MotoElectra Updates (from the Sheep Barn)

I just got a note from Brian Richardson, with this update: “We are very busy getting ready for the Infineon (Sears Point) race.  The bike went to the paint shop today.  In a couple weeks we will start the final build, and then we will see if our ideas for 2011 pay off.  The bike will be a bit heavier, and hopefully that weight will pay dividends of more torque and a cooler running motor.”

These guys, and many others like them, are quietly working away in barns, sheds, garages and basements preparing for the coming race season.  They don’t have PR and Marketing machines like some (ahem CHIPYATES coughcough) teams do, but don’t for a minute think they’re not contenders.  For some reason the more mainstream press doesn’t seem too interested, but here’s a rundown on what these guys have put together in a few short years.  Let’s start with making some history:
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First Gas vs. Electric Motorcycle Race in History

Brian Richardson‟s vintage Norton-Electra made the front page of the Birmingham, Ala., daily newspaper Monday following the history-making race in which rider Thad Wolff took first place over a field of gas-powered bikes. This was the first sanctioned race in history between electric and gas powered motorcycles. The race took place on October 9, 2010, in front of a record breaking crowd of 70,000.

“It was a great way to end our season,” Richardson said. “Just great.”

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Moto-Electra Takes 3rd at VIR
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Moto-Electra Racing Takes Second

On the podium again! Thad Wolff raced Brian Richardson‟s all-electric motorcycle to a second-place finish in Canada at the third race of the TTXGP North America Series at Mosport International Raceway. Wolff turned in the second fastest qualifying lap.

The crowd was stunned when Thad Wolff took the pole position with the antique (1950‟s) Norton Chassis. At the winner‟s circle, folks who had filmed a piece about the Norton for the Discovery Channel in the Blue Grass Valley put Richardson in front of their camera for an interview. They felt the results at Road America were good for wrapping up what they needed for an episode of Café Racer that aired fall 2010.
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Terry McAuliffe Visits Moto-Electra Racing

Terry McAuliffe, businessman and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, got a peek at Brian Richardson‟s all-electric motorcycle Tuesday in Monterey.

McAuliffe was fascinated, and mentioned his hope of building electric cars in Virginia soon. “This is
incredible,” McAuliffe said. McAuliffe asked Richardson whether he would pursue commercial applications for the design. Richardson replied, “Let‟s get started.”
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Discovery Channel Comes to Tiny Town of Blue Grass

Brian Richardson and his all-electric motorcycle became the subject of a television special for the Discovery Channel, attracting a film crew to the rural Blue Grass Valley to watch Richardson building next season‟s machine in his barn. In May, Moto-Electra Racing will travel to California in order to enter the first sanctioned race for electric motorcycles in the United States.
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Electric bike getting overhaul for May race

The Norton Electra built by Brian Richardson of Blue Grass is undergoing quite a few changes to prepare for a major race this spring. Richardson has had help with engineering, and financial support from IceWarp (a company providing unified communication solutions) and Markel Insurance. Richardson has received national and international publicity for his innovative approach and success at building an electric motorcycle with true performance capabilities.

Unveiling his first project last summer at the American Motorcyclist Association Hall of Fame Museum in Ohio brought him together with other builders and developers. Café Racer magazine did a three-page spread on the Electra in the fall 2009 issue.
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Moto-Electra Racing Sets World Record

Moto-Electra Racing sets a quarter mile world record at Mason-Dixon Dragway in August 2009. The rider, Nicole Balenger, found out a week later that she was “two-up” when setting the record. The second half of the world record run was born on April 13, 2010.
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Blue Grass Motorcycle Breaks 108 mph in First Test

With a 108.6 mph performance on a racetrack in Ohio July 2009, Brian Richardson’s kitchenbuilt electric motorcycle answered a question that had been nagging him since he first rolled it out of his farmhouse: How fast will it really go? The first real test of Richardson’s Norton Electra proved the bike had all the power of a gasoline-fired machine. Richardson was thrilled with his bike’s performance on its first outing. The top speed exceeded his expectations.
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Electric motorcycle rides to Richmond

Physics students at Collegiate Schools and at St. Catherine’s School in Richmond got to see Brian Richardson’s all electric Norton motorcycle recently. “The students seemed genuinely excited about the new technology and its presentation,” Richardson said. “The girls are in the ninth-grade special STEM class — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. In response to an invitation from the Governor’s Motorcycle Advisory Council, he hauled the bike to Richmond on May 12 for its first such demonstration at the council’s meeting at the headquarters of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

After he had met with the students at Collegiate, the administrators suggested he come around to the back parking lot to “do one more thing.” There, he was treated to a test drive of the new Tesla Roadster. The Roadster is an electric powered sports car built by a California company that has been backed largely by Silicon Valley investors. The designers and builders of the Roadster wanted to build in plenty of performance and fun-to-drive capacity. Later, the Electra and the Tesla went for a spirited electric ride through the local countryside.

Busy boys!

Here’s a great little gallery of photos Brian sent me.  Enjoy!

The Moto-Electra website is a little catch-as-catch-can, but their FaceBook page is here.  Check there for updates and all the latest.

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