June 08, 2018


TEAM MUGEN won the Isle of Man TT TT Zero race for a 5th consecutive time, accomplishing along the way the long-sought-after goal of an average lap speed over 120 mph.

MUGEN (M-TEC Co., Ltd.) announces that #1 Michael Rutter won the 2018 Isle of Man TT TT Zero challenge class held on June 6th the Isle of Man with a new record. This victory led TEAM MUGEN to 5 straight championships. #2 Lee Johnston set the fastest recorded speed of 170.8mph (Approx. 275km/h) at the speed trap on Sulby Straight and finished the race in 3rd place.

The TT Zero challenge class this year for TEAM MUGEN began with unexpected misfortunes. One was that John McGuinness had no choice but to give up his participation in the race due to recurrence of his previous injury, while his proposed team-mate Bruce Anstey, was ruled out after being diagnosed with a serious medical issue. The team turned to the experienced Michael Rutter to take over the #1 Shinden machine. Even after landing on the Isle of Man the bad luck continued, with machine issues ruling both Michael Rutter and Lee Johnston out of 3 of the 4 qualifying practice sessions, leaving them just one full lap of practice each prior to the race.

The Isle of Man was visited this year by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, who played the role of starter for the 2018 TT Zero challenge race, and also handed out the garlands to the podium finishers. He then studied the MUGEN Shinden Nana, and spoke words of appreciation to riders and team members.

The race result was Michael Rutter in 1st and Lee Johnston in 3rd places, meaning both riders got a chance to stand on the podium and meet the Prince. With this 5th consecutive victory TEAM MUGEN were able at the same time to accomplish the long-sought goal of breaking the 120 mph average lap speed, with a lap average of 121.824 mph.

We would like to thank very much, the sponsors, technical partners and all parties involved in this project, for your kind support and cooperation over the past 7 long years.

* The Isle of Man TT Race (The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Race) TT Zero Challenge
The Isle of Man TT race, which started in 1907, is the oldest high-speed motorcycle race that is still currently held. The isle is located in between the United Kingdom and Ireland. The races are held in a time trial format on a 60 km public street course that includes urban zones, residential areas, and a mountain section. The event was resumed in 1947, after the end of World War II, as part of the Motorcycle Grand Prix World Championship, and was soon an irresistible competitive challenge for the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers to demonstrate their technical abilities, and the riders with their courage. As a result of their successes in the Isle of Man TT it has served as a foundation for the Japanese motorcycle industry, from which it has made the leap to the pinnacle of world class motorcycle manufacture and competition. The TT Zero Challenge class is a new category that was started in 2009 in anticipation of the future of the age of clean energy. In this category, machines are required to be equipped with a power plant emitting zero carbon dioxide. Though races for conventional internal-combustion engine classes can range from three to six laps, the race distance for the TT Zero Challenge class is currently one lap (approximately 60 km) in deference to current technology battery performance and capacity.

■ Comments from Michael Rutter
We had a very hard week due to many issues including a machine trouble. MUGEN members did good job, though. They worked almost overnight to set a machine and made preparations for the race. We barely had chances to try test rides, however, needed to make many difficult decisions for setting up Shinden Nana. During the race I noticed a similar trouble which happened to Lee then I tried to ride it as smoothly as possible to cross the finish line. I was able to make faster TT Zero record than that of John McGuinness in 2016. But machine itself has evolved compared to the past. I would be gratitude for John and Bruce Anstey’s contributions to the development of Shindens.

■ Comments from Lee Johnston
MUGEN members worked quite hard since the TT week started. They brought parts from Japan to cope with the issue happening during the practice session. The issue was completely removed thanks to it. That is why when I faced a trouble during the race, I tried to recover the machine somehow to cross the final line for TEAM MUGEN. I feel I could maximize all the potential of Shinden Nana at the race eventually. It took time for me to be familiar with it. I believe I did good ride till the trouble happened at the mountain area. Shinden itself and its setting are great since John McGuinness and Bruce Anstey spent so much time to tune up.

■ Comments from team director Akihiro Miyata
Just after the announcement of participation in the Isle of Man TT race this year, we had no choice but to begin this project with so many difficulties including sudden change of riders and team structure. Even after entering the Isle of Man, we had to cancel the practice sessions twice due to a machine trouble. I felt the race this year was the hardest one ever. Within the Isle of Man we could not cope with the trouble by ourselves, and asked for help of our team members in both Japan and UK to prepare countermeasure parts. A day before the race day, the parts came to us and we rushed to try them at Jurby Airfield and got ready for the race. Though we wasted so much time preparing the parts, we tried our best to adjust the machine to satisfy riders’ requests as much as possible. That, I believe could be counted as one of the contributions to the race result.

The race began on time under the clear sky. #1 made new records at each measure point and crossed the finish line safe. #2 was involved in a drive-train trouble at the Bungalow. He then fixed the part and finished the race. The result was quite disappointing one for #2 Lee Johnston, I assume. We currently are investigating its cause. #1 Michael Rutter maximized the potential of Shinden Nana well enough to win the race 23 seconds faster than the machine in 2nd place.

I highly respect the two riders and feel so grateful for the new record Michael Rutter accomplished and Lee Johnston who crossed the finish line in 3rd place even he suffered from the machine trouble during the race. There is no doubt that this day never comes without a great achievement of John McGuinness and Bruce Anstey.

Last but certainly not least I would like to thank all the sponsors and supporters for your incessant cooperation and support from my heart, it took 3 years to make a new record, though. Thank you very much indeed.

Shown below are race results from year 2014 to 2018

2018 Isle of Man TT TT Zero Challenge class race result
Rider #1 Michael Rutter #2 Lee Johnston
Pos. 1st 3rd
Time 18:34.9 21:26.6
Average Speed 121.824mph(196.05kph) 105.566mph(169.89kph)
2017 Isle of Man TT TT Zero Challenge class race result
Rider #1 Bruce Anstey #2 Guy Martin
Pos. 1st 2nd
Time 19:13.9 19:55.3
Average Speed 117.710mph(188.33kph) 113.632mph(181.811kph)
2016 Isle of Man TT TT Zero Challenge class race result
Rider #1 Bruce Anstey #2 John McGuinness
Pos. 1st 4th
Time 19:07.0 23:50.5
Average Speed 118.416mph(189.46kph) 94.949mph(151.91kph)
2015 Isle of Man TT TT Zero Challenge class race result
Rider #1 John McGuinness #2 Bruce Anstey
Pos. 1st 2nd
Time 18:58.7 19:02.7
Average Speed 119.279mph(190.84kph) 118.857mph(190.171kph)
2014 Isle of Man TT TT Zero Challenge class race result
Rider #1 John McGuinness #2 Bruce Anstey
Pos. 1st 2nd
Time 19:17.3 19:40.6
Average Speed 117.366mph(187.78kph) 115.048mph(184.076kph)