Pikes Peak update: Michael Dunlop, Zero SR/F both headed to this year’s race


The Pikes Peak International Hillclimb returns to Colorado again this June, with an Isle of Man TT star tackling the event, and Zero announcing its new electric superbike will be there as well.

Michael Dunlop won three events at last year’s IOMTT (Superbike, Supersport, Supertwins), and despite the death of older brother William at the Skerries 100 event last year, shows no slowing down. He’s joining the Wunderlich MOTORSPORT team at Pikes Peak this spring, along with Lucy Glöckner,  last year’s top rookie. They’ll be aboard BMW S1000RRs.

Most of the world’s street circuit events see a regular rotation of familiar faces from the Isle of Man races, but for some reason, the Pikes Peak race rarely sees those racers show up, perhaps because it’s expensive to get there, and it’s difficult to learn the course well. Guy Martin tackled it in 2014, aboard a homebrewed race bike with a Martek frame and a turbocharged GSX-R1100 motor. He didn’t have much success, as the thin air at the top of the mountain tends to wreak havoc with teams inexperienced with that challenge (and even teams who know what they’re doing).

The secret, of course, is to tackle the course with a competent electric motorcycle, and that’s what Zero plans to do this year. Battery bikes don’t rely on air-fuel mixture to make power, so they’re theoretically at a massive advantage on Pikes Peak.

Zero says it will bring its new SR/F electric superbike to Pikes Peak this June, and the results will be interesting. In stock form, the bike makes 110 hp, certainly more than enough for a street bike but hardly a hairy amount of power for a race machine. However, the bike also makes 140 lb-ft of torque, and considering they’re racing uphill, that should help the cause. And, it’s possible (probably) Zero will mod the machine to make quite a bit more power as well.

Cory West will race the SR/F in the PPIHC’s Heavyweight category, facing off against gasoline-powered machines like the Ducati Multistrada and KTM 1290 SuperDuke R, both of which make significantly more horsepower than the Zero bike.

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