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It’s ICE Versus EV This Weekend At WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

The Mission Super Hooligan National Championship is the only national motorcycle road racing championship in the world that features electric motorcycles like Stefano Mesa’s Energica (left) competing on racetracks against internal-combustion-engine-equipped motorcycles like Kyle Ohnsorg’s Indian FTR1200 (right). Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

A swarm of street fighters will descend upon WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend as part of the MotoAmerica Superbike Speedfest at Monterey. It’s round three of the Mission Super Hooligan National Championship (MSHNC), and nearly 50 riders are on the entry list and ready to do battle aboard their high-handlebar, naked (read: unfaired) motorcycles.

The MSHNC is so popular and there are so many riders entered for WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca that practice and qualifying will be split into two groups, and there will ultimately be three feature races on the weekend with a special Group B race on Sunday in addition to Group A race two.

And, among the subplots that will play out in the Super Hooligan class this weekend, two electric (EV) motorcycles will compete head-to-head against the horde of internal-combustion-engine-equipped (ICE) motorcycles. Once again this year, Kenyon Kluge will race his #196 K Squared Racing Zero Motorcycles SR/F. He’ll be joined by Super Hooligan series regular Stefano Mesa and his #137 Tytlers Cycle Racing Energica Eva Ribelle RS, which is now supported by PETRONAS, the global Malaysian energy group that has a presence in more than 100 countries around the world.

PETRONAS Iona is a product line of next-generation e-Transmission fluids, e-Cooling fluids, and e-Greases specifically tailored for electric vehicles and being race-tested by the Tylers Cycle Racing Energica team. Photo courtesy of Energica Motor Company.

In case you didn’t already realize it, the fact that PETRONAS is supporting Energica in the Mission Super Hooligan National Championship is, well, kind of a big deal. They’ve been involved in FIM World Championship motorcycle road racing since 1996. This year, they are the title sponsor of the PETRONAS MIE Honda Racing Team. Their riders are Hafizh Syahrin and Eric Granado in World Superbike, and Adam Norrodin and Tarran Mackenzie in World Supersport.

PETRONAS has also been involved in FIA Formula One Auto Racing since 1999, and since 2010, they have been the main sponsor of the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 team. Since 2014, PETRONAS has also been supplying fuel and lubricants for Mercedes-AMG customer teams, including the Honda-powered, Red Bull-owned Italian team Scuderia Toro Rosso, known as Scuderia AlphaTauri since the 2020 season.

So, you may be asking yourself, “A global company that manufactures fuel and lubricants sponsoring an electric motorcycle company’s racing efforts in the Mission Super Hooligan National Championship? That doesn’t make any sense.”

Oh, but it does make sense. Under real-world racing conditions, Energica is testing the PETRONAS Iona brand of next-gneration e-Transmission fluids, e-Cooling fluids, and e-Greases specifically tailored for electric vehicles. “PETRONAS Lubricants International is constantly exploring ways to support the rapidly developing EV industry, including the motorsports scene,” commented Hezlinn Idris, Managing Director and Group CEO of PETRONAS Lubricants International. “This partnership opens opportunities for us in the development of EV fluids that cover all types of electric vehicles including trucks, light commercial vehicles, passenger cars, and motorbikes.”

“We’re making history once again,” added Giampiero Testoni, CTO of Energica Motor Company. “Racing has always been in our DNA from the very beginning.”

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