Unlike our familiar world in its constantly expanding universe, a racers world resides in a unique universe- it is forever collapsing. A racer’s single goal is to go faster and faster and by doing so a racer compresses both time and space… that is until he/she arrives at Bonneville.
Road racing is a very complicated, precise ballet conducted at lethal speeds. Road racing is full, populated with stimuli, road racing is Rachmaninoff; ten thousand notes and no pause. Bonneville is not road racing and challenging the salt on an electric moto is something entirely different. Bonneville is solo and white, purely singular, Bonneville is single note; played once and held for two minutes.
Bonneville is exactly as you imagine; white, flat and vast- simply like no other place on earth. The history is palatable, brave men and spurred-on machines working together, trying to go faster… faster than anyone else… ever. It is both not important and very important at the same time. Bonneville calls the individual, the tinkerer and the small team to battle and try to become victorious over the invisible but sizable foe- resistance. It is a battle for all but resistance plays fair, letting the slower warriors off with less effort saving its strength for the faster more worthy opponents.
Family affair; Terry Czysz (father) on the rear wheel, Max Czysz (11) on the seat, Ryan Taylor (MotoCzysz GM) on the bars and Enzo Czysz (13) contemplating his Bonneville debut in 2011
Zen on the Ghost Track
The track marshal cues his radio, “This is an FIM return run for a world record attempt, MotoCzysz bike #3, ready to launch.” Although the MotoCzysz E1pc is 100% ready, is it also dead silent, I hear the response over the nearby radio. “FIM return trip, world record attempt, track is clear, bike #3 is a go for launch.” The marshal looks directly at me, simulates closing his imaginary visor then points his green flag at me and waves it. In front of me lies nothing… a huge 5 mile track that is all but invisible, for sure not a turn in sight. The track is so long and the salt is so flat that you can actually detect a slight rise in the middle of the track, created from- the curvature of the earth!
Riding at Bonneville your focus is myopic… your task so singular… the whole experience, transcending. In preparing the E1pc to go as fast as possible we also virtually eliminated every way of slowing it down- no gears, no engine braking and no front brakes, all that was left was one very small (and very ineffective) race rear brake.
Shoulders and elbows as narrow as possible, knees and feet tight against the machine, one hand on the fork leg and even little fingers tucked away neatly. Seat up, head down, so low you have to strain your eyes upward to even partially see down the track. It is hard to breath in this position, it is very uncomfortable. However, your most effective weapon against your enemy, resistance is to try to sneak by without being seen and in our case also heard.
The electric machine is at home on the salt. The electric motor is pure, creating little more than torque, certainly no unwanted distractions masking the deep zen experience of speed. No unnecessary noise, no ridiculous vibration and no depressing interruption in acceleration for another gear changes. On the salt every other non-electric motorcycle sounded and looked dated, even antiquated, this was unexpected but very reassuring. In the future- ALL ICE land speed records will fall to challengers using electric drives!
The MotoCzysz E1pc is a road racer and in 2010 won the two biggest electric road races in the world, even setting track records at both races. On our first pass down the salt broke the E1pc broke what was the current land speed record. We calculated we could achieve 160mph, my goal was 165, ultimately we reached 163mph, so the results were very positive and right on target.
Like most teams on the salt for the first time, MotoCzysz did not set a LSR… so we are very eager for our second try in 2011, in fact- enthusiasm is running so high that we have even put into motion some plans for an EPIC attempt in 2012!