The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) is one of the world’s iconic races. Along with the Isle of Man TT, the Erzberg Rodeo and a handful of others, it has attained an almost mythical status among racers and fans of two- and four-wheeled motorsport.
Held in the Colorado Rockies, since 1916, the course is 12.42 miles (20km) and made up of 156 turns, with a finish line at 14,115ft (4302m), that’s only 500m less than the summit of Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Europe. It’s a time trial, each rider tackling the extremely treacherous course alone, trying to get close to Carlin Dunne’s motorcycle course record of 9:52:819, set on a Ducati Multistrada 1200S. To get anywhere close to that virtually every turn is attacked with a knee on the tarmac. The consequences of even a small mistake are catastrophic.
Pikes Peak is also one of the very few motorcycle races that allows true prototype machinery to compete. That’s what attracted Spanish company Bottpower. They design and build incredible looking street bikes, using Buell V-twin engines mounted in their own large diameter, single tube frames, and sell kits for home builders to create their own.
BOTTPOWER decided to take-on the factory teams and the mountain and built a one-off race bike the BOTT XR1R for the 2017 PIKES PEAK RACE and KRIEGA joined the team as one of the main sponsors.
We created a limited edition range of BOTTPOWER branded products, with the income from all sales going directly to the team to finance this major assault on the mountain.
PIKES PEAK DIARY
UPDATED 26TH JUNE 2017
SPAIN TO USA
The BOTT XR1R was shipped from Spain to Denver some days before the BOTTPOWER TEAM arrived to the USA.
The plan was that the bike would arrive before them. However, when they arrived there the bike was still “in transit” and after contacting UPS they discovered that due to some kind of “error” by their side, the bike had stopped in New York. From there it still had to go to Chicago, then to Denver, then it had to go through customs.. !! it was clear that we were not going to have the bike on time for the first tests at Pikes Peak.
It was very important to start testing as soon as possible at Pikes Peak, for many reasons. Mainly to check how the engine was behaving in high altitude and of course also because Travis needed to ride as many miles as possible with the XR1R on the mountain.
Without having the XR1R, the team decided to test with one of Travis's bikes, a Suzuki SV 650 that he had prepared to race on tracks. In this way, at least Travis could reaquaint himself with the track again.
Practices in Pikes Peak are quite particular because during the day the road is open to the tourists, so the practices take place before the road is open, from 5 am (just with the sunrise) to around 8 am. This means that it is necessary to wake up around 3 am. Of course at that time, at around 3000/4000 meters (10000/14000 feet) of altitude, normally it is quite cold. It is hard for everyone but mostly for the riders, because the ambient temperature is cold and many times the asphalt is (literally) frozen.
The track is split into 3 sections so it's only possible to practice one section at a time. For the first weekend practice Travis managed to get some useful time in on the Suzuki in the lower section. But finally a few days later the XR1R arrived to everyones relief.
As they could not get on the mountain they did some dyno testing with different types of fuel and also organized a test at “Pueblo Motorsports Park” a track located in Pueblo, Colorado.
On Monday 19th of June the start of official practice week the bike went through race inscription and then technical scrutiny. On Tuesday (finally!) Travis got to ride the XR1R for the first time on Pikes Peak. Both on Tuesday and Wednesday they practice in the middle section. This is the slowest section, in general it is a “stop and go” section, with tight corners connected by straight lines.
A very important thing was that the bike was running quite well in the altitude thanks to the system designed by IDS (Intelligent Design Solutions), one of our technical sponsors. Using a data acquisition system, in every run we recorded information about what the engine was doing and we emailed the information to IDS, which day by day helped us to improve the engine mapping.
On Wednesday they tested in the top section. In general, this section is quite fast and much more fluid than the middle section. The bike worked quite well despite being at more than 4000 meters (13000 feet) and Travis set the 4th fastest time in that practice.
Friday morning was the last practice in the bottom section. The day was very foggy. In the first run Travis took it easy to check the course (the asphalt was cold and a little bit wet), and then the practice was suspended due to the dense fog. So they didn’t have the opportunity to make an “attack run” and finished in 10th position.
Friday afternoon is the 'Fan Fest' in Colorado Springs. The Fan Fest is a festival in which most of the Pikes Peak race vehicles are displayed for the public down the main street. In addition, there are activities as Free Style jumps, etc. This year around 35,000 people came to see the Bikes and cars and meet the riders and drivers who posed for pictures and sign autographs.
