September 28th, 2020 by Jesper Berggreen
In the summer of 2018 I met the small Danish drag race team who call themselves True Cousins at Mantorp Race Park, Sweden. The Cousins are Hans-Henrik Thomsen and Glenn Ellegaard Nielsen, and at that event their electric doorslammer drag racer TC-X nailed the 1/4 mile electric world record at 7.98 seconds. Their electric drag bike Silver Bullitt did not meet their goals at the time and had to suffice with a 7.78 second 1/4 mile time.
But this year, their new Silver Lightning has claimed the throne as the fastest electric drag bike ever, beating the previous record at 6.94 seconds set in 2012 by Larry “Spiderman” McBride.
Hans-Henrik Thomsen tells the story to Ingeniøren that I will translate excerpts from:
Danish electric motorcycle is now the fastest of all electric vehicles in the world
The Danish drag racing team, True Cousins, and their electric motorcycle Silver Lightning, have just returned home after a both nerve-wracking but also extremely successful effort at the English Santa Pod Raceway during the event “NOT The Euro Finals.”
In the 3rd last attempt (out of 9 possible) they managed to beat the 8-year-old record over 1/4-mile (402 m) for electric vehicles, which stood at 6.94 seconds. The driver was, as always, Hans-Henrik Thomsen, while it is Glenn E. Nielsen who has built the speed monster on lithium batteries, Silver Lightning.
But there was not much to hope that it would turn into a record after the first 6 attempts on Friday and Saturday. The best time up to that point was 7.15 seconds, and the characteristics of the track were very different from the tracks that the team is used to racing in Sweden. The phenomenon of “tire shake” (the rear wheel deforms and jumps) pushed the Silver Lightning too far to the side of the track while there were violent tremors the first 200 meters down the track — both these issues were an obstacle to clocking a good run.
Eventually the problems got sorted out and the first race on Sunday resulted in a new preliminary world record of 6.87 seconds and 307 km/h (191 mph) crossing the line! Silver Lightning steered better and tire shakes were reduced so much that the record run could be completed without drama. The British audience (“only” about 5,000 due to Corona restrictions) had already proved to be excellent and they were elated — especially after seeing 6 futile attempts in a row — when the record was finally realized.
Incidentally, the 1/8 mile at 201 meters was unofficially also the best in the world at 4.37 seconds and 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) was at approx. 0.9 seconds during the first 18 meters (60 feet time of 1.08 seconds).
After a failed attempt afterwards with increased power, which only turned into wheel spin due to too much power, too high tire pressure, and lack of grip, it was time for the very last attempt. With one last hope of an improvement, the power was dialed down a bit again and the tire pressure was lowered to 9 psi. After an excellent start with approximately 80 meters on the rear wheel, Hans-Henrik accidentally slipped a bit on the throttle with his glove due to the violent vibrations, resulting in a period of 1.5 seconds at 20% short of full power. But still the record was improved quite a bit to 6.86 and a nice 314 km/h (195 mph). Data logs subsequently showed that the time probability could have been around 6.7 seconds, but that remains to be seen in the coming season.
All in all, an excellent result, which again shows that with innovation, technical ingenuity and a great deal of perseverance, these stubborn Danes can assert themselves in the world in many different ways. True Cousins started 12 years ago with the first small motorcycle with two 12 volt lead acid batteries and an output of 12 kW — Silver Lightning is approximately 100 times more powerful with its 1.2 MW (1,200 kW) peak output battery pack.
In 7 weeks (over 2 events) the team has improved their fastest time by almost a second from 7.80 to 6.86 seconds, which in itself is quite an achievement. And now this bike is the fastest running on electricity in this part of the universe. Still, 1.36 seconds remains down to the fastest bikes with internal combustion engines — Top Fuel Bikes — that holds the record at 5.50 seconds. But time will tell how low you can go …
Hans-Henrik Thomsen in the original article: “We have the rights to both videos and the attached images, and all this material can be used as you wish.”
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