Bonus Blog. A Brammo Blog Breaking…story. Sorry couldn’t think of another B word that fit.

18 07 2013

This is the part where I went snooping and asking questions and Brammo gave me some information to get me to leave them alone.

A Brammo Blog Exclusive

BrammoBlog Ver. 2.0. Number 8.

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Ok, so if you follow Brammo on the Facebook you will get some tid-bits of information and some pretty photos. Like this one:

Eric Bostrom doing a sick wheelie on the Empulse RR at Thunderhill Speedway.

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Or this one:

A bunch of Brammo bikes getting ready to head to Laguna Seca for the Red Bull United States Grand Prix, featuring the MotoGP World Championship

http://www.mazdaraceway.com/red-bull-us-grand-prix

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Or you might find photos where Brammo is trying to be “Artsy” and come across this:

A pretty photo of the Team heading by Mt. Shasta on the way to Laguna Seca.

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And if you’re really sneaky you will follow Brammo on Twitter and find even more photos and information.

Like this:

What we see is a new rider cleaning Eric Bostrom’s bike…or at least pretending to for the camera. Is this a new rider?

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Still, one photo of a new rider all in Leathers at the Brammo paddock does not instantly make me think that rider is part of Brammo’s team of riders.  Brammo gets quite a few guest riders showing up to check out the bikes. Just last week Chip Yates leather-ed up and took a ride on the TTX as part of a story for Motor Trend Magazine:

 http://www.motortrend.com/.

But seeing Mr. Yates ride that Zebra and Neon Yellow Empulse TTX,  while doing a story on Brammo, didn’t make me think he was joining Brammo’s Team.

It did make me think Ms. 93 would be ticked off if he hurt her bike.

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I just thought this rider, all in leathers, was a friend of the Team. Pro Motorcycle racing is a fairly small group and they do tend to hang out and have fun together when not trying to beat each other on the track.

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Then I find this image:

photo(1)

Test rides are one thing, but few companies let test riders do wheelies on their hella expensive race bikes….

Instantly my “what’s going on here” senses went off. Either that or my vertigo has returned. Damn you wretched gravity and rapidly spinning World.

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After taking a moment to regain my balance, I continue my snooping around looking for clues. (Dan Brown has my permission to cast me in his next novel. Is the title: The book that didn’t sell and ended Dan Brown’s career because the main character was boring as hell, too long?)

Snooping didn’t take long as I quickly found that Adrian Stewart, Brammo’s Head of Marketing, has just that day “liked” Shane Turpin on the Facebook. Hmmmm…the plot, as they say, thickens. Not unlike my blood due to my skyrocketing cholesterol from too many breakfast burritos. Which might also explain my vertigo.

And finally I find this photographic evidence:

With this final clue I assume Brammo is adding a new racer to their stable. After all, you get your name on a windshield and you’re part of the team.

So we have a new Brammo rider for Laguan Seca:

Shane Turpin

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turpin

A well known and well liked rider. He is a Pro, especially at his home track at Miller Sport Park in Utah.

http://www.millermotorsportspark.com/

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Which raises the question: Will he be riding for Brammo this year at Laguna Seca AND at Miller? And maybe even more races? I don’t know any of that…yet 🙂

And when I bug Brammo enough about how my “master sleuthing” (Benedict Timothy Carlton Cumberbatch has nothing on me…except fame, fans and a really crazy long name) leads me to believe that there is a new Brammo rider being added, I get this short reply:

Shane Turpin
“Tornado Turpin # 14”
Brammo building the dream team…

Which is a bit much in marketing terms. I would have gone with a somewhat more nuanced approach, but I put it here for the readers.

Congrats to Brammo and to Shane. And I really hope I get to see him race at Miller this year. That would be cool.

http://shaneturpin.com/

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More to come…Gavin

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For more info on Brammo, please visit: www.brammo.com
For more images, photos, discussions and all around Brammo goodness: visit, lurk and maybe join: www.brammoforum.com

Bonus:

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Wait…if having your name on the windshield makes you part of the team….

rr tank turpin

I must be on the TEAM!!! Looks pretty authentic to me…

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Brammo Blog : A Good Day for Ducks. A GREAT day for Brammo.

23 08 2012

Blog 35: And a very fun day for me. A bit sad at the end, but all in all a very nice little trip.

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So Day 3 starts like the other days: Cold, wet and foggy. Every morning I tell myself to go buy some proper gloves (I had only brought my fingerless summer gloves) and every night I forget. Oh well.

So today started out as  “A Good Day for Ducks.”

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Ok, a good day for Canadian Geese…but basically the same thing.

“It gives you wings my feathery ass,” I heard one of them say.

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More early morning Tent Action. Everybody gathering around the Empulse.

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The weather stayed foggy and wet longer on Sunday than any of the other days. This added to the tension. As if there needed to be MORE tension. New rider, new bike, hiccups on both Friday and Saturday; you would think that would be tension enough. Brammo and the Electric Motorcycles were to race at 10:20, but that got scrubbed. Too wet. There was some concern that the race could even get canceled. But, thankfully, that did not happen.

