Over the Christmas Break, MotoEbikes pioneered the all-electric MotoEBikes SurRon Storm Bee in its first competitive event.
The Witley and District Motor Cycle Club Boxing Day Enduro is renowned for being a real endurance challenge, including many obstacles and varied going. With the SurRon Storm Bee arriving as a fully road-legal ‘trail’ machine ready to hit the green lanes, in the lead up to Christmas, the bike was simply prepared by removing the unnecessary road-going gear such as indicators, and setting the suspension settings.
On the morning of the 27th, the Team arrived at the Four Marks venue to find it sunny but very wet and slippery underwheel. The four mile course was prepared, but with over 200 competitors on the start line, the traditional carnage would be sure to appear. After getting the bike out of the van in full MotoEBikes livery, many competitors and spectators came over asking questions about the brand, and a keen interest in electric motorcycles including how long we expected a battery to last! Signing on and technical inspection took place with no issues except a rather quizzical look from the machine examiner when the rear brake ‘pedal’ was not in its usual place, but up on the handlebar!
This year we entered the Team Category, with our rider Tristan Robinson on the MotoEBikes SurRon, and fellow WitleyMCC member Robert Carey aboard an Electric KTM Freeride E. While the individual competition is for the rider who completes the most laps in the three hour distance, the Team award allows two riders to swap the timing wristband in the paddock and the cumulative number of laps count towards the overall result. The plan was that the time lost going through the pits and stopping to change wristband, would be compensated for with a more refreshed rider after a short break.
The Boxing Day Enduro is famed for a ‘Le Mans’ Start, where competitors have to sprint 100m to their machines after the starters signal. Tristan Robinson was our chosen starter, and after the bang of the rocket, and a short sprint, the linear torque of the all-electric Storm Bee, drove Tristan to be third into the first corner, well ahead of the noise of two and four strokes hunting him down.
After the first corner, the lap itself took riders onto a long straight, before a field section with sweeping bends on slick grass, and then into part of an old school motocross track, with lots of mud and ruts. Riders then plunged into the woods, with a dash near the Watercress Line, and into the countless bombholes, ruts, roots, and craters of this wooded venue. After negotiating many chalk banks, and muddy bombholes, riders emerged back onto grass for some off-camber bends, before stepping briefly back into the woods ahead of a choice of obstacles, either traversing tractor tyres or a dizzying spiral.
With the compact wheel-base of the SurRon, the bike excelled in the woods, more manageable that many of the big four-stroke petrol machines, and with linear torque, Tristan found himself picking hot lines across roots, and up chalky banks, lapping many competitors from as soon as lap two. After the agreed three lap session, Tristan came in for the first time to swap wristband with Robert, who took off at pace to complete his own three lap session. While in the paddock, we checked the bike over, cleaned off the many kilos of mud and prepared for Rob’s return, with the team in 20th position overall out of 205.
On his second stint, Tristan found the woods heavily congested most laps, with many riders stuck on the slippery cambers and bombholes, but the SurRon never stopped, driving forward without spinning across root, chalk and hill with some ever-creative line choices to overtake other stricken riders. Tristan pushed to this time five laps, and around an hour’s ride time at full Expert race pace before diving into the pits to swap wristband with Rob again. As Rob dashed off, Lee and Mark in the paddock quickly removed the two 8mm bolts holding the seat unit on, to reveal the battery underneath, unclipping the cage and replacing for a spare with 100% charge, while Tristan refuelled himself with a spare mince pie or two…
Rob returned having completed three blistering laps, giving Tristan one last push to the end. After two laps, Tristan flew past the timing gantry with just 22 seconds spare to get a final, 17th lap in for the team.
At the finish, Team MotoEBikes placed provisionally 26th out of 205 competitors, a very respectable position for the first ever electric effort at a Boxing Day Enduro!
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