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Carlos Espinosa Siles, in his XPRS racing team suit. A. C.
The 140km/h electric scooter race taking Dubai by storm has its eyes set on Spain
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The 140km/h electric scooter race taking Dubai by storm has its eyes set on Spain

Malaga rider Carlos Siles, a pioneer in this new sport, says talks are under way with Spanish authorities in order to have the competition hosted here

Antonio Contreras

Malaga

Wednesday, 8 May 2024, 15:24

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He lived and breathed petrol since he was a child, until electronics crossed his path. Carlos Espinosa Jiménez, better known as Carlos Siles, has been involved in the world of motorcycling practically all his life. At the age of 11, he began to take his first steps in competition. Today, 16 years later, he has his own teaching school (Moto School Malaga) and has managed to become a national benchmark, with achievements such as speed champion in the South Cup and top ten in the World Championship in the flat track category.

The arrival of the coronavirus, which left so many things on hold, led Espinosa to look for new scenarios in which to grow professionally and, by chance or fate, he ended up coming across the eScooter Race, a sport in which motorbikes are swapped for high-performance electric scooters.

He is a pioneer of a new sport (there are only three Spaniards and he is the only Andalusian). Espinosa stands as one of the best people from Malaga to explain what this new sport is and what it consists of, which aims to become a new trend worldwide. In fact, according to the Malaga rider, negotiations with Spain are already under way to bring the competition to the country with "some aspects already finalised".

The eScooter Race was born as a result of the new concepts of mobility that are emerging in the urban environment, where electric micro mobility continues to gain prominence. Currently, in Malaga, electric scooters account for more than 7% of urban journeys. "This is the most up-to-date motorsport there is," said Espinosa, who makes it clear that however incipient this competition may be, it is perfectly organised: "We have great professionals behind us from both the FIA and the FIM dedicated to the project. I am sure that this sport will grow a lot".

For racing in this sport, the use of a normal scooter is out of the question. Just as F1 has its own road-racing machines that are designed to be as fast as possible, so does the eScooter Race, which uses the RS-Zero, a high-performance electric scooter. "It is a state-of-the-art scooter, weighing around 50 or 60 kilos, made of carbon and capable of reaching speeds of over 140 kilometres per hour," said Espinosa. Despite the speed they can reach, the Malaga rider pointed out this is not an unsafe sport, as they have invested heavily in safety, both in terms of equipment and in the circuit itself. "We have the latest technology to protect the riders. These are very well prepared urban circuits."

Diversity and accessibility as pillars

Being able to conquer a sport is a treat for very few palates, inside and outside the eScooter Race. The problem arises when the simple fact of being able to try it is also the luck of the few, something that happens in practically all motorsports. Here arises one of the first differences that clashes with the traditional conception of motorsport: the ease of proving whether you are valid or not. According to Espinosa, the World Federation currently holds a multitude of local championships, where the champions of these small competitions go on to the next stage, and so on, in order to be able to continue proving their worth. Unlike motorcycling and the different types of combustion in general, the financial costs for starting to participate in the eScooter Race are much lower: "It is a very accessible sport, which does not require a large investment to get started".

And if we talk about gender? The truth is that the major motor racing competitions (see F1 or MotoGP, among others) do not distinguish between genders in theory, but when we move from theory to practice, the reality is very different. These sports have been almost entirely dominated by men throughout history. In the eScooter Race, theory becomes practice, under a philosophy that simply avoids judging by gender and looks only at results.

A sport as worthy as the rest

They reach dizzying speeds for the size of these little guys that you don't even sit on, they have the latest safety features, they remove gender and accessibility barriers... and yet they still face stigma and unnecessary vilification for competing on scooters. "We are fighting against that, there is still a psychological barrier in many countries. Especially in those countries where we have not competed. In the UK, for example, we have competed and a huge community has been created," said Espinosa, who regrets the fact that in Spain there is still part of this psychological barrier: "We think it's a toy, but nothing could be further from the truth".

For Espinosa, turning his back on this kind of competition is turning his back on the future. "Micro-mobility and electric vehicles are here to stay, it is technological progress and, above all, ecological progress for the good of all. There is still a long way to go, but it is the future," he said.

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