Infineon Raceway (rumored to officially be Sears Point again soon) was the first to announce a 2012 round for the TTXGP series. Well, the Eruos have seen our race and raised us a 3 year deal. The TTXGP will race at Assen, known as the “Cathedral of Racing”, until 2014.
The TTXGP folks look to be on a much better pace this year as far as securing the race calender is concerned. Lets hope this pace continues. On the FIM’s e-Power Facebook page you can friend (vs. the one you can ‘like’) they said they were already working on next years calender back at the end of October. I just checked the website and I don’t see any listings on their event calender yet. Last year they had their official calender out long before the TTXGP’s official one, but if memory recalls it was 6 races long, and it ended up being 4 races with 2 of them combined efforts with the TTXGP. The TTXGP went from 5 to 3 races here in the US, but in Europe and Australia they kept all the planned races. The most successful races of last year were the combined races at Laguna Seca and Le Mans. The field was small at Le Mans, but the best race by far was Laguna. I would not hold your breath on seeing any combined rounds this year, but I don’t think it is personal, I think it is strictly business. So this shouldn’t effect Laguna in 2012, as back in 2010 it was an e-Power only race and the American teams were offered free entry if they showed up for the race. I am sure the same will happen this year. Now, you have to make money, or at least a clear path to making money and the TTXGP is young and small and still growing. The FIM is long sense established and can afford to lose a little money now to secure themselves for the future. Personally I think it is a mistake that the two series don’t combine and that is a popularly held belief among fans of electric motorcycle racing. But I, for one, am going to be patient and see what they do for 2012. However, if things aren’t better after that, my patience runs out.
What is the difference, you may ask. Well as far as the technical rules other than the FIM all but refusing to add a 75 style class, there are none. Actually the FIM uses the same rules as the TTXGP, which made the combined races a cinch last year. I believe the difference comes in philosophy of not where the sport is going, but of how to get there. To over simplify things, the TTXGP caters to the fans and the FIM caters to the teams. Having talked to several American teams they really liked the organization of the FIM races. Also the FIM subsidizes the teams by waving race entry fees, and I am certain they help the European teams fly to the US for that round. While the e-Power branch is new the FIM is a very old and established traditional European organization. The e-Power folks will give the teams the shirt off their backs to help them out, but on the higher levels elmotos do not have the support of everyone, and I fear only a quaint minority. Heck, Italian track owners won’t even let the electric bikes on their tracks. Now I have heard that this is not because they are over traditionalist neanderthals, but because they are afraid of the safety ramifications of electric bikes. However American track owners are eager to let electric bikes on their tracks (if not competing a bit, well a wee bit, maybe). This must only mean that US track owners their staff are American bad-asses who have superior training, education, and skills. Any way, my point is that the TTXGP has to make this successful because this is their bread and butter, where as it is not the FIM’s. I am certain that if the FIM was to completely take over the elmoto racing world it would set the racing back a decade, if not give the opportunity of some to kill it all together. However, on the other hand the resources, relationships, organization, and pull the FIM has is what the TTXGP is lacking. But the TTXGP is working on that while focusing on maintaining and improving fan involvement. We’ll see who well both do this year.
In the mean time European teams are starting to lose sponsors because there hasn’t been an ROI for them. There is NO racing without fans who buy stuff. We are the reason there is still elmoto racing at all. But we need access to the races. There are TV deals but you know what? The races are going out to millions of people who aren’t already part of you of your fan base. I don’t know anyone who has seen the races on TV. I say play with the TV folks if you want, but what should happen is the races get released in both normal and HD quality on bit torrents. Bit Torrents programs themselves are not illegal, its the fact that people put content up there who don’t have rights to do so. Sell advertizing and put commercials in the show and then allow people to download it at their convenience. It should spread faster this way, and is much better than streaming, or so I’ve heard. It also means someone can copy it to a thumb-drive and give it to their friends, complete with commercials in nice quality that they can keep forever, and watch whenever. This is much better than, “Hey Fred, make sure sure watch a 10pm.”