Finally Sunday arrived, the race day. There was a lot of tension and not too much work for the team. Just warm up the engine, mount the tyre warmers, adjust the tyre pressures, warm up the engine again, fill the fueltanks, switch on the GoPros… and cross our fingers.
The start moment arrived and once that Travis disappeared after the first corner, the Team could only watch a monitor with the section times, waiting for him to appear in each of the sections. The last one (around 3 minutes) until he finally appeared on the screen. He was in first position with a time of 10 minutes 28 seconds!.. there was a lot of happiness and hugs between the team members. They still had to wait for the 2 official KTMs and Bruno Langlois Kawasaki, that finally were faster than (Chris Fillmore set a new race record), so finally we ended in the 4th place overall.
Even so, the team were really happy. A very good result for a motorbike which was completely new and almost with no development time. Also it was their first time in the mountain. Fortunately Travis had a lot of experience in Pikes Peak and he did a smooth and clean race, without big moments.
This is what Travis said after the race: “I am very happy to have raced the BOTT XR1R to a big class win and 4th overall motorcycle up the mountain. We worked very hard through multiple challenges and minimal time testing and I am very proud of our finish. All the bikes finishing in front of us had not only factory support but much more practice both on the mountain and before the race so I feel that we are very glorious victors indeed!”
So the final result was First in Class and 4th Overall .... a fantastic result
50 DAYS TO GO
UPDATED MAY 5TH 2017
With the countdown clock ticking the Bottpower team are busy getting together all the specialist components to 'finish' building the race bike.
So while thats going on, we thought we would get an interview with the rider - TRAVIS NEWBOLD
Some of the exotic parts that go into making it a race winning machine
NEWS UPDATE MARCH 6TH
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is an event in which you can race only by invitation. The total amount of vehicles (cars plus motorbikes) that race in the PPIHC has been limited to around 100.
The registration entry deadline was January 27, 2017. After this date, the PPIHC Race Committee selected the teams that were invited to race, and on February 17 they notified the competitors if they were invited to participate in the race.
Although we didn’t have any specific reason to think that we were not going to be accepted, it is true that the 17th of February we breathed a sigh of relief when we received an email from the organization confirming that we were in. On February 20, they published the official list of competitors invited to participate in the race.
We are really happy of having Travis Newbold as rider for Pikes Peak. With his experience and speed on this race, we think that he is 100% capable of riding as fast as any other rider. The key-point is to see if we will be able to give him a good bike for the mountain. Taking into account that we have no experience there, and no experience (by the moment) with the XBRR engine, it is clear that this is not going to be an easy task for us.
Another great point of having Travis with us, is that he lives in Arvada, Denver, where he runs “Newbold’s Motorbike Shop”, a motorbike workshop which is at one hour by car from Pikes Peak. This will make everything much easier from a logistics point of view, because we will have a place where we can ship the bike from Spain, and also a workshop that we can use as our operational base if we need it.
Now let’s see how is everything going on regarding the design and construction of the BOTT XR1R that will race in Pikes Peak.
We had scanned the original XBRR engine intakes to modify them to allow our frame to run between them.
Once we had the new intake designed, we printed 2 units in plastic. These printed intakes are not functional, but they served us to check that everything was correct before milling the definitive ones.
Here we have our 3d printed prototype next to the original magnesium one:
Next image shows the design of the new intake. The most important thing has been to keep the injector in the same position it had in the original intake.
We also mounted the top part of our XR1 carbon fiber fueltank, just to check that the injection body and velocity stacks fit properly inside it. The Pikes Peak race bike will use only the lower tanks, with the top one acting as an airbox. Everything was OK and now we must design the lower part of the airbox and the intake conduits that will feed the airbox with fresh air.
Headed by Moto2 electronics and telemetry engineer, David Sanchez, the Valencia-based company has secured a pair of rare XBRR factory race engines and is currently 3D modeling parts to mate the fuel-injected motors with their distinctive chassis. They have also signed Pikes Peak regular and class winner Travis Newbold to pilot their racer. Newbold, a motorcycle shop owner from nearby Denver, narrowly missed winning the Pike Peak motorcycle class in 2015, when the Erik Buell Racing V-twin-powered Ronin he was racing was just pipped by the HRC-supported American Honda Fireblade.
We’ll keep our blog updated with the team’s progress in the build-up to the race that takes place on 25 June 2017.