since they split company – hopefully enough to make both parties more willing to look for possibilities rather than differences. FIM knows that TTXGP have a good foothold by now and won’t disappear anytime soon. After having a go themselves they’ve probably also learned that it takes lot more to nurture an electric racing series in its infancy than providing the venues and paying anyone willing to show up and race with whatever they’ve got to race with. They’ve also found out that FIM e-Power will not automatically be the premier electric racing series simply because it’s an FIM series. Azhar Hussain and TTXGP have probably realised by now that the FIM means business with their engagement in electric motorcycle racing. If they want to take TTXGP one step further it’s with FIM, not against FIM. Building a whole new racing concept is really, really hard work. Doing it while fighting FIM will probably prove impossible in the long run.

In simple terms: FIM have money, power and organisation. TTXGP have enthusiasm and a wider view than just racing – essential to anyone who wants to see the best possible electric street bikes as soon as possible. If they’re working for the benefit of all electric motorcycles, as they claim to do, they need to work out some sort of sanctioner/promotor deal, with TTXGP running an FIM-sanctioned series from next season – the best possible breeding ground for electric motorcycles. If they start working on it now, they can use the remaining races of the 2010 season to find the best way forward. They’d also get the instant benefit of more teams on the grid in the remaining races of both series, and they could turn the TTXGP “World Final” at Albacete into a higher profile proper World Championship, including the best e-Power teams. That would give an otherwise lukewarm first season of electric motorcycle racing an ending to look forward to.

  • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

    Hear, hear. Thanks, Ivar, for this. I don’t know how this will all end up, but it is my sincere wish for both the organizers and the teams that one, unified series emerges from this contest of wills. Take the innovation, energy, and heart that is the TTXGP and mix it with the authority and sanctioning and organization (and money) of FIM, and it will benefit all – organizers, teams, fans, and the electric motorcycle industry.

  • Sean

    Seems like a vicious circle. Yes, they need racing to improve the breed, but I don’t think it’s going to get a fanbase to feed it until more people actually own electric motorcycles. That seems far away, to me.

    • http://www.pinkyracer.com Pinkyracer

      Sean, they don’t need people to own e-bikes, they need compelling races at events with lots of race fans. Like the MotoGP race where the ePower race was held. There they have a captive audience for this showcase event.

      Greg- Azhar already read this and sent it to me. The root of the problem is that the old guard wants things done the way they’ve always been done. Things like open-source rule books that evolve throughout the season with input from racers and fans just aren’t the way FIM does things. But with new technology, we can’t expect the rules to remain the same over the length of time it takes FIM to finalize new rules!

      The most important rule of electric racing, right here: http://www.egrandprix.com/wiki/index.php?title=Flux_Capacitors

      What’s interesting is that many teams are competing in both, when they can. It was wrong of FIM to schedule theirs on the same dates as TTXGP races, but the US TTXGP points leader, Michael Barnes, did the ePower race and will still likely compete at Albacete. That would be super cool if ePower joined TTXGP at Albacete.

  • http://motorcycletravelamerica.com Judy LaParne

    Whatever it takes to improve the range and performance of the EV motorcycle, I want to see it happen. I am having the best time owning one and this is going to be a fantastic journey with great things in the future.
    Thank you for another informative article.

  • GregWBush

    The gap between what should have been and what it is, is sad and a black mark against everybody involved. This should have been treated better.

    An upstart organisation like TTXGP was exactly the kind of energy needed to drove this forward. Instead of being supportive, the FIM try and shut it down to pursue some bu*lsh*t idea that has nothing to do with electric motorsport.

    Somebody please send this article to both these clowns and get them to fix it. epower is a train wreck of a championship. Laguna Seca wasn’t televised and had the smell of being a side show to a side show. TTXGP is better presented but they do need the bigger venues. The Italian promotion is a joke.

  • Hardriver

    TTXGP must be doing something right for the FIM to get their knickers in a twist.
    FIM has been around forever, these boys just showed up.

