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Old 08-26-09, 10:56 AM   #1
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Default (OT) 2009 Iron Butt Rally Underway

For those motorcycle riders out there who might be interested[1] the 2009 running of the Iron Butt Rally kicked off on the 24th. Tonight they arrive at Check Point 1 from all over the east coast after their start in South Carolina.

"11,000 miles in 11 days" on all kinds of motorcycles, hunting all sorts of bonus locations.

[1] and for auto drivers who can't imagine doing those numbers in a car, much less on bikes

[photos removed from rally reports below]

Last edited by Bownse; 08-26-09 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 08-26-09, 10:59 AM   #2
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Default Re: (OT) 2009 Iron Butt Rally Underway

The 2009 Iron Butt Rally – Day -3

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hundreds of motorcyclists have begun gathering at the Marriott Hotel in Spartanburg, South Carolina for the start of the 2009 Iron Butt Rally, "The World’s Toughest Motorcycle Competition." Beginning at 10 a.m. on Monday, about 100 competitors will ride a combined total of approximately 1 million miles during the subsequent 11 days in an attempt be listed as a finisher, if not a medalist, in this extraordinary test of endurance, riding skill, and route planning proficiency.

2009 marks the 25
th anniversary of the first Iron Butt Rally, a motorcycle competition typically requiring each rider to travel at least 9,000 miles in 11 days to qualify as a finisher. In 1984, only ten riders entered, hoping to win the $40,000 prize for first place that was withdrawn at the last minute because of the lack of participation. The lack of opportunity for riders to score additional points for extraordinary performance resulted in a 4-way tie for first place. Despite the problems with the first rally, the concept caught on and this 11-day motorcycle endurance event has become legendary within the motorcycling community.

The original concept for the Iron Butt Rally was to have riders visit checkpoints located around the perimeter of the 48 contiguous states while maintaining a schedule that would allow them to complete the trip in 11 days. Due to the combination of higher speed limits, reduced motorcycle maintenance requirements, and the ever-increasing capabilities of the riders, the modern day Iron Butt Rally has become much more that a simple ride around the perimeter of the lower 48 states.

In recent Iron Butt Rallies, riders have had to choose from literally hundreds of optional "bonus" locations and select routes between the checkpoints that will score the most points. Bonus locations with the highest point values are typically in remote locations. (For example, to place well in the 2001 Rally, riders had to document a visit to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.) Despite travelling to remote locations over slow roads, top finishers typically average at least 1,000 miles per day. To the average person, even to the average motorcycle rider, the idea that someone could ride a motorcycle 1,000 miles a day for 11 days in row is unimaginable. But these are not average riders.
Pre-Rally Activities

Today, many riders will be anxiously awaiting last minute maintenance and tire changes on their motorcycles being done at local motorcycle dealers they are unfamiliar with. Others will be trying to fix problems with last minute modifications to their motorcycles that cropped up on their ride to Spartanburg.

Driving into the hotel parking lot yesterday, I saw former 2
nd place Rally finisher Chris Sakala standing over a pile of rubble that looked like the aftermath of an Improvised Explosive Device detonation. This is not the way your bike should look just days before the start of the Iron Butt Rally. Chris was in the process of trying to resolve a problem with his communications system. Something wasn’t quite right with the integration of his CB, cell phone, GPS, XM radio, and radar detector; imagine that. (I don’t think I’ve yet met anyone that has such a complex system completely sorted out.)

Chris Sakala and BMW R1200RT Debris
The Grand Champion of last minute modifications is Paul Allison, a returning Rally veteran from the United Kingdom, who just started the auxiliary fuel system installation on his rented Gold Wing at 5 a.m. this morning. Paul is actually ahead of schedule compared to 2007.

On Saturday and Sunday, before facing the obstacles of the 11-day ride, the contestants will be going through technical inspection, having their insurance and registration documents checked, and receiving detailed explanations of how this year’s rally is being conducted.

One element of technical inspection is the odometer check. Each rider is required to ride a specific route after zeroing the trip odometer on their bike. The mileage recorded by the odometer is compared to the known actual distance of the route to create an odometer correction factor that will be