There ended up being two options: 1) Race at 4:20pm after all the other races had finished; or 2) Race at 12:20. We were hoping for the 12:20 time slot as racing at the end of the day would be anticlimactic…most of the crowd would be leaving during the race. Luckily the 12:20 time slot stuck. It seems that the track has a “quiet time” when there are no bikes allowed to race. Something to do with a quiet lunch time? Well it was decided that the Electric Motorcycles are quiet enough to actually have practice time and even race during this “quiet time.” Sweet. Another bonus of electric drive.

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With the delay, the Brammo crew got to spend a little extra time talking to fans before the race.

I was surprised just how much access the fan got to the riders and crew. Paddock Pass for the win.

(A side note. On Saturday I spent about 20 minutes talking to Rebecca, Eric’s fiance. Crazy-nice young woman. So on Sunday when I went over to the Paddock and saw her again I said “Hi” and handed her one of the Brammo brochures of Eric Bostrom. She was, “Oh, sure, I can get Eric to sign that for you.” Me, “Oh everybody gets Eric’s autograph. I was hoping you would sign it.” Sadly, no such luck as she said her handwriting is horrid. Hello, I have the signature of a 3 year old….a 3 year old after drinking 4 Red Bulls.** Maybe next time.)

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Turn 2. Andretti Hairpin.

The sun came out and it ended up being a beautiful day for racing.

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Sitting on the hill by turn 2 with BrammoJenn and BrammoDavid.

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Hill is where we were sitting to view the race. Brammo Tent is the Brammo Tent…duh.

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Just a few bikes. Even more parked on the Paddock side of the track.

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Pre Start. View of hairpin and cars on the hill, bikes on the lot…etc.

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And the race starts…Sorry the images are small…iPhone.

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One warm up lap and the real racing begins.

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Start of race…Barnes, Bostrom and Atlas.

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Ha, I love this as it shows my ADD. Gavin is filming the race a bit. He start to pan over to see the bikes head up the hill…”Oh, birds”… opps, back to racers. Gawd I had the attention span of a gnat on Red Bull**.

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Barnes on the Lightning bike leads at the start, with Eric Bostrom in second. Brammo photo. I was not that close 🙂

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Lean. Brammo Photo.

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At the start Eric is second, Steve Atlas in third. A good start for Team IconBrammo. Brammo photo.

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We got a bit of a scare. Seems that A) the announcers can’t actually see the whole track, so they mostly do their “play by play” from watching the bike transponders signal on a computer screen. B) The bike transponders weren’t working well.  Sooooo, a few times the announcer is “Eric Bostrom is out of the race…nope, sorry, he is in second place.” It was crazy. I like BrammoJenn’s commentary of  “Go ahead and scare the crap out of me.” Exactly.

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SteveO making a run at Barnes. Would it be enough? That Lightning bike is FAST…but part of Brammo’s stratagy was to keep close and catch Barnes at the end. Brammo felt they had the better battery with more energy at the end than the Lightning bikes.

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Steve Atlas pulls ahead of Eric Bostrom. Now Barnes 1st, Atlas 2nd, Bostrom 3rd.

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And that was the finishing order. Barnes, Atlas, Bostrom. Brammo takes 2nd and 3rd. A very good day for Team IconBrammo.

Both bikes finish. Both riders on the Podium. Cue the Champagne.

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I’m not good with play by play, but I can say a few things.

1) Steve Atlas drove his ass off. A great ride by him. Aggressive and strong. Great Job! “Lots of new parts” didn’t keep him from riding fast and hard.

2) Eric Bostrom was riding great and seemed very fast…but his bike visibly slowed down at one point. Some of the Brammo crew thought he was holding back for the end, but I didn’t think so. The bike just lost a bit of speed.

It was only the second time he had ridden the bike, so he and Brammo will improve. It was still a very strong ride. I talked to Eric a bit after the race. He took the blame, which is crazy, and told me that he was coming up over the hill and saw Barnes ahead and thought he could grab back a second all at one time and just pushed the bike too much and felt her “glitch”. There is a patience to motorcycle driving and he felt he had tried too hard. But that is part of the sport and also part of the learning. He will be a great rider for Brammo.

3) The Lightning bike is fast, and Barnes is an amazing rider. But the gap is closing. SteveO came in second by less than 3 seconds. Eric, without the glitch, would have been right there too. Fun times ahead.

4) The racing is eerily quiet. Especially after hearing those crazy MotoGP bikes.

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Paddock Photos. Congrats Steve Atlas. And Team IconBrammo.

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Paddock Photo. Congrats to Team IconBrammo’s newest rider, Eric Bostrom.

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I didn’t get to the Paddock for the above photos…so mine is a bit more lonely.

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Eric Bostrom post race.

