Pikes Peak showdown: Chip Yates to race again

Chip Yates, back in the days when he was an electric superbike racer.
Chip Yates, after his 2011 Pikes Peak race.
Chip Yates, after his 2011 Pikes Peak race.

Chip Yates is coming out of retirement, says Asphalt and Rubber.

A couple years ago, Chip Yates and his electric superbike were tearing around the continent, setting speed records and constantly getting faster and faster. One of the highlights of his short career was his 2011 race at Pikes Peak, where Yates not only set a record, but challenged the gas-powered machines, thanks to his battery bike’s advantage in the race’s extreme elevation change.

That was when the road course at Pikes Peak wasn’t fully paved; folks reckoned Yates might have been able to beat the winning Ducatis if his bike had been better prepared for the gravel section.

Now, it’s 2013; the road to the top is entirely paved, Nova Scotia-based Amarok Racing is challenging the race with their P1 electric race bike, and Chip Yates has taken notice. He’s coming back to defend his electric record, but not on his own motorcycle.

Instead of his SWIGZ.COM racebike (apparently, that machine is in a museum), Yates is going to be riding on a bike from Lightning Motorcycles. While Lightning and Yates were in competition a couple years ago, they’re apparently working together now (Yates is working on an electric airplane effort these days, and supposedly, he’s getting his batteries from Lightning).

It should be an interesting race this year. While Amarok has gone with a light, maneuverable design that’s supposedly based on 250 GP racers of the past, Yates and his crew have built bikes around horsepower – electric horsepower, of course. Amarok has Greg Tracy aboard their bike, and he’s a true master of Pikes Peak, but Yates has proved he’s no slouch either. It’s too bad Pikes Peak is so far from CMG HQ …

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