Bikes - first biofuel race win

Team Inzane, the Peterborough-based motorcycle racing team has just scored a world first motorcycle race win for a machine fuelled by renewable biofuel. Inzane was the first in the field last year to take advantage of a change in UK bike racing rules permitting biofuels. This season, the team, jointly owned by Ian Calvert and Geoff Lancaster, with support from the Government initiative EEMS, Energy Efficient Motorsport, adapted and developed a Ducati 800SS to race in the UK Mini Twins category, a series otherwise dominated by Japanese Suzuki machines.

Inzane rider Russell Joyner, described recently by Motorcycle News as ‘awesomely talented’, lived up to his reputation by taking a ‘lights to flag’ win on 14 September 2008 at Norfolk’s Snetterton track. He rode faultlessly to take victory by two tenths of a second from a chasing swarm of angry Suzukis, having already scored two second places that weekend.

The team’s Ducati runs on bioethanol E85, an alcohol fuel distilled from biomass and blended with 15% petrol. Fuel supply has been a problem as not many filling stations sell E85 yet, but luckily there are a couple of pumps down the road from Snetterton. Norfolk is something of a biofuels centre for the UK. The only refinery currently manufacturing the renewable fuel uses the excess sugar beet grown by the local farmers, keeping down its carbon footprint for production. A small percentage of bioethanol is already added to road fuel in the UK. The bioethanol used for the Snetterton race weekend could be distilled from sugar beet grown on just 20 square metres of land … over and over again.

Inzane Technical Director Ian Calvert said, “This is the pinnacle of a fantastic season for Russ and the team. We have been third in the championship most of the year, with podium places. It’s fitting tribute to the faith that EEMS placed in our dream to pull off this world first. And it’s worth remembering that no planets were harmed in the winning of this race!”

EEMS Project Manager Dan Rapson commented:“This is a great achievement by the team and demonstrates just how compatible the energy efficiency message is with the spectacle of exciting motorsport. In a relatively short space of time, Inzane has taken this from the test track to the podium - showing that with the full commitment of the team and the right support, significant steps forward can be taken.”

Team Inzane’s win will be featured in the next few weeks on Motors TV.