    Reminds me of Dukes of Hazzard against Boss Hogg and Sheriff Coltrane. LOL!

  • MTGR

    Nobody wants to hear it but despite all the righteous chest-thumping about the environment and the future the truth is, as usual, that this is about money.

    The first team to prove they have viable e-bike technology stand to be the big player when the production electrics start to sell. And whoever runs racing when that happens will be in charge of what will become the premier race series (whether it deserves to be or anyone really wants it, enough pressure from the governments and the rich and righteous greenies will force it that way sooner than anyone thinks).

    All involved parties know this, whether they will admit it or not, and no one is going to give any ground ‘because they want what’s best’ and they will bend only when it is profitable for them. Brand new developing industries without preset limitations are hard to come by these days, especially in motorsports. What e-power needs is a Bernie Ecclestone-type to step in with the kind of money to dictate what everybody will do whether they like it or not, and that won’t happen until the e-bike market becomes much more profitable.

    In short, a truly professional race series will not exist until there is the kind of money involved that attracts true money boys. And at that point, it will no longer accessible to any of us and normal folk, so I say enjoy this open and new technology while you can and don’t worry about rushing into the future, you can’t force professionalism or big money and those two are in lock step.

  • Will Iam

    Looks sweet from here.

  • stacius

    Call me a ‘greenie’, but I like green (as in cash) too. The earth is a finite system with limited resources. Our civilization is just starting to see the edges of those limits. We know now that when we dispose of something, it doesn’t disappear. If we can find a better way, then let’s do so. That doesn’t make one anti-capitalist.

    Our petrol-based Way Of Life didn’t just happen overnight. Neither will e-bikes.
    None of us can own a current model M-1, but I’m sure a few of us will on Brammo’s new bike.
    Look at the leaps (yes leaps) that have been made in just a couple of years. Nobody but a few hobbyists were riding electrics just a few years ago. Widening out into the bigger picture, new discoveries are being made in materials, which could lead to faster charging times, more efficient motors and lighter and better batteries.
    Electric and ICE bikes could reach parity faster than any of us expect, certainly within the next decade. Yet, all this R&D needs not only to be paid for, but supported.

    Even if FIM and the TTXGP settle their differences, there will be no green revolution overnight, it’s just one small way of working towards a better future.

  • GeddyT

    I hate to say it, but I agree with Michael Czysz. When I first read his stance on the state of electric racing I didn’t agree. I thought, “No, let’s get this going the sooner the better! Develop the technology! Get it in front of peoples’ faces so they start to accept it!”
    I’ve changed my mind, though, since Laguna-Seca. Believe it or not the E-bike race was one of the events I was most looking forward to during the weekend (and, no, not just because of the Brammo Girls…). Watching qualifying on Saturday, though, kind of took the wind out of my sails.

    Czysz is right; electric racing isn’t helping itself right now. Even his multi-million dollar, eye-poppingly tight and beautiful integrated prototype failed to deliver what I had hoped. Watching even the pole sitter take what seemed like a century to get the bike up to speed out of Turn 2 and down to the braking point at Turn 3… it was a little heartbreaking for someone who’s a big fan and had high expectations from the words “250 ft.lb. of torque.” I suppose it’s the tall gearing necessitated by the lack of gearbox, but it was still a bit lame.

    On race day Sunday we’re sitting on the hill above Turn 2 and the E-bike race starts. I don’t think the lack of sound bothered me so much, but the lack of acceleration really bummed me out. In my mind I had pictured Czysz’ Tie Fighter sounding engine SCREAMING by into Turn 2 and blasting out towards Turn 3, front wheel struggling to stay down against the monstrous torque. Maybe I just had unreasonable expectations.

