Despite temperatures plummeting to -6°C and snow and ice throwing barriers in their way the team from Zero Motorcycles completed its challenge for the Auto Cycle Union’s Maudes Trophy, riding over 1100 miles, between four points of the UK, in just over 60 hours.
Setting off from Lands End last Wednesday morning, the team of seven riders took turns to ride a pair of all-electric Zero DSR/X motorcycles in relay on a challenge set out to test and prove the viability of electric motorcycles, as well as the public charging infrastructure in the UK. The team had a trouble free first day, checking into Lowestoft, the easternmost point of the British Isles, but the ride north to Edinburgh proved treacherous as temperatures plummeted and heavy snow fell. Despite conditions deteriorating, the team carried on, albeit at reduced speeds – arriving in the icy Scottish capital in the early hours of Friday morning.
The challenge was completed on Friday, when the team rode through Cumbria and into North Wales, arriving at the final checkpoint in Holyhead mid-afternoon. From Holyhead, the bikes were ridden for a final 100 miles to Liverpool, where the team were awarded the ACU’s prestigious Maudes Trophy ahead of the FIM Awards ceremony, held at the city’s convention centre.
The Maudes Trophy was first awarded 100 years ago, to Norton Motorcycles, and is given to motorcycle manufacturers for completing observed endurance challenges. Zero are the 11th manufacturer to complete a Maudes Trophy challenge and the first to be powered by anything other than petrol.
Seven riders battled the elements to ride the bikes in shifts, including the National Motorcyclists Council’s Craig Carey-Clinch, former racer Curt Langan and bike journalist Martin Fitz-Gibbons. The remaining team members were staff from authorised Zero dealerships: Andy Dalton from Wheels Motorcycles, Matthew Drew from J&M Electrobikes and Macauley Perkins and Ben Grayson from The Bike Sanctuary.
Speaking after the challenge Dale Robinson, Zero Motorcycles’ UK Country Manager, said: “Wow, what a ride and much more an endurance of man than machine. The bikes performed faultlessly but the biggest challenge was for the riders, riding in sub-zero conditions. They stuck to the task with great dedication and not one gave up, when they could have been forgiven for doing so.
“Aside from the honour of winning this prestigious award, it has been an excellent opportunity for all involved to learn more about riding electric motorcycles in extreme conditions. Potential customers are often asking questions about touring and riding in cold temperatures. Our dealers now have first-hand experience, riding in conditions no Zero owner is likely to ever find themselves in, and we have been able to prove our product in these most challenging conditions. It feels fitting to be the first EV company to win this trophy, and 100 years after it was first awarded. Electric motorcycles are no longer the future but a viable proposition for many riders today.”
Craig Carey-Clinch added: “In such extreme cold weather conditions, teamworking was vital to the success of the ride and every member played a key part in what was a grueling ride at times. I started the challenge with an open mind about the capability of electric motorcycles on long distance journeys, but the DSR/Xs performed very well considering the extreme cold. However, when it comes to infrastructure for riders, much more needs to be done by public authorities if they want to encourage a switch to ePTWs. It’s not that charging facilities are rare, the opposite in fact, but that many have no facilities or shelter for riders waiting off their bikes. This is a matter the NMC will look in to further.”
Zero’s Maudes Trophy challenge was supported by a number of UK partners, including Lexham Insurance, Pirelli, Moto Novo Finance, Pidcock Motorcycles, Oakley Motorcycles, J&M Electrobikes, Wheels Motorcycles, Cradley Kawasaki, JPB Signs and Magnet Motos.
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