ELECTRIC race teams have revealed they were not informed about the Isle of Man government’s plans to put the TT Zero on ice for the next two years.
Instead, word caught up with them after IOMTT organisers dropped the news early last week – and some say they were forced to find out through third parties in the middle of their planning stages for TT 2020.
Duffy Motorsport’s crew, who were one of just two teams running privateer efforts outside the University and Mugen ranks, were riding high after setting the quickest production bike lap of 2019 with new recruit Mike Norbury.
Aboard what was near as makes no difference a stock Zero SR with fairings, he clocked an 83.289mph lap – good enough for sixth place and fastest production machine among a field of mainly prototypes.
Amid the planning stages for next season, however, KAST Energy’s Kes Scott – who developed and supplied Duffy’s solar-powered charging station – says he had no idea of the IOM Department for Enterprise’s plans to temporarily pull the plug.
“One of our friends and partners from the island sent me a link to a press release and that’s how we found out,” Scott told Manx Radio. “It’s just an absolute disappointment.
“We start planning for next year’s TT almost at the end of the previous TT. It’s not just about research and development, it’s about financial obligations as well and we’d started to put our financial obligations into fruition.
To find out three or four months afterwards, we feel the rug has been ripped from underneath our feet a little.”
Scott’s company, which helps businesses decrease their CO2 production, had been making even grander plans for the 2020 TT Zero with Duffy Motorsport in a bid to boost the electric racing scene – but now fears the government’s decision could slow progress and cause a lack of interest in battery-powered racing.
“My concern is that there are other electric bike races around the UK and in Europe, some with financial purses. Some teams may be better off putting their expertise into those.
“The TT Zero was the absolute pinnacle for electric bike racing – you couldn’t get any better, that was the real test of what we could achieve with electric bikes.
“With a two-year hiatus with the TT Zero, they might struggle to get that interest back again. It would be a real shame to lose that momentum.”
A rep from the University of Bath team also admitted the team was not informed of the race hiatus.
*Image: KAST Energy