Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Paul Sleeman: “We aren’t changing what Hesketh is about, we just want to bring it into the 21st century…”

The new Hesketh 24 is a revial of the 1970s-80s Lord Hesketh-James Hunt legacy. Those red and blue stripes still look so cool

In 1972, when he was all of 22 years old, Lord Thomas Alexander Fermor-Hesketh founded his Formula 1 racing team and, with James Hunt, went on to win a few races in the early- to mid-1970s. Hunt, famous for his playboy lifestyle (Rolls-Royce cars, private helicopters, endless bottles of champagne and, of course, copious amounts of… er, “crumpet”), finished in 4th place in the 1975 Formula 1 world championship, driving the Lord’s Hesketh 308 F1 race car.

Shortly thereafter, Lord Hesketh withdrew from F1 but did go on to build motorcycles – the Hesketh V1000 and the Hesketh Vampire – in the early 1980s. It was all over by the mid-1980s (you can read the full story on Wikipedia) but now, after a 30-year hiatus, Hesketh are back. This time, with British entrepreneur Paul Sleeman at the helm, the company plans to build a range of new, Hesketh-branded motorcycles, starting with the Hesketh 24, which will go on sale from February next year.

As you can see in the photograph above, the Hesketh 24 gets a paintjob that’s clearly inspired by James Hunt’s 1970s Hesketh F1 race car, which also used to bear the number '24.' The bike, only 24 units of which will be built, is powered by a 1,950cc V-twin, which produces about 120 horsepower. Spec is top class – Ohlins suspension, Beringer brakes with 4-piston calipers at the front, BST carbonfibre wheels, TIG-welded chrome-molybdenum chassis, bespoke 2-into-1-into-3 stainless steel exhaust system and, interestingly enough, a 22.7-litre fuel tank that’s mounted beneath the engine.

We were quite intrigued with the new Hesketh 24 and fired off a few questions to Hesketh. Here are some excerpts from what Paul Sleeman had to say about the Hesketh 24 and his future plans for the brand:

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Voxan Wattman unveiled at le Salon de la Moto

With 200bhp and 200Nm of torque, the battery-powered Voxan Wattman is not scared of any Hayabusa or ZX-14 Ninja....

We’d believed that French motorcycle manufacturer, Voxan, had gone bust and shut down. However, they are apparently still around and have unveiled an all-new electric motorcycle – the Wattman – at the le Salon de la Moto, which is currently underway in Paris.

With 200 horsepower and 200Nm of torque from its electric powerplant, the new Voxan Wattman can, according to claims made by its manufacturer, accelerate from zero to 160km/h in just 5.9 seconds. What’s even more amazing is that the bike’s 12.8kWh battery, which can be 80% charged in just 30 minutes, is able to provide a range of 180km with a full charge.

The Voxan Wattman’s chassis is as cutting-edge as its electric powerplant. No steel tube trellis-type or aluminium beam frame here. Instead, Voxan have gone with a very rigid exoskeleton, which integrates all the components of the powertrain, including the batteries and the electric motor.

Since its inception back in 1995, Voxan have seen a lot of ups and downs and was taken over by one Gildo Pallanca Pastor in 2010. Now, with this new electric bike in the pipeline, which looks like it may well be slated to go into limited production sometime soon, Voxan might just be back on track.

Video and more pics of the Voxan Wattman after the jump...

Monday, December 02, 2013

Marc Marquez: “People who ride fast on public roads lack common sense!”

Interview with 2013 MotoGP world champ, Marc Marquez
Interview with 2013 MotoGP world champ, Marc MarquezInterview with 2013 MotoGP world champ, Marc MarquezInterview with 2013 MotoGP world champ, Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez, 2013 MotoGP world champ and Superman on two wheels, says he wouldn't ride fast on the street...

Having won the 2013 MotoGP world championship at just 20 years of age, Marc Marquez is pretty much Superman on two wheels. We caught up with him recently, for a quick chat. Here are some excerpts from what Marc had to say to us:

On being MotoGP world champ at 20

I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet, I’m still living in a dream! For me, it’s knowing that all the hard work in the season has paid off. It’s my way of thanking Honda and Repsol for taking a chance with me and showing their belief in me.

On how closely fought the 2013 MotoGP season was

If you look at the points at the end of the season, all three of us (Dani, Jorge and I) were over 300 points, which is incredible. Only 34 points separated us three by the end of the season so you can see how close we were. Dani and Jorge were very unlucky in their crashes this season and without those it could have been a very different story. I was also lucky not to be more seriously injured in my accidents.

On whether the current Honda RC213V is clearly better than the Yamaha YZR M1 and the Ducati Desmosedici GP13

I think everyone always tries to say the Yamaha or the Honda is the better machine, but for me it’s very similar. Both bikes have positive and negative points. Both bikes won 9 races this year. It’s very close. Also, I’ve only ridden the Honda so I can’t say which is better!



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