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Electric Cowboy
29 May 2012, 1058
Since the start of the TTXGP this year I have been determined to find a way to raise interest in our sport, but I was ( and am still ) green and didn't really have the power to do much. However, my reception as the first electric bike through Kieth Codes California Superbike School really gave me a positive outlook and good motivation to continue spreading my love for electric bikes in the racing world. That coupled with the advice and encouragement I received from all of the various teams at the TTXGP as well as the officials and spectators really helped motivate me and got me thinking that with the help of our community and a few friends I could really make a difference in evangelizing electric bikes on the track.

Well, in the past few weeks, Hollywood Electrics has introduced me to my racing partner, John Lazear (my senior in everything motorcycle), we have created a team, Electric Cowboys Racing, and we have both been licensed by Trackdaz and Chuckwalla Vally Motorcycle Association. This means that I have become the first person in history to be licensed to race on an electric motorcycle. Both John and I aim to have our expert license for next years TTXGP E-Superstock class, and hope to raise as much awareness as possible for our sport as we can in the process.

It was really quite an adventure for John and I to get our licenses. I had been going back and forth with AFM and WERA and Rupal from TTXGP to see how we could best get our novice license and start on the road to becoming racing experts for a while. Then, John called me up this last Thursday to say he was going to go out to Chuckwally Vally Raceway the very next day to get licensed. I did some quick searching and wasn't sure if the CVMA license would be what we needed because the association is so new, and sent out some emails to see if it had reciprocity and would be accepted to run in the TTXGP. I didn't have time to wait on the answers though, and decided to gamble on fate. This was too good an opportunity and at very least would be an amazing experience I thought. So I called John up and worked out the details of doing everything together. I really owe him big time since my Controller is in Oregon being reset at the factory, and I was bikeless, he really saved my day and let me ride his 2012 Zero S to get licensed.

After work that day I rushed down to Hollywood Electrics to get a QuiQ charger for the weekend and then back to my place to throw the bare essentials into my Ford Escape and hook up my trailer. As it turns out, I forgot some things in my hurry like my cool gear for under my leathers, but I did bring some basketball shorts and an extra undershirt, so it wasn't that bad. Late that night I arrived at Johns place with my trailer and we strapped the bikes down and loaded up the rest of our gear in a hurry to get an early start on the 178 mile journey to Desert Center California. We spent a few hours getting some rest in Ontario and picking up some more of John's equipment, like a 7000 watt generator to charge the Zero at the track.

The next day still very tired, we headed out at 5ish am. We were greeted excitedly by the awesome Renee from CVMA at the track and quickly got set up and into the days first orientations after which John and I hurriedly removed the kickstand from the Zero to prevent it from getting scraped to all hell as My 2011's has been. Unfortunately, after we got it off the bike wouldn't start and we were left with a feeling of impending doom. I was thinking, "Oh NO! this is not good, we came all this way and now I have screwed something up". I made a quick call to Harlan at Hollywood Electrics and was able to get the bike back up and running without the kickstand bypassing the kickstand switch with some safety wire and duct tape. Finally I was able to get out onto the track. As I rode through the pits all suited up on my silent steed I drew looks and smiles, and heard a few impressed riders saying things like "No WAYYYY! Thats electric!", and "Holy ****, he's taking it on the track!". I felt like a rock star.

As I got to the hot-pit lane I met my instructor, a long time veteran instructor who branched out from Kieth Codes Superbike School, who took me around the track for a little orientation with the other A group riders. This being only my second time on a track, and the first time on this track, my adrenaline was really flowing, this was AWESOME! Granted The Zero was a lot slower than some of the bikes in A group, but provided I followed my line and was predictable, I knew I would be fine. After my orientation, I quickly began to see what this totally stock 2012 Zero S could do. The bike handled very well, and took off out of the corners keeping a nice grip through them as well. I quickly started grinding the rubber soles off of my boots, I was planning on buying racing boots this weekend, however the quickness with which all of this happened meant I had to wear my steel toed combat boots. Though I didn't know it at the time, John later told me my boots were really smouldering and creating quite a cloud of smoke behind me... I guess that's the only way you'll ever get exhaust from an EV Smiley After a hard lap, I began to grind the foot pegs, thankfully I am used to grinding my kickstand on my 2011 so I wasn't surprised when I hit hard parts, I just put out my knee dragged it through the corners using it as a guide to prevent grinding my boots or the pegs beyond a certain angle. I had started to feel confident and began to press harder probably reaching speeds into the 90's. And then my first Real Cowboy moment came, I went into turn 2 too fast and turned too late, I went wide and flew off the track like a runaway carnival ride. I hit the sand probably between 60-65 mph and felt like I was riding a writhing python through the desert. It was not that foreign to me though, I had a similar experience at Streets of Willow during CSS, I knew all I had to do was let her slow down and not try to mess up her natural balancing and I would be ok to hop back on the track at the next straight, which I did. I felt more compelled to push harder now to show that it wasn't a big deal, just a little joy ride in the desert that's all. I knew I wasn't going to go down, that wasn't an option, but I bet I did squeeze my ass so tight I could have made a nickel out of 5 pennies when I first shot off the track.