SUPER nice guy. I met him on Friday and asked if I could get a photo of him and the bike. He was busy, but told me he would get back to me in a bit. But then he went one way, I went another. On Saturday he came up to me and said, “Gavin, sorry I never got around to taking that photo for you.” I couldn’t believe he remembered my name, let alone remembered about a silly photo op. We didn’t do it Saturday either, but we did get to it on Sunday. Thanks Eric. 🙂 Still sorry about blinding you on Saturday.

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So the racing was done for Brammo and the Electric Motorcycles. Congrats to all the teams, all the riders. After that it was back to the Marketing Tent. But even that was a bit slow as the finals of the MotoGP was coming up and EVERYBODY was watching that. I spent some time at the Paddock, some time watching LOUD motorcycles and some time in Marketing. But it all seems like everything and everybody was now relaxing.

Shelina did come over to the Marketing Tent to try out the new Empulse TTX. And she always draws a crowd. So that was a nice addition to the end of the last day.

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Adrian and Shelina. Shelina smiling is a given…Adrian, not so much 🙂

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Glasses and Shirt match the TTX livery. Nice job.

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End of last day. All races done. Everybody leaving and still Shelina and the TTX bring a crowd.

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Shelina running the gears for the crowd.

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Brian bring the Empulse TTX back into the tent and spinning the wheel on the astrocarpet.

I was trying to get some video of the Empulse in motion as I did have one person come up to me and have a longish conversion about the bike. He mentioned that he still hasn’t seen the Empulse being driven and until then….well he had/has doubts….and we will leave it at that. Sadly I couldn’t get my phone on fast enough. Next time I will direct him to the Hell for Leather review or let him know where James is doing Demo rides. I will just say, “Good luck and I hope for much success to you. The market needs both Brammo and Zero to succeed.”

I did also talk to a Zero employee for a bit. He agreed. If the market is so small that only one company can survive, well that doesn’t bode well for even that one company in the long term. And he liked the Empulse. 🙂

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So then it was the end of the last day. Truck loaded, tent empty. Time for the Goodbyes.

Adrian had two comments at the end that I remember.

1) “So Gavin, is there anything promised that wasn’t delivered?” Interesting, possibly loaded, question. Hmmm, let’s see…did Brammo promise me a Plus at SECA? Nope. An Empulse at SECA? Nope. So I replied, “No. Thanks, I had a great time.” Admittedly I was hoping for a surprise…but was also pretty sure I was waiting a bit longer to upgrade the Legacy Enertia loaner bike.

2) Adrian, “Well Ok. Thanks so much for all the work you did. I thought you would spend the whole weekend in the Hospitality Suite, so it was nice that you worked so hard.” Me, “Wait….that was an option???”

Truthfully I wouldn’t have had nearly as much fun if I spent the whole time in the Hospitality Suite. That said, I would have spent more than 4 minutes there…which is how long I was there over the whole 3 days.

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Adrian, Adam, David, Sarah and Me.

Special thanks to my 17 Mile Drive and Marketing tent buddies. BrammoDavid, BrammoJenn, Adam, Adrian, Sarah and James. Thanks for putting up with me. And thanks for letting me hang out and play Brammo Employee for a few days. Fun, Hard and Interesting. Kinda like Physics or…well Physics is the only thing that is Fun, Hard and Interesting.

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Till Next Time…

Gavin

For more info on Brammo, please visit: www.brammo.com
For more images, photos, discussions and all around Brammo goodness: visit, lurk and maybe join: www.brammoforum.com

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**Damn marketing…I don’t even like Red Bull and now I’ve mentioned them half a dozen times.





Brammo Blog : Saturday: Laguna Seca, Day 2.

20 08 2012

Blog 34: I play salesman again. I play “Solar Reflector” again. And I get into the Pit for some qualifying racing.

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Ok, Saturday was hella fun. Hella busy. Hella tiring. Just a Lotta Hella Everything.

Before I get into the day I have to “right a wrong.” I met a number of people on Friday and didn’t mention them. I met the race crew and they were all very nice to me (when not running around like crazy). Greg is great, and designed a beautiful bike with the TTX.  Brian’s dad is a wonderful man. And I liked how I would be introduced and a few seconds later you see the light go on and they say, “Oh, you’re that Gavin.” I’m not sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing…and didn’t ask as I was afraid of the answer.

And I met Charles Hennekam of FIM. A nice, very outgoing gentleman. And, not surprisingly, very busy and much in demand at Laguna Seca.

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And Rupal Patel, director of TTXGP. She just might be the sweetest person I had ever met. We had a nice long conversation in the Paddock on Friday. On Saturday I saw her again and walked up and gave her a hug. I’m not sure I was supposed to do that, but she is just so nice you have to greet her with more enthusiasm than normal.

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I think both were so pleased that everything was done (all the HARD work of setting up the race was finished) and that they could spend time talking and meeting people and being “fans” just like everybody else at Laguna Seca.

