Exclusive Video: Chip Yates Bonneville Speed Records

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Chip Yates Bonneville

Chip Yates has had a tough week at the Bonneville Salt Flats, trying and failing to set a new outright land speed record for electric motorcycles. After a shattered drive chain and issues with his batteries putting out a sustained max amperage for minutes at a time, he didn’t manage to beat Lightning’s 215.9mph, but he did set four other records and even cross the 200 mph barrier. Here’s an exclusive first look at video of Chip and his team doing just that. Including a high speed crash through a distance marker, it’s dramatic.

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Here’s the records Chip did set:

And he asked us to include these notes:

1.  All 4 FIM and 4 AMA Records on the same SWIGZ.COM electric superbike chassis and motor, just with bodywork and parts removal for weight changes.
2.  Peak speed was “only” 200.7mph due to battery problem plaguing the SWIGZ team all week.
3.  All records SUBJECT TO FIM RATIFICATION according to FIM 018-30 “Publication of Results and Advertising”
4.  On Thursday, September 1, 2011, Chip Yates announced the retirement of the electric superbike from active competition as well as his own retirement from professional motorcycle racing.
5.  Chip Yates and the SWIGZ.COM Pro Racing Team extend their heartiest congratulations to the Lightning Electric Motorcycle Team for their incredible S.C.T.A. run of 215.907mph.

We’ll have more material later today.

  • Plotts

    I always wonder how much faster these bikes / cars would be on pavement instead of what must be like riding on packed sand.

    Pretty amazing stuff.

    Good job Chip, keep on trying I’m sure you’ll get there!

    • Archer

      In a good year, the surface at Bonneville is a lot more tractable than packed sand. It’s hard as rock. But the chief advantage is perfect flatness, allowing streamliners to reliably run with only millimeters of ground clearance. This flatness is refreshed every season due to natural phenomena- essentially it’s “repaved” every year, with a precision impossible for a manmade structure of that scale- ten miles in length is typical for the speed run trap.

      • Plotts

        Good points. It’s still pretty slick though right?

        • protomech

          Probably. Over a ten mile course traction’s less important than (say) on a quarter mile course.

          And at 200+ mph traction’s a non-issue unless you’re putting down thousands of hp.. which some of the LSR vehicles do of course : )

  • http://www.anotherdamndj.com evilbahumut

    He’s retiring? Damn!

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Yeah, moving on to bigger and better things.

  • Archer

    The dedication at the end appears to be for a Utah Boy Scout who drowned (in Lake Powell?) this summer.

  • http://www.postpixel.com.au mugget

    Whoa! I had to rewind and watch a couple more times to check if he hit a flag marker! :O

    All those guys sure have alot to be proud of.

  • ak

    Was it a gear cover that hits his windscreen? One that should have been on the we see mangled case with gears?

    • protomech

      It was a course pylon that he hit at speed.

  • Scott-jay

    Interesting and short “ride”. Thanks, Chip & team.
    (thanks HFL on coverage)

  • protomech

    It looks like for the lightweight attempts he was running with a subset of his full battery pack (and so well down on power – his bike’s power output always seems like it’s been battery-limited not motor-limited, though peak motor output gets the headlines).

    I’d love to see him bring the bike out of retirement in a couple of years with newer batteries and a bit more chassis pack integration. $$$ of course, but hopefully he can find sponsors.