Pushing harder now, I saw the temperature gauge come on, and thought, "Hmmmm, this ought to be interesting", but I figured I should know what happens when this happens so I kept pressing on twisting more and more. After another lap, going into a straight, I felt the power dwindle and the bike eventually cut off causing me to have to go off the track again, this time voluntarily. I waited and got no response from the throttle, so I power cycled the bike, and when it restarted, it was running again, but by the time I figured this out, The crash truck was already on its way to give me a ride back to the pits Smiley That was fun, I really got to experience a lot and gave people something to watch and wonder about. I continued to have thermal issues the next time around the track, but found that if I just did a cool lap, I could power cycle the bike coasting on the straight and be back on my way in no time. One of the Trackdaz officials told me "We may have to have you run with the C group if you keep having mechanical issues", which I had wanted earlier in the day, but now was dead set against. I requested he let me go around one more session after we removed the lower fairings to increase air flow, which he granted me.

John and I grabbed some tools and figured out how to remove the lower fairing pretty easily, and it really helped the motor cooling, a lot. I was able to make it through all the rest of the sessions without major issue. My boots were no longer grinding away as they were now ground to the point of matching my leaning angle, and I was free to compete for the last few sessions before the day ending mock race. Then the sand storms came. They started as little gusts of sandy clouds across the track, occasionally a tumble weed, and developed into blizzard like whitish storms you could barely see the corner exits through with tendrils of sand undulating across the pavement eventually leading to a red flag condition.

Finally it came time to do the mock race, the final portion of the trackdaz licensing course, and the most exciting thing any of us in the NRS had done on the track so far. I watched the official with the countdown board and flag with silent apprehension as everyone around me began to get louder and louder prepping for the start. Then it happened, the green flag went up and we all took off like a stampeding herd of Texan Steer, I felt the front end of my bike pick up, not quite off the ground, but enough for me to feel "HELL YEAH!", I watched as John wheelied off the line just ahead of me and went around a rider in front of him that had stalled out. I made sure to push it, but just enough to have fun and not over heat because if i didn't finish this race, I wouldn't get my license. I went into my corners the hardest and fastest yet, and miraculously managed not to fly off any of them. I did my best to pop up just in time for some air breaking on the turns that needed it, and maybe a little stoppy action once going into turn 2. In the long sweepers I just kept her wide open really getting off the bike leaning down low. It was a truly surreal feeling, like a high of sorts, your vision and perception of the world changes dramatically in turns like this. My knee on the edge of the candy stripe and my body and helmet down low somewhere over top of it, the black and yellow flashing from the stripes passing by seemed to slow down the whole world as my lines tightened up and the g-force of the turns sunk in. This was extacy plain and simple.

As I crossed the finish line with the checkered flag waving, I realized there was a whole crowd there cheering and clapping. People were genuinely excited to see a rider cross the line on an electric motorcycle. I felt proud, and accomplished. At this moment, I knew I had just made history. This was an epic moment for me, I was the first rider to do this, the first rider to become a racer with no ICE bike experience, no petrol, all electric. Coming off of the track, with my fist raised in the air, a large group of bikers clapped and congratulated me. Everyone was impressed with what the Zero could do. Now I knew we could do it, we can help our sport by coming out and racing with the petrol bikes, people are open to this, and excited by it. Riders, officials, spectators, and instructors alike are all positive and interested in this.

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Electric Cowboy
29 May 2012, 1100
I also wanted to share some pictures of John Lazear, my awesome partner whom I have a LOT to learn from.

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Skeezmour
29 May 2012, 1124
HURRAY! Keep up the great work. Sure I will see you at the track soon.

Electric Cowboy
29 May 2012, 1215
HURRAY! Keep up the great work. Sure I will see you at the track soon.

Thanks, and you bet! You going to Laguna July 1st?

Allen_okc
29 May 2012, 1221
:cool: no kidding, keep up the awesome work fellows, you all are putting the EV's in the public consciousness and doing it in a good light...

EVcycle
29 May 2012, 1520
Very cool!

Keep up the racing fever!!!

Skeezmour
29 May 2012, 1730
Thanks, and you bet! You going to Laguna July 1st?

Sure hope to. Have a place to stay in the area and everything :)

Electric Cowboy
29 May 2012, 1926
Thats Awesome! I can't wait to go around Laguna! You're going to ride right Skeez?

Electric Cowboy
29 May 2012, 2047
And my fav pic of the day :

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EVcycle
30 May 2012, 0201
Ahhhh, the EV Smile! :)

Allen_okc
30 May 2012, 0716
Yup its that silly EV grin again...