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But Saturday was mostly about Qualifying. And trying to get a Pit Pass was the first task I hoped to accomplish. That is after helping out in the Marketing tent all morning of course. I gotta dance for my supper after all.

Nobody from Brammo had an extra Pit Pass, and both myself and Peter Anton (Director Digital Media & Marketing at Brammo) were on the lookout for a way to get into the Pit.

Since this was an FIM race, with the TTXGP racers invited to make it a combined race, I was told to ask Charles Hennekam, the director of FIM. I had met him a couple of times over the last 2 days, but only fleetingly as he was very busy. I lucked out when I saw him come into the Brammo Marketing tent. Instead of having to look through the thousands of people to find him, he instead came right to me. My My My Said the Spider to the Fly ** 🙂 Well he didn’t come to see me, but to check out the Brammo TTX. Still it was my chance and I got in line to talk to him. He spent about 15 minutes talking to 3 gentlemen and when they finally left I walked up and said, “Hello. Do you remember me? I was the one helping your photographer take photos of the Empulse RR yesterday. I was told you are the man to see about getting a Pit Pass for the Electric Motorcycle qualifying race today.” Charles, “I very sorry but I just gave the last three pit passes to those men from BRD motorcycles, and we have to keep the number of people in the pits down for safety reasons.”

Dang it. I really can’t begrudge giving passes to the BRD people…they make electric motorcycles after all. Still….grrrrrrr. So close.

But this is where Adrian came into play. “Gavin, just tag along. We will be taking photos of the bikes and the girls after the qualifying run, so grab the reflector and just keep walking when we get to the pits.” So I grabbed one reflector and Peter Anton grabbed the other and we just followed the Umbrella Girls and the Photographer straight into the Pit and nobody questioned us in the least. Sweet.

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One of the two Lightning bikes being pushed into the Pit.

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The two Schott Solar bikes.

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A third Brammo bike? Nope, but it is running a Brammo battery, hence the Brammo logo.

Ely Schless’ bike for ProtoMoto

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Pre-Race.

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SteveO chilling pre-race. He seemed in good spirits and ready to go.

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Aaron, SteveO and Peter Anton.

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I ended up with 3 jobs on Pit Row.

1) Lightning was having an issue with a part on one of their bikes. Brammo was nice enough to loan them a few tools and give them a couple of plastic tie-downs. Aaron (Manager, Mechanical Engineering)  gave me the job of making sure ALL of the tools made it back to Brammo’s tool bag. I like the fact that the every expensive Lightning bike was able to race because of a couple of 10 cent plastic tie-downs and a number 4 Allen wrench. Crazy.

All the tools were returned. And I was given job number….

2) I was asked to keep track of SteveO’s lap times. Actually the conversation went something like this: “Gavin, do you have a way to keep close track of time?” Me, “I have my iPhone with a stopwatch on it.” “Great. You’re in charge of keeping track of Steve’s times. Just keep hitting LAP with each time he goes by the same spot in front of you.”

It was a shorter job than I expected. After the first lap I was asked, “What was Steve’s time?” Me, “1:41, plus or minus a half second.” Slight laughing, “1:41 is fine, we’re not worried about half a second here in qualifying on the first lap.”

But SteveO’s bike developed a glitch and he didn’t finish any more laps. I was probably the first to realize there was a problem as I was the one watching the timer and noticing it going longer and longer without SteveO coming by. Luckily his time on that one lap was enough to get him into the final race on Sunday.

My last job in the Pits:

3) Sun reflector dude, again. More on that later….

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Warming the tires with a Brammo battery module.

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Brian watching over Eric’s bike.

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Eric getting mentally set.

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Steve Atlas and Eric Bostrom taking off from the Pit for the start of Qualifying.

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Eric “chatting” while getting a quick suspension adjustment.

It is the nature of the beast in racing, but it is interesting that a glitch kept Eric from getting practice in on Friday, and then a separate glitch kept SteveO from getting more than one lap in on Saturday. What will be in store for Sunday?

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Spinning the tires after an adjustment to Eric’s Empulse RR

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Eric explaining the proper way to fillet a fresh piece of Salmon. Or maybe something about the ride of the bike…but I’m leaning toward fillet.

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Virginia Tech ran their bike out onto the track with about 30 seconds of racing left. Not enough time to run the needed lap to qualify for Sunday’s final.  Since they did raced on Sunday, I gather once you are on track you get to finish your lap. It was great to see them make it…by the skin of their teeth. It was close.

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After the Qualifying, Michael Barnes of Lightning and Eric Bostrom of IconBrammo get together to talk. Michael had the fastest qualifying time. Eric had the second fastest. I really liked how they both just wanted to chat a bit after racing. No crazy competition. Just friendly talk.

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Eric helping move the Empulse RR for the post Qualifying photo shoot.

Not many photos of Steve Atlas. After his bike glitch he was either off with the bike or out of the Pit area. I may have to go to Daytona just to get to talk to SteveO a bit more.