    In the end the race actually turned entertaining. The finish was crazy and I was cheering big time as the finishers came through. Still, could you imagine if the MotoGP race to follow ended that way? With Lorenzo running out of gas on the last lap and Stoner blasting by for the win? That wouldn’t have been awesome, it would have been a joke. In the end it kind of gave the E-bike race the impression of an–albeit awesome–tech school competition or something.

    After the race one of the track announcers came over the PA with something to the tune of, “That was an exciting race. And this is the future of racing we have to look forward to!” Behind me I heard no fewer than a half dozen “BOOOOOO”s and one of the more enthusiastic detractors yelling, “NO WAY!”

    I was sad for the teams that had worked so hard, spent so much time and money, and created these amazing machines. Sure, the hardcore fans like myself were there to cheer them on, but I really felt like I was being drowned out.

    You win Czysz. Let’s keep this under wraps for now. Maybe after the next leap in battery tech or something. Let’s showcase the electrics alongside the ICE bikes once they’re fast enough to be comparable and actually get more people than those already in their corner to support it.

    • MalcolmG

      Cysz was wrong in his assessments and have to disagree with you too.

      ICE wasn’t born ready formed. But a 100 years ago there was no MotoGP, no cameras, no internet and no armchair critics. The gas version of the same race was done quietly and without the memory of how poor it must have been.

      But since it’s 2010 and not 1885, electric is having to grow in public. There is no way there would be the kind of excitement there is if electric racing didn’t have the platform to promote itself. It was interesting to read that Brammo had built there new bike around the lessons they learnt from TTXGP ‘09. So already you have product delivered from racing.

      It’s year 1. It’s a journey not a destination. What we saw at Laguna (I was watching too) wasn’t lame at all. It was exciting given where these teams had started form and what they were up against. If it wasn’t for the racing we would have seen nothing at all. This whole sport is only a year old.

      These teams deserve our support. What the hell were you boo’ing at?

      If it wasn’t for electric racing Cysz would be nowhere. As I read it now, electric racing has totally rejuvenated his enterprise. To claim that everybody but him should step back is just lame.

      • MalcolmG

        @GeddyT

        Sorry miss read. You didnt boo!

        Anyway. The point still stand. Nothing stays the same. But in today’s world, investment needs exposure and sales. Can’t imagine a better way then racing.

        Bah Humbug!! Enough with the soap box already!

  • http://plugbike.com/ skadamo

    All my mc friends are skeptical of electric motorcycles and would boo too but they will come around. However, you can see the interest lurking underneath. The ball is already rolling so back to the topic at hand…

    Adding to and repeating what Ivar said, TTXGP has a better more relevent series. FIM can do events like Laguna Seca and draw many teams from around the globe. FIM also gets the blessing of people like Czysz who has a bike that fans want to see. However, Agni and Lightning also have bikes and riders that will draw a crowd and they run mostly TTXGP events. Hmmm, no Agni at e-Power.

    Calling both series “crap” may be strong choice of words but Ivar is right about the need for a makeup.

    FIM and TTXGP should come to an agreement and work together with TTXGP running the events. TTXGP seems to “want it” more while FIM seems to be doing what they need to do to keep a hold on the future popularity of electric motorcycle racing. Let TTXGP do what they do best with the help, blessing and and partial ownership of FIM.

  • http://plugbike.com/ skadamo

    BTW, if FIM tries to take more than they deserve and Azhar thinks he can keep up the momentum he should walk.

    TTXGP has a strong brand and a lot of enthusiasts behind them. Don’t sell short.

  • Jon Vandervelde

    I’ve heard this sort of Kum-bay-ah, “everybody-has-a-valid-position” call for harmony before, and frankly, it’s bullshit.
    When an innovative effort with a great deal of vision is submarined by a conservative, vision-less, but longer established foe (and this happens more often than people realize), it’s more comfortable for people who might have something to lose by offending the perpetrator to simply call for peace and togetherness. It seems safer to pretend not to notice that one organization sucker-punched the other.
    The problem is, once that has happened, it’s psychologically impossible for the two to ever come together for any length of time. Even if Hussain tries to rise above the past for the good of society,and cooperate with FIM, he’ll either get screwed right away, or internal tensions will break up the marriage first. There’s no third way.
    At this point, one group is going to win, and one is going to lose (be out of the business). Nothing we, or anyone does can prevent it. So what we should all do is decide which group can actually take this thing to a great place, support that group, and try hard to drive the other one under. Otherwise they BOTH tank, and electric racing goes back on the shelf for another decade.

