Lightning Electric at Bonneville – Part II

Written by J.C. Current, Courtesy of

Who says that lightning never strikes twice? The adage Lightning Motorcycles - Bonneville Salt Flats 2009 is a fallacy and so is the idea behind it. Amazing things can happen to anyone anywhere multiple times – if you are lucky or very, very good. Today we are talking about Lightning Motorcycles and their land speed record attempts on the Bonneville Salt Flats near Wendover, Utah. Their first day went very well by any measure – they set a new land speed record of 162 mph (260.71 km/h) for an electric-powered motorcycle. This placed them firmly in the record books of both the FIM and the AMA. They were not done, though…

The following day, 1 September 2010, rider Paul Thede again set the two records on fire and came in with a 166.3 mph (267 km/h) on the same machine. Of course, team boss Richard Hatfield was not satisfied with that; he knew there was more. So, he took their General Motors EV1 electric car-sourced motor to a dyno-equipped shop in nearby Salt Lake City and did some tuning.

Thede took to the salt the following day and faced an 11 mph headwind for his first run. That brought them a measured top speed of 170.97 mph. The return run had far better conditions – no wind – and the TTXGP-raced motorcycle pulled a 176 mph for a two-way average of 173 ttxgplogo mph (278.42 km/h)! That’s the new world land speed record for electric motorcycles for both the FIM and the AMA.

The Lightning Motorcycles team will also continue their TTXGP competition by participating in the invitation-only finals in Albacete, Spain from 23 – 24 October. Keep your eyes here and we will keep you updated.

Lightning Electric at Bonneville

Written by J.C. Current, Courtesy of

TTXGP Logo Apparently, winning the inaugural TTXGP North American Championship – with three victories in four races – was not enough for Lightning Motorcycles. They took their cutting-edge technology with them to the annual Bonneville speed trials outside of Wendover, Utah, and managed to set two world speed records for the electric motorcycle category. The first certification comes from the Federation Internationale de Motorcyclisme (FIM), the worldwide organization responsible for all motorcycle speed records as well as international motorcycle racing. The second was from the US body responsible for the same duties in the United States, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). Both records show that the Lightning electric motorcycle achieved a two way averaged speed of 162 mph (260.71 km/h) on 31 August 2010. LightningMotor_Electric_09

Rider (and noted author of “The Motorcycle Suspension Bible”) Paul Thede was actually riding the same machine that Lightning used to compete in the final round of the TTXGP, held at Virginia International Raceway only two weeks previous. Only gearing changes were made to allow for the higher top speed. The team had made one previous record attempt, but it was only certified by the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA); the speed achieved at that time was 166 mph (267 km/h), so there may be more in store.

Team owner Richard Hatfield stated that the record was set on their very first day on the Salt Flats, so the next few days could bring us another electric motorcycle speed record. Keep your eyes on the All About Bikes website…