Saturday was our first chance to qualify for the TT Zero race on Wednesday. The demands were fairly low, we only needed to attain an average speed around the course of just under 50 mph. Our strategy was to dial back the motor controller to a lower setting that we were totally comfortable with so that we could let our rider go full throttle as much as he liked and we would not be anywhere near the limits of our motors.
The bike was essentially all set to go, so we spent the morning taking care of a few last details and getting the bike all ready with the decals.
The top fairing ended up looking a lot better once we put a few of the decals on. They definitely help to hide the irregularities in the shape.
Allan put on the transponder that we need for the race. This will allow the sector times to be automatically logged as the bike makes its way around the course.
Once we arrived at the grandstands, we had to wait for a while until the scrutineers were ready to inspect our bike. Next to our bike, on the left, is the bike from Kingston University. It seems like a very competitive bike with a YASA 250KW motor with 500 Nm of torque. Apparently, the bike runs of off a "flux-capacitor" battery according to the team leader (this is race terminology for "you don't need to know what our batteries are").
Our bike got a careful looking over for any mechanical problems or interferences that could be a safety hazard out on the course. The men in blue are the so-called "scrutineers."
After passing inspection, we proceeded to the parc ferme where the bikes wait until the beginning of the practice session. We put on the tire warmers right away so that they would have sufficient time to heat up before going out on the course. This is important to soften the rubber and maximize the grip.
While the tires warmed and we waited to be called up to start, Allan was interviewed by Chris from Manx Radio, one of the local stations.
After about 45 minutes, we were called to start and Allan took the bike up to the starting line.
Last year's winner, Motoczysz, showed up just as the bikes were being called up to start. Here, Michael Czysz pushes their new bike up to the starting line. Their team is certainly quite professional (notice the matching black Nike shoes).
Here is a nice side view of Motoczysz' sweet new bike.
One unique aspect of the Isle of Man TT compared to a track race is that once the riders take off, you don't see them for another 20 minutes or so as they complete a lap (or in the case of the electrics, closer to 30 min). We gathered in one of the buildings where they have updates on a screen and watched as the riders came through the Sulby Straight. Motoczysz clocked a very impressive 142.8 mph through the straight, followed by Kingston University with 96.1 mph (obviously dialed way back from what they are capable of), and MIT with a respectable 91.2 mph, which is almost exactly what we expected based on our testing and calculations.
Of the six teams that were at the practice session, only four finished. We were happy to see Allan as he crossed the finish line with a pump of the fist. He completed the course in 29 minutes 54 seconds, which works out to an average speed of 75.7 mph.
Once the practice session was over, we took a few temperature readings off the bike, gathered the information from the microcontroller, and headed back to Allan's home.