  • http://www.egrandprix.com/ Azhar Hussain

    It’s been great reading this thread about TTXGP and FIM. It’s become clear that this has turned into us vs them thing. It’s polarising and actually doesn’t totally represent what’s happening. As the guy in the room and listening to this it’s easy to see why that impression might be formed though.

    Both TTXGP and FIM are like any organisation, prone to human failings, spread of experiences in the team and sometimes having to react to the dynamics of external events in a time pressure situation without always having the total picture too hand. Just like everybody else.

    The key difference between us and FIM though is age. And with age comes perspectives.

    This is not about FIM, but all organisations become less tolerant of mistakes as they grow bigger, older, bureaucratic. With the absence of tolerance comes harsh penalties and in election driven organisations, these become exploitable in a very career terminal way. That encourages actions which has to defeat the uncertainty that comes with change. No risk means no progress.

    Give it time, and I know it’s hard to believe, but one day, Google will bare more than a passing resemblance to AT&T. You can already see Yahoo, Apple and AOL, the rebels of their day becoming clones of the world they were up against. All in a blink of an eye..well 15 years-ish.

    The problem with being careful, with not being prepared to have a go, with penalising those that try something different and not always succeeding, is that you’ll never do anything original.

    In the case of FIM, and they would accept this, e-power would never have happened if it wasn’t for TTXGP. We took the risk and were prepared to take the failure. Before you can have success, you need to tolerate failure and that is the sport of the young.

    The FIM is full of many good, dedicated, professional people, mainly volunteers, who love motorcycling and motorsports. It’s unfortunate that this issue has painted them to be something that they really aren’t. But how we got here is really a function of the baggage that people, organisations, families.. everybody accumulates over a long time of being together. FIM manages many many difference types and categories of 2 wheel motorsport, so clearly it was always limited what they would be able to do for Electric. This should not represent anything negative on them. They could only try the one type fits all approach.

    TTXGP represents new, innovation, dynamism because TTXGP is those things, it has to be. TTXGP is only 15 months old. But in EV years we are like our industry, teams and fans only getting started. And this is all we do and want to do.

    My job as TTXGP CEO, is to deliver the very best platform that works for everybody. Our success is tied to the success of all the stakeholders involved. We are a commercial company, but we don’t exist in a vacuum nor can we thrive at the expense of our teams, fans and industry. Either we do this together and drive this forward now or we can take the long road with partners, who with the best will in the world, just can’t have the hunger, momentum and dedication to deliver the results at the pace our sport needs. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to but they just can’t and that should be OK. I saw Elena Myers win her AMA-Pro podium and no matter what I do, I’ll never be as fast/as good as her and that’s OK with me. In the order of things, we can’t be good at everything. Partnerships is how we fix that. And this is not a pitch at hooking up with Ms. Myers!

    It’s been great to follow the debate here and elsewhere. Complements to Ivar Kvadsheim for saying what he said and HellforLeather in supporting it. Nothing like vying for the crown of being the least crap to really get the mojo going.

    I hope to welcome many of you to VIR for the TTXGP North America Final 2010 on Aug/15 and crown the first ever US champion. TTXGP will also be in Boston on the 16th for a presentation that I hope some you will be able to make. This is hosted by the Boston TiE and you can register at their website.

    Btw, We have had lots of complaints from the US about the lack of TTXGP coverage from Speed coverage in your area with the races. I would ask that you direct your attention to your local Speed affiliate and hopefully that will change things. Right now, we are set for 2010 and learning for 2011.

