Following the bold dreams of a handful of racing teams through the trials and tribulations of first and second zero emissions grand prix motorcycle races held on the Isle of Man is Charge, a recently released documentary by Mark Neale. Adding to the tremendous weight of the historical first race is the fact that the Isle of Man TT also happens to be the toughest and most unforgiving race track in the world which has claimed the lives of over 200 racers.
While Charge was seemingly produced on a shoestring, it’s rich in content. The uniquely intriguing stories of the teams involved and contrasting design and development processes of both heavily budgeted student run and corporate backed teams offer an insightful look into the young and still developing world of electric motorcycle racing.
Central to electric motorcycle engineering—and film—is Cedric Lynch, who may just be the most eccentric personality in racing. After dropping out of school at age 12 this self-taught, barefoot, electrical pioneer went on to invent the Lynch motor. Now used in majority of the competitors’ bikes the renamed and updated Agni motor can propel a bike upwards of 130mph while running at 93% efficiency, as compared to an average 30% on standard petrol burning motorcycles.
Through the two races in 2009 and 2010 the viewer is taken through the design and production of some of the first and finest electric grand prix capable motorcycles in the world. And after a few unfortunate tragedies we witness the first time ever an American-built and ridden machine has won a professional TT, helping turn the previously apprehensive locals onto the quieter side of the daredevil sport. Charge grabs your attention and keeps it for its entire 90min run time.
To see the trailer and pick up a copy for yourself directly through Charge’s online store where it goes for $20, although unfortunately only available in the United States and Canada only for the moment.