Personally, I’m a big fan of math that doesn’t add up. Tell me it’s impossible, that it’s going to be the worst thing ever, and I’ll sign up just to prove you wrong. It’s similar to Roosevelt’s general take on things, 'Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.' My guess is anyone who races a motorcycle, works on them, or finds themselves still riding after a few crashes and close calls can look in the mirror and admit to this character fault. And while I’m in no way comparing myself, or the rest of us at Alta, to Teddy, it’s the reason we found ourselves entering our electric motorcycle, the Redshift, in the California Flat Track Association's short track races prior to the AMA Pro Racing's final round of the 2016 season.
40 horsepower, and 250lbs (113kg) of technology lining up against 60bhp DTX bikes and framers that have been going fast sideways for decades was simple math for us: it was going to be a battle.
We tapped a local fast guy, in particular a rider who has been doing his best to impersonate the tall trees of the Norcal coast, Evan Anders. Evan is a carpenter by trade and lightning fast, with a laugh that puts the entire paddock at ease. In a lot of ways he reminds me of one of my road racing heroes, Ruben Xaus; always on the limit, always at the maximum.
Day One : In the first heat race, Evan had a nasty highside. There was our rider, face down in the dirt, and the bike on its side. He had winded himself, and me showing my total inexperience of working with him, I rushed out onto the track to pull the bike off the line and get him some help, figuring our boy was going to be down and out. While I was pushing the bike off the track, Evan got it together and suddenly appeared in front of me. 'Dude, let's go!' he shouted, laughing, I ran the bike back to him, got it powered up and Evan tore back to the starting line. After the restart Evan earned his stripes, finishing second on a slightly crooked Redshift and advanced into the evening’s main. The main was tough, with nearly every local fast guy involved. Evan crossed the line in 10th. With limited seat time and only a few sessions to dial the bike in, Evan went up against the odds and faired rather well.
Day Two : Overnight we rebuilt Evan’s A-bike, and he zip-tied his helmet back together after Friday’s crash. If the odds were not in our favour on Friday, then only the most diehard gambler would bet on us for Saturday night. Suddenly people came out of the woodwork for the race, and as riders arrived, we greeted GNC1 and GNC2 riders like Briar Bauman, Scott Baker and even Danny Eslick as they unloaded and prepared for practice. We doubled down on our set-up and accepted the role of the underdog. In our first heat race we narrowly missed transferring into the main, crossing the line in fifth in a race won by Andrew Luker. Evan did what he had to do, and made it through the Last Chance Qualifier to the main event. At this point Evan was as dialled in as a few hours of seat time was going to get him, and our goals for the main were to cross the finish line celebrate with a cold beer. That's exactly what we did, when everything was done and dusted, and Evan had finished 19th out of 28 riders in the field.
Can it get better? For sure. We’ve already done so much since September, including finishing fourth in the Lites Class Red Bull Straight Rhythm and closing out the EnduroCross series second in the points in the Vet Class. We’ve got more on tap for 2017, and it all starts in Salem, Oregon this February at the Pro Race in support of The One Moto Show. We’re putting Travis Newbold on the bike, and hopefully we see you out there.
Words: Jon Bekefy, Alta Motors
Photos: Xxxxx xxxx
Photos: Evan Hamilton & Jason Hansen