    It Is What It Is. We Are Where We Are. Or IIWII WAWWA as we say around here. Around my desk at least.

    Azhar Hussain
    CEO
    TTXGP

    • http://www.egrandprix.com Azhar Hussain

      Man… why tit is that typos only show up the nano second after you press submit!

    • http://www.pinkyracer.com Pinkyracer

      Azhar, you ROCK!!! When I went to Infineon I was just gonna watch the first ever electric motorcycle race on US soil. Then I met you and drank the Kool Aid (you brew a damn good batch, btw!). Now I want to do whatever it takes to make TTXGP as big as MotoGP.

      Azhar is the (early days) Richard Branson of electric motorcycle racing, tirelessly promoting and developing a cause he believes in 1,000%. His passion for the sport and the technology as well as his past successes in e-ship convince me that this will be a huge success, FIM drama notwithstanding.

      In business school I took a few classes on innovation. Big, old, established companies don’t innovate. They suck at it because it’s no longer a part of their culture. So they outsource it or hire IDEO to teach them how to think like startups.

      I’m still trying to figure out how to really angle this discussion for Gas2.org. I don’t want to get into a he said/he said blame game, even though I know what side I’m on. Journalistic integrity and all that nonsense… Perhaps it’s better as a guest piece for HuffPo….

  • http://plugbike.com/ skadamo

    Hey Azhar, thanks for giving us your take. I appreciate your insight on the FIM and what their limitations.

    You said…
    “Either we do this together and drive this forward now or we can take the long road with partners, who with the best will in the world, just can’t have the hunger, momentum and dedication to deliver the results at the pace our sport needs. “

    This is kind of confusing to me. Can you please clarify? It think you are saying you want to proceed without the fIM. Is that right?

    • Azhar Hussain

      Hi John,

      TTXGP has from the start marked itself with, and lived by the spirit of “Be Part of It”.

      This has made us very motivated at building bridges with others who share the passions and vision of our industry.

      Without the bridge, too much negative attention has been injected into our nascent sport and has, unfortunately, kept some very important stakeholders shying away from the drama.

      The mission for zero emission transportation and the role motorsports plays to making it happen is important to all of us.

      I didn’t want to say that we will proceed without the FIM or anybody else. I’m sorry my writing created that impression.

      We have always been disappointed about how things panned out. We have reached out many times with the message that we are in the business of building bridges with partners, like the FIM, and encouraging them to “Be Part of It”.

      Thanks.

  • http://plugbike.com/ skadamo

    Thanks for the clarification Azhar, sorry for picking apart your verbage.

    I will try to keep my mind from injecting more drama than exists in the situation. ;)

    Looking forward to even better crap in 2010!

  • Jon Vandervelde

    “sorry for picking apart your verbiage. I will try to keep my mind from injecting more drama than exists in the situation. ;)”

    Ummmmm, Dude,

    In his last paragraph, he is discretely suggesting that TTXGP has reached out to FIM multiple times. And, since the two organizations are not currently in cooperation, the clear inference is that the “hand of friendship” has been rejected.

    Drama is happening, in other words (Mr. Hussain’s diplomatic choice of words notwithstanding).

    • RUB-at-law

      “And, since the two organizations are not currently in cooperation…” Objection! Assumes a fact not in evidence.

    • http://plugbike.com/ skadamo

      Thanks dude.

  • http://www.EnvironMoto.com EnvironMoto

    I’m trying to think a decade into the future while composing my thoughts on the state of electric road racing and its two competing series. Here’s my two cents:

    FIM
    The FIM has the power to make things happen. Not only that, but when they have proper motivation (i.e. money) they really know how to make things happen (like Honda-sourced spec engines for Moto2). In the FIM e-Power series’ current state, I have to believe that they aren’t going to truly push down the electric racing path without either massive outside backing or significant fan/consumer interest (or if Valentino Rossi suddenly decides he will race an electric bike next year).

