Becoming the most powerful motorcycle of any kind ever to enter the race, we’re exclusively revealing that Chip Yates will be racing his 240bhp, 365lb/ft electric superbike at Pikes Peak on June 26. Chip’s bike is currently set up for paved tracks, where he made history by placing second in a race against gasoline superbikes back in January. With the help of a friend, we uncovered this news yesterday, but Chip's now agreed to go on-record.
“We’re ecstatic to have been invited by Pikes Peak International Hill Climb officials to compete in this epic event,” says Chip. “The course is almost completely paved, but I will be challenged by several miles of dirt in the middle of the climb and I’ll be calling on my previous SCCA Pro Rally driving experience to get safely through the lower grip sections. Our engineers are busy developing new traction control software and mapping that will automatically adapt based on my position on the mountain.”
“Me and my wife Julie in my 1989 Toyota MR2 Supercharged, SCCA Pro-Rally car competing at the Rim of the World Pro Rally in 2002. In 2001, Julie and I won the SCCA Southern Pacific Group 5 Rally Championship in this car. Group 5 is basically 2wd open class. This is to support the idea that I have some experience on dirt roads with big dropoffs!”
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is a one-of-a-kind event held annually in the Colorado Rockies that sees wildly powerful cars and motorcycles race up a 12.42-mile, 156-turn, part-dirt, part-paved course. Traditionally, supermotos or other dirt-capable motorcycles race, last year the Ducati Multistrada 1200 placed 2nd and 6th in the race.
Chip’s won’t be the first electric motorcycle to take part in Pikes Peak, but it will be the first with a serious chance of competing directly with ICE motorcycles. The point? To prove “electric motorcycles don’t need to be slow and boring.”
But how is a nearly 600lbs pizza delivery bike going to fair on such a technical course? Pretty well, according to Chip. “Two key benefits of our electric powertrain will really help me climb from 9,390 feet all the way up to the 14,110 foot summit. First of all, our superbike makes 240 horsepower at sea level and 240 horsepower at 14,110 feet – we do not suffer any power loss due to elevation, whereas gasoline-powered vehicles will lose around 30% of their power at the top. Secondly, our 365 ft/lbs of torque is available from 0 rpm as soon as I open the throttle – with few straight sections, we don’t have to wait for revs to build up in order to blast off the course’s 156 turns and tight corners.”
In the run up to the Peak’s two-day test on June 4th and 5th, Chip’s team will be making wide-ranging modifications to the electric superbike. Expect to read about them here.