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This photo is from my iPhone as I held the Sun Reflector. I was, not intentionally, driving Eric crazy with the sun in his eyes. I kept apologizing, “Sorry, just doing my job.” He is a really really nice guy…but still I thought he might come over and hit me after the photos. The women had shades, Eric didn’t and it was kinda torture for him. I think his exact quote was, “You couldn’t possibly get the sun more into my eyes if you tried.”

So….Sorry again, E-Boz.

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The Official Brammo photo.

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Shelina’s turn to be blinded by me.

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And Official Brammo photo.

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So Qualifying was over. Photo shoot was over. Time to close up the marketing tent and head to dinner. Dinner was planned for the Cannery Road Brewing Company in downtown Monterey…and I wasn’t going to miss that. There was a large group of Brammo employees (and me), so they put us downstairs in a large room. Slightly sad…the crazy fun was upstairs. Still: good food, good beer and good company. So that was nice.

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Paul, who works on battery tech for Brammo and is in the “famous” Enertia Dyno video, sat on one side of me, Adrian on the other. I have to apologize to Paul. I only talked to him a little bit. My brain was mostly fried from the long day. I really wanted to ask tons of questions about the batteries. Where is the tech right now, where will Brammo be going with the batteries in the near future. But of course I thought of all that the next morning. Next time Paul.

I did like that Brammo also invited the Brammo Girls. Adrian seems very protective of them and watches out for them. It is sweet. And they seemed to have fun. And a free meal is always nice. 🙂  Plus Samuel was hungry…inside joke.

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Instagram photo from Brammo Twitter.

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Let’s see…Steve Atlas was there and spent most of the time talking with Peter Anton. Brian’s Dad was there and I got to briefly meet Brian’s Mom. Eric Bostrom showed up with his fiance, Rebecca, who is as lovely as she is nice. Those two make such a wonderful couple.

I can’t for the life of me remember what I ate, but I had a red ale that was tasty.

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After dinner I had to head back to the Brammo house to get “my” loaner Enertia so I could ride the 24 miles back to Salinas. Most of the Brammo race crew did not go out to dinner. Lots of work and much to review after any racing. Brian, Greg, Aaron and a few others were at the house when I got there. I tend to watch and observe people a bit…maybe too much at times. But I do like to “study” people. It is the “failed” writer in me.

Greg is great. Very friendly. Smart, lots of information, willing to share.

Aaron is nice, but a bit reserved. At least around me. I don’t have any problem with that. I am a stranger….and we all know about Stranger Danger…

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Quite possibly the most disturbing video ever made.

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Brian is “interesting.” I think we talked twice…maybe three sentences from him to me. You can tell he is crazy smart, very focused. A bit intimidating. And he seems a bit wary around strangers. Sort of, “what do they want, what do they bring to the table, how long will they be around, can I trust and rely on them.” But maybe I read too much into it.

I was at the Brammo house late Saturday night and getting ready to leave, just talking a bit about the Enertia and the type of riding I was doing and how it was a loaner from Brammo. I didn’t even know Brian was listening, but then he said from across the room, not even looking up from his laptop, “I guess we need to get you a Plus.” Me, a bit startled, “That would be nice.” It was the first time Brian had joined in on a conversation with me.

Of the crew, Greg could be your friend in a day. Aaron would take a couple of weeks. Brian? It could take a year of more.*** But enough of all that….This isn’t Dear Abby. 🙂

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Till Next Time…The Final Day at Laguna Seca. Coming Wednesday.

Gavin

For more info on Brammo, please visit: www.brammo.com
For more images, photos, discussions and all around Brammo goodness: visit, lurk and maybe join: www.brammoforum.com

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Bonus

I met Eric’s lovely fiancé, Rebecca on Saturday. Super nice. Super sweet. I told Eric, “Rebecca’s gonna love those photos.” Eric, “I’m hoping my over the top expression will save me.” Or he might have said, “my goofy expression”…one of the two.

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And I have no idea what was happening here. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a “Stevie Wonder drives like this” comment.

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***I’m not dissing Brian at all here. I’m an old comic book guy, so I’ll explain it this way. Think of Brian as Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. Now he’s in the lab concentrating on some quantum anomaly and I’m a delivery guy bringing Chinese food and girly magazines for Johnny Storm. I’m ringing the doorbell and Mr Fantastic may very well stretch his arm out 30 feet to open the door and give me a tip and grab the food and magazines and put them on the table across the room….all without looking away from his computer and all without really even noticing the delivery man/me at all. So an hour later the Human Torch comes in and says,”Hey, my Chinese food is cold. And the moo goo gai pan has leaked all over my magazines! Why didn’t you tell me the delivery guy was here?” Reed Richards/Brian, “The delivery guy was here? I didn’t notice.” Nuff Said.





Brammo Blog : Laguna Seca, Day 1. Open to the Public.

14 08 2012

Blog 31:  The day I got to see the Brammo Empulse in person. She is quite pretty. Oh and tons of people and Brammo Girls too.

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A very lovely Track.