    That being said, I have to believe that the big established motorcycle manufacturers are lurking in the background, waiting for the technology to advance and consumer demand to show up on their radar before they jump in. WHEN the big Japanese or European IC bike manufacturers start building serious electric motorcycles and want to race them, the FIM is going to do everything they can to cater to them.

    I am sure that today the FIM is glad to have the cottage industry builders participating in e-Power (even the stupid scooters), but the way the FIM works, those little guys will be cast aside like yesterdays news as soon as companies like Honda and Yamaha decide they want to race electric motorcycles. I am sure that is what the FIM are waiting/hoping for. I think that the small manufacturers currently in the e-Power series should read the writing on the wall. If they are relying on the FIM to give them special preference ten years from now, they are delusional. Unless by chance one of the builders currently racing in e-Power strikes it big and becomes a major manufacturer, they are going to be SOL (shit outta luck) in a few years.

    TTXGP
    For the most part, I believe in the TTXGP organizational concept (Trust.eGrandprix.org, TEO). Beyond just the crowd sourced technical rules (the eGrandprix rules wiki), I believe in the philosophy that benefits the manufacturers who participate in the races. The greater a builder’s involvement is, the more ownership they take. Theoretically; a manufacturer who commits to the series and begins racing this season could always potentially own a greater stake in the organization than even Honda would, even if Honda decided to enter next year. The concept could help keep the little guys relevant and not kicked to the curb once bigger players emerge.

    I am pretty amazed that more of the independent manufacturers have not embraced this idea at least partially. Maybe next year will be a different story. No one currently involved in electric racing has the shear financial power of a company like Honda. The TTXGP format allows anyone from a garage builder on up to MotoCzysz to come in and have influence on the direction of the sport, and have a vested interest in its success.

    The biggest concern with the current TTXGP organization is Azhar’s dual role as organizer and manufacturer. We know that some other manufacturers have a problem with this as well. Personally, I see that being a major limiting factor in the growth of TTXGP. To grow TTXGP (or partner with the FIM), Azhar is going to have to seriously consider where he wants to position himself in the organization. Despite the TEO concept of reduced ownership of the original investors over time (I assume that includes Azhar), the perception of a conflict of interest will remain.

    Meld
    In a nutshell, I agree with Ivar. Competition and technology will suffer without a unified sanctioning entity. The creation of a successful solitary series is a must, in order to advance the sport and the technology which trickles down from it. There must be a melding of the FIM’s established credibility and ability to coordinate big time venues, sponsors, and exposure with TTXGP’s innovation and enthusiasm. The FIM have to be willing to loosen their grip on their old-school organizational model and help TTXGP refine the TEO concept and rules for classes (yes that is plural). Azhar would (and I think should) have to completely separate himself from Mavizen and continue to be the face (and father) of electric motorcycle racing. I think the organization side needs Azhar far more than the manufacturing side, and I also believe the long term rewards for him will be far greater.

    Chris

    • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

      “Azhar’s dual role” I think he addressed that pretty well in this post from my blog:
      http://wp.me/pxF3c-se
      Having viewed and followed the TTXGP series since the beginning, and watched the cooperation in the paddock, I’d have to say that the Mavizen techs have helped as many of the other teams make it to the grid as they have their own. If Azhar’s “dual role” has any measurable effect on the series, it has been a beneficial one. That said, I think he’s put enough safeguards in place that there is no real crossover. Maybe that will change someday, but today, this does not seem to be a hazard.

  • http://www.EnvironMoto.com EnvironMoto

    Harry,
    We are close to the scene and understand what is going on in reality. I have no personal issue with this, but as I said, “the perception of a conflict of interest will remain”. People looking in from the outside may see things differently than the insiders do. I’m not trying to rip on Azhar or TTXGP, I am trying to look at it from the point of view of a manufacturer or sponsor who wants to become involved.

