In December last year, Josh Hill, riding the electric Alta Motors’ Redshift, beat Ricky Carmichael, aka “The GOAT”, who was riding his Suzuki RM-Z450 (combustion) motorcycle, during the final night of the Geneva Supercross 2017. That victory gave Alta Motors the confidence to sign up two riders on almost-stock Redshift MXR electric motorcycles for what is arguably the hardest enduro race on earth, the Erzberg Rodeo in the small town of Eisenerz, Austria.
For the first time in the history of the Erzberg Rodeo, two electric motorcycles will appear at the start this year’s event. Alta’s factory team riders, Ty Tremaine and Lyndon Poskitt, will compete on almost stock Redshift MXR’s in this gruesome race. The riders feel confident that this electric bike, with merely tuned suspension and some pull straps as modifications, will get them to the finish line.
The Erzberg Rodeo is known for being one of the hardest motorcycle enduro races, short of the Dakar Rally. The race is part of the Red Bull Hard Enduro Series in which riders attempt to summit steep hill climbs and daunting obstacles such as rock beds, boulder fields, and slick, wooded sections over a total of 35 kilometers (22 miles) to the finish. As an indication of how though the Erzberg Rodeo is, in 2017 only 25 riders completed the race out of the 500 riders who started in the main event. In 2016, only 9 people out of 500 finished the race. Alta Motors sure picked the right event to prove the capability of their Redshift MXR motorcycle.
For Ty Tremaine, it will be the first time to attempt the ‘Iron Mountain’ in Austria, although his experience as a two-time X Games Finals competitor should prove to be more than adequate preparation.
“Having the opportunity to make history by riding the first electric is an honor,” commented Tremaine. “After the past few months racing the Redshift, I am confident it will give me my best shot at conquering the Iron Mountain.”
Alta’s other rider is the well-known, Lyndon Poskitt a professional off-road racer, Dakar rally veteran, and producer of the popular off-road motorcycle travel series, Races to Places. His experience as an offroad rider and the fact that he has competed in the Erzberg Rodeo before makes him a serious contender.
“After challenging Erzberg on a rally bike last year, I’m eager to see what I can accomplish on a premium bike that is designed specifically for this environment,” said Lyndon Poskitt. “Partnering with Alta made sense because they’ve built a bike that delivers the control and power critical for this type of race—it just happens to be electric.”
In an interview with Electrek, Chief Product Officer and co-founder Marc Fenigstein said that the Alta Motors MXR offers two distinct advantages over traditional combustion motorcycles. First, the electric motorcycle offers better control with its instant torque and reduced noise (now you can actually hear if your rear tire is gripping or slipping). Second, the electric MXR creates less fatigue for the rider as there are fewer things to think about or to manage. For instance, with the Alta MXR, you do not have to keep the engine in the optimal rev range, work the clutch or shift gears, the engine will never stall, and there are no vibrations nor is there any engine noise. This all results in a reduced cognitive load for the rider, leaving more energy and attention for conquering the race.
In the official press release Alta Motors Chief Technical Officer and co-founder, Derek Dorresteyn said:
“We built the Redshift to compete head-to-head with the best gas bikes in the most brutal environments in the world. The Erzberg extreme enduro is the place to demonstrate that. The race comes at a time when electric bikes are struggling for acceptance in international competition. We are grateful that the Erzberg organizers share our belief that competition should be about advancing technology — not restricting it — and that they are providing a platform to demonstrate that electrics should have the right to compete.”
It seems that the electric motocross bike is especially well suited for this relatively short (distance) but gruesome race. This year’s event will take place from May 31 through June 3rd and promises again to be a very exciting event. We will be sure to follow Ty Tremaine and Lyndon Poskitt closely to see how they make out on their electric Alta Motors MXR’s. Exciting stuff!
Lastly, expect a review of the Alta Motors MS soon here on Electrek!