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Chasing Records at Bonneville

By EV World Video

In 2011, Minnesotan Kevin Clemens decided to fulfill a wish he'd had many years ago: to race for records at Bonneville. His vehicle of choice is electric motorcycles.

To talk with Kevin Clemens of Elmo Lake, Minnesota via Skype, with his shelves of books behind him, you'd probably never guess he's seriously into racing for records on the Bonneville Salt Flats. You'd easily take him for a college professor or maybe an author, which with respect to the latter vocation, he is, in addition to being a journalist with an engineering degree.

But out in his garage are a pair of electric motorcycles, more or less cobbled together from resurrected Honda and Kawasaki gas bikes. And with them, along with the help of some friends, he's broken several records in Utah, as well as set new records. This year was no exception. For the third year, he was back with his modified machines to tackle two more EV records: the 150 kg electric motorcycle record and the similar 300 kg sidecar class. While a Perdue University team soundly beat him by at least 10 mph in the 150 kg class, his little modified Honda sidecar was able to set a new speed record.

In this 17-minute Skype video, we talk to Kevin from his home in Minnesota about chasing speed records at Bonneville where literally hundreds motorcycles of every shape and size come together, along with their owners, riders, teams and spectators. Held the week following Speed Week, it's the one opportunity during the year for the these men (and women) to challenge the record books, often on shoestring budgets with machines literally built in their home garages.

Racing with Kevin was our long-time friend, Eva Hakansson, who set a new record of more than 212 mph in KillaJoule in her unlimited class electric sidecar motorcycle traveling twice as fast as Clemens on his Fabulous Photon Torpedo, which clocked a respectable 98.7 mph, besting his previous record of 85.7 set in 2012.

Later his Honda Scrambler-based sidecar set a new record for its class at 54.651 mph, the average of two passes using lead-acid batteries.

Both bikes were charged using solar energy generated by a pair of 190 Watt RAIS solar panels provided by Minnesota-based tenKsolar, making Clemen's pit area the quietest and the cleanest of the event.

Skype Video Interview

Photos

Fabulous Photon Torpedo electric motorycle

Honda Scrambler-based electric sidecar motorcycle

Times Article Viewed: 4359
Originally published: 06 Sep 2013

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