    In your post, after all of Azhar’s justifications, he still admits that one day he may have to choose between TTXGP and Mavizen.

    I certainly cannot argue with the amount of cooperation in the paddock. Witnessing the camaraderie myself at Mosport, it’s just an amazing atmosphere which I hope will continue. I am just highlighting things which I think could hold back the sport, or be an issue down the road. I would love to hear the FIM’s take on this as well.
    Chris

    • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

      “I would love to hear the FIM’s take on this as well.” You and me both, Chris.

  • http://openmotox.org Paul@Open Moto X

    Interesting article and comments.

    Don’t forget that a lot of FIM/Dorna’s money comes from advertising and sponsorship sold to European oil companies. These companies and Dorna won’t be very pleased to see electric motorcycles being promoted by FIM alongside the ICE race meetings that they are “paying for”. It seems that FIM might have a lot more to lose than they have to win by promoting their own e-Power races against TTXGP.

  • Ivar Kvadsheim

    Two weeks ago I actually did believe something similar to what I described in this post would happen, but now… well, not so sure anymore.

    I would also like to hear FIM’s take on this, but they won’t talk to me. That’s why I’m relying on what I can get from other sources and “off the record” on what I think is the FIM’s take. Read with care.

    Every source I talk to says FIM are serious about trying to find some sort of arrangement with TTXGP. They have been close to a deal for a while, but as far as I know negotiations have stalled partly on some minor technical details, and partly because FIM is in no hurry and wants to run the remaining 2010-season as planned, and then work out some sort of deal from next season. The main reason for wanting to wait is probably the upcoming FIM congress in Macau in October. Long term strategies for “environment, alternative energies, and development assistances” are on the agenda, as is also the small matter of electing a new FIM president.

    Current president Vito Ippolito is running for a second term. He’s got a reputation for being too weak to make decisions (it’s also suggested Ippolito’s unwillingness to go against the FIM administration is the real reason the deal with TTXGP isn’t done now). I addition both Europe and USA will nominate their own candidates; AMA’s Robert Rasor and UEM’s Vincenzo Mazzi, both currently vice presidents in FIM.
    Rasor is also chairman of FIM’s AEWG (Alternative Energy Working Group) and a strong TTXGP supporter (who suddenly went silent when e-Power was launched). Mazzi is currently president of UEM and has helped TTXGP set up the “World Final” in Albacete. There’s no doubt e-bikes are part of the election.

    The FIM have invested lots of money and prestige in e-bike racing, and they’re not happy with the results so far. The whole e-Power/TTXGP saga is very embarrassing for them, and they feel they’re being treated unfairly by the media. Ippolito has to choose between going against his own administration or going head to head with TTXGP and its supporters. It’s no surprise if Ippolito wants to just keep it quiet until after the election.

    That may be a good strategy for the election, but here’s why it will make things go from bad to worse for electic motorcycle racing:

    Azhar Hussain and TTXGP will not and can not wait that long. When the FIM pulled out and created e-Power in September last year, TTXGP lost the momentum from the inaugral Isle of Man race, 2-3 vital months of planning and probably a shipload of sponsorship opportunities. There is no way Azhar Hussain is going to risk that happening again. If you want sponsors, the best venues, more teams and national series, you start working on it now. Nobody knows better than Azhar Hussain what loosing the next couple of months means.

    So far, the outlook of joining forces again have meant both FIM and TTXGP have played it nice. That probably won’t continue if they fail to reach an agreement pretty soon. In a couple of weeks, Azhar Hussain will have nothing to loose. If he needs to play dirty to secure a sponsor or a race, he will. If he can harm the e-Power he will do so.

    For the FIM, there is a real threat that what they see as the future of motorcycle racing ends up in the hands of a privately owned, commercial company where they have no influence at all. There’s no reason to think the FIM will behave any different than TTXGP.

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