IYK record holder back in the spotlight for Pikes Peak race

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

IYK record holder back in the spotlight for Pikes Peak raceA young entrepreneur and record holder who garnered local attention last summer when he broke the world record for speed in an electric airplane at Inyokern Airport is back in the national spotlight to defend his record at Pikes Peak.

Chip Yates, who crushed electric motorcycle speed records before retiring his bike to the Petersen Automotive Museum and moving on to his current groundbreaking ventures in electronic aviation, will be going head to head with six-time Pikes Peak motorcycle champion Greg Tracy. The match-up is expected to be a fan favorite of the 91st annual Pikes Peak Internation-al Hill Climb.

Yates will ride an American-made Lightning Electric Super Bike and Tracy will ride the Canadian Amarok electric Motorcycle.

Yates said the superbike is the only electric motorcycle to log a higher speed than the bike now in retirement.

“When I heard Greg was coming to the mountain on an electric bike this year, I realized my Pikes Peak record time was at risk, and so I turned to Lightning Motorcycles to help me raise the bar and hang on to the title.”

Yates is known for his high-risk adventures in extreme electronic vehicles of his own design. While his achievements in the motorcycle circuit are what initially thrust him onto the national and global scene, it is his accomplishments in aviation that hold special interest for Indian Wells Valley dwellers.

Last year Yates took up residence in Hangar 3 at IYK to work on a Long EZ converted to electronic power. After a few weeks of intensive test and evaluation, Yates broke the world record a few days after earning his pilot’s license.

Even as a new pilot he was able to execute a flawless deadstick landing after the motor died. Among the noteworthy achievements of that flight was the discovery that his converted aircraft had an extremely low heat signature — which has piqued the interest of DOD as a means of exploring electronic power in stealth technology.

Soon after that, Yates and his team launched Yates Electrospace Corp. One of the goals of that new venture is to continue developing Yates’ technology for a system to swap out electronic batteries mid-flight and be the first to fly an electronic aircraft across the historic Lindberg route.

For additional information see www.flightofthecentury.com and www.yateselectrospace.com.

Story First Published: 2013-04-17