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So this was the first “real” day at Laguna Seca. Friday. The first day for people other than staff, vendors and various hanger-oners like myself.

I got up early, froze on my ride to the track and arrived at 7:30am. Layers, Layers, Layers is the key (I belatedly learned). 50 degrees and wet and cloudy in the AM, sunny and HOT in the afternoon, cold again at night.

I had a parking pass for “Exhibitors” parking, which is a fair bit away from the Marketing Tent and did not have a place to charge the motorcycle. So when the parking people would check my pass and point me toward the road to Exhibitors parking I would say, “Electric Motorcycle. It is being shown in the Brammo Tent,” and that would allow me to go just about anywhere. Super cool.

When I arrived, nobody from Brammo was there yet. So I opened up the Tent, did a bunch of vacuuming and cleaned up the bikes a bit. In the night the 3-D sign had fallen (the plastic tabs on top were not strong enough to hold the weight), so I knew that would be a project to get done before the crowds arrived.

I also plugged in my iPad to have some music playing through the speaker system and turned on the TVs running the Brammo videos. Probably because no other tent was open and LOUD, I ended up with a few people coming by the tent and asking questions. One was a photographer and reporter, and after about 10 minutes of talking to him I said, “I have a confession to make. I don’t really work for Brammo, I’m just a fan helping out.” “Really? You’re wearing a Brammo shirt.” “Yes I am.” “You’re alone here in their tent.” “Guility as charged.”  “You have the music playing and are greeting people as you vacuum. Are you really not an employee?” He was nice and we kinda laughed about it. But from time to time I did feel like I was trying to fool people.

After about a half hour of vacuuming and polishing bikes, Adrian and the crew arrived. Time to get busy. We devised a plan to fix the sign and that became my morning project. Went pretty quick. Looked great. And then on to the next chore.

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Instead of the tabs, I just put holes right through the sign itself. And yes, I’m proud of that sign…well mostly just happy I didn’t screw it up  too badly.

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Around 9am the Brammo Girls arrived. And it was an interesting affect…

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Friday: Day 1. A slow start to what is usually the slowest of the 3 days.

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The Lovely, and very nice, Brammo Girls (Ladies? Women?)

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What surprised me was, well I had never been to a race like this, and truthfully, being raised by a single, feminist mother, well I was never sure how I felt about the young women that Brammo took to certain races and shows. It didn’t seem like a “bad” thing, just a bit dated…and probably mildly sexist. Not a horrid thing, but is it really needed?

Well the answer, especially for a small, little known start-up company, is probably “Yes”. The reaction was incredible. Within 2 minutes of the BGs showing up there were already people coming over with cameras to have their photos taken. Girlfriends and wives taking photos of their boyfriends and husbands with their arms around very pretty young ladies in short shirts. It really did get the tent noticed and a lot of people coming over. It is, quite frankly, a great little marketing ploy for this crowd. The guys loved it. Their wives and girlfriends seem to enjoy it too. And the BGs were extremely professional. There didn’t seem to be a downside to it. Everybody was happy and the young ladies were making a fair salary. So I pushed aside any judgmental thoughts.** Plus, as I said, the young women were all just really nice, smart people who seemed to enjoy the work and were very good at it.

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First guy to step up and get a photo.

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It didn’t hurt that the young ladies were all very pleasant and great with the crowd. And truthfully the Brammo outfits were easily the nicest and least “trashy” of all the groups of “umbrella” girls. We won’t even discuss the Jägermeister outfits. Gah, I thought they were filming a scene from Breaking Bad and the extras from the Meth House scene had shown up at the race. But enough about that…

As more and more people came to the “Tent” I found myself basically going through a sales pitch. Info on the bikes, on the company, on Electric motorcycles in general and about the electric race coming up that weekend. I’m not a shy person, but have NEVER worked in sales. While it didn’t come naturally, I did get somewhat OK at it and had some fun. I think being a “FAN” helped as my enthusiasm was hard to hide.

Truthfully I likely sucked at it, but most people would shake my hand and ask my name before running off in abject terror. “Gavin. Honey, remember that name as it will likely be in the news soon for something horrible.”

I did listen to the other Brammo employees as much as possible. You can learn quite a bit by listening…I should do it more often 🙂 Sadly it is not a “strength” of mine.

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At noon I headed over to the Paddock area. The electric bikes had a 1:30pm practice time and I wanted to see the motorcycles, but:

1) Brammo was running late. No bikes yet.

2) The Paddock area was FAR from the marketing tent. This would be felt later in the day when the adrenaline worn off. The “dogs” were hurting that night. Hours on my feet in the Marketing tent, miles walked between Paddock and Marketing tent and looking about Laguna Seca on my “short” breaks had turned my feet into numb, swollen useless clumps of flesh that not even KFC would fry up and serve…well maybe KFC would.

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I walked this path many many many times….

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I got to the Paddock area and there was a nice big area set up for Brammo…but no truck, no bikes. And practice time is just over an hour away. Tension.

While waiting I walked around to see what other electric bikes were there:

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Lightning without tires.

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Schott Solar

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Virginia Tech Bike

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Luckily for me the new Brammo Truck showed up just minutes after I was done walking around the Paddock. I got to see the arrival and, more importantly, the mass confusion of trying to get the truck unloaded and bikes and everything set up and ready to go with very little room for error. Practice Time was fast approaching. And Practice Time was only a half hour long.

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Quickly it was bodies and bikes everywhere.

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And it didn’t take long to realize Brammo would be racing two bikes instead of one…

Surprisingly, neither bike sports the #1, which Brammo earned by winning the TTXGP last year.

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SteveO’s bike….Naked.

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Eric’s bike Naked.

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The Empulse RR clothes strewn on the ground…Like the morning after some sort of Carbon Fiber frat party.

I moved the pieces (hella carefully) and they are sooooo light.

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And then a surprise 3rd bike comes out of the truck…a race version of the Production Empulse R.

The Empulse TTX…and it is sporting the #1. And my oh my is she pretty.

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Some old loser standing next to the TTX blocking the view.

(For size comparison. 6 foot. 185 pounds.)

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Now the Paddock was fun as it had MAD ENERGY. Not angry energy, just bustling with a kinda dangerous feeling…like that wasp hive you kept poking with a stick when you were 8. I tried to help where I could, kept out of the way as best as I could, and listen to as much as I could. I especially liked when SteveO came over to look at the bikes. Looking closely he quietly commented, “Lots of new parts.”

And I could tell he was not angry, but a bit wary. A cautious tone in his voice. And I can understand his point. It is the constant battle between engineer/designer and rider. The engineer always wants to push and push the bike and it’s parts. The riders does too, but to a lesser extent. The rider wants to know how the bike will ride, how it will handle, how it will feel and react. And every change messes with that. And if the rider gets many many days and hours on the bike, well changes are ok. But if the rider only sees the bike every so often, and every time the bike is changed, well it causes the rider to say things like, “Lots of new parts,” in a cautious tone.

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The other fun thing was I got to be a sun reflector guy for the photographers. And yes I took off my Brammo Polo shirt. I would do that from time to time till Adrian yelled at me to put it back on. I felt a bit like an impostor in that shirt as everyone thought I worked for Brammo. Even a few Brammo employees asked me what I did at Brammo. Brammo is growing and growing and the employees don’t even know all of the people now on payroll.

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Steve Atlas’ Empulse RR all lit up by yours truly

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Dr. Brian von Frankenstein and his creation.

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After the paddock madness (SteveO got a few laps in…but Eric’s bike had a glitch and wasn’t ready in time to do the practice laps. Eric’s “practice” laps would have to be at Qualifying on Saturday), I went back over to the Marketing Tent to continue my sales work. Ok, I went back mostly to hang out with the Empulse TTX that was moved from the Paddock over to the center of the Marketing tent.

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And the lucky guy that gets to ride around to the dealerships and show off the bike and give demo rides, James. He knows a ton about the bike and had put about 700 miles on the bike before it got stripped down into racing form (new colors, no turn signals, no back light).

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And the TTX was a big hit with the race fans. Clutch, 6 speed, fast…It is a “real” motorcycle with solid parts and performance. She is really really well built and kinda sexy.

And the rest of the day was basically showing off all the bikes and answering a billion questions. And at the end of the day I rode back to my motel in Salinas. The Brammo people again very graciously invited me out to dinner, but I thought it would be good for them to get a break from me. I am best “appreciated” in small doses. Plus they were going for Mexican food. I live in New Mexico and know that good Mexican food is great…but bad Mexican food is horrid. I wasn’t taking that chance 🙂  From reports the next day, I made the right choice.

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I wish I had talked to Steve Atlas a bit more, but he seemed a bit preoccupied, which is totally understandable. So I gave him some space. I did tell him I liked his new Icon Carbon helmet. He told me I could have it after the season***. I told him “Wow, Thanks!” Even though I know: A) He likely wouldn’t remember…and B) It likely wouldn’t fit my big Irish head. But it was nice for him to offer like that. I also told him that he should title his next Brammo Blog “Lots of new parts”. He smiled a bit at that.

I only talked to Eric Bostrom, Brammo’s newest rider, a bit on Friday. He seemed like a very nice young man. More on that in the next blog as I talked to him more on Saturday and Sunday.

Till Next Time…

Gavin

For more info on Brammo, please visit: www.brammo.com
For more images, photos, discussions and all around Brammo goodness: visit, lurk and maybe join: www.brammoforum.com
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**Judgmental aspect wasn’t about the young women, but more the people who wanted to come up and be photographed with them. I had a, mostly, change of heart about that. As I said, the women were great. And the people coming up were also nice and having a good time. At one point BrammoJenn and I talked a bit about the people that come up. She said there are 3 types. 1) The guy who puts both arms around the girls and pulls them in close…these you have to watch as they can get grabby. 2) The guys who put their arms out and “around” the girls, but never actually touch them. 3) The guys who keep there arms down at their sides or behind them. There is the 4th type who won’t go up to the girls, but will pretend to be casually walking past while “slyly” taking a photo as they walk by.  The cutest interaction I saw was when a boy about 10 or 11 was getting his photo taken with the BGs and a couple of his friends were watching. He asked something of one of the young ladies and just as the photo was being taken she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. He was grinning from ear to ear as he walked back saying, “I told you I would ask her to….” It was adorable. Me? Brammofan told me I had to have my photo taken with the “girls”. I admit to being hesitant, just not my thing. But then again I thought why not. Of course I hate all photos of myself, so here I am with the BrammoGirls…slightly modified.

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I thought I would be a type 3, but I guess I am a type 2…arms out, no touching.

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***SteveO asked me what I liked about the ICON helmet. I told him I liked the Carbon Fiber and that the graphics are really top notch. A good looking helmet. I asked SteveO why he would give away such a nice helmet. He told me he is a Shoei guy and likes their helmets best. Hard to argue, Shoei helmets fit my head best too. Of course I’m vain enough to let wear a less comfortable helmet just because I like the way it looks.

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Bonus strangeness…

Ha…I am in the July Fit Magazine from the Albuquerque Journal. Crazy.

http://www.abqjournalfit.com/blog/2012/07/07/allout-interval-training-gets-maximum-results/

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I’m 50…and I can Kick and Punch…

I’m in the white shirt, over the Instructors right shoulder.

I need a tan.

And yes the class is 90% women…I am no fool.

Well I am actually quite the fool, but not about that…my wife also goes to that class 🙂





Brammo Blog: Bone Weary, But Home At Last.

31 07 2012

Blog 26: A short discussion on the Brammo Empulse TTX…and then off to bed.

Tuesday to the following Tuesday. 2223 miles on the pick-up truck. About 150 miles on the Enertia. Over 100 of those at either 7 am and in 52 degree cold, damp and foggy weather, or at 11pm in cold and damp and foggy weather. So I plan to hit my bed hard soon.

But first:

1. I have many photos, many videos and many many stories to tell. They will trickle out over the next couple of weeks.

2. I didn’t plan to write a blog this evening, but I wanted to discuss one aspect of this weekend…the Empulse TTX. Not everything about the TTX, but an important detail.

3. I am a fan, and maybe also a friend, of Brammo. I was invited out to Laguna Seca by Brammo. I am not an employee of Brammo. I am not paid by Brammo. I do not know any secret plans of Brammo.  But I do have a semi-close relationship with Brammo…if one can have a close relationship with a company…maybe one can as “Corporations are People” 🙂

Still I am a fairly observant person…and I watch a lot.

So…I have been reading a lot on-line about the TTX and the how it relates to Brammo Racing and the TTXGP eSuperSport class. A nice article here:

http://www.empulsebuyer.com/?p=879

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And I wanted to maybe clarify a detail or two. Again, I don’t know Brammo’s plans. Perhaps Brammo themselves are not set on exactly what, when and where they will proceed further in racing. After all they did just add a second rider in Eric Bostrom at Seca. That said:

1. Brammo had a production Empulse and took off a few bits (turn signals, tail light and bracket) and changed out the stock color for the race colors (still in light-weight carbon fiber).

She was a production Empulse R just a week before Laguna Seca.

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Close Up.

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A nice little video with James, the new Empulse Touring guy, going through the gears. He is going to do great as he loves this bike…and put about 700 miles on it before it got the TTX trim (so yes it is a ready to go, fully functional bike).

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2. Brammo then put a name on the bike:

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3. And they just happen to have a rider with that name 🙂

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4. Who happen to try out the bike:

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5. And then stuck around to talk about the bike:

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What we know: Brammo has a production bike in race dress that fits the TTXGP eSuperSport category. Brammo has a rider for that bike.  And Brammo has a race team that can support that bike and rider. Which leaves us with actual production and sales.

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So lets look at those TTXGP eSuperSport rules:

http://www.new.egrandprix.com/news.php?id=275

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Here is the important bit:

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I was a bit surprised when I re-read the rules. I was wondering about the Empulse TTX. It seemed ready to go. Rider, bike and Team. Would it race sooner than we thought? So I went to the TTXGP site…

25 units available for sale. Not sold. Not on the road. Brammo can have 25 units in their showroom in Ashland and race at Miller.

Will they? I don’t know. But they say they are in production now. I imagine they will be working long long hours to get 25 bike built between now and the end of August. I do know the hurdle is just a bit lower than I previously thought. And I think Brammo will race 3 riders at Miller if they can.

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Till Next Time…bed calls with it’s siren song….

Gavin

For more info on Brammo, please visit: www.brammo.com
For more images, photos, discussions and all around Brammo goodness: visit, lurk and maybe join: www.brammoforum.com

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bonus…I tear up the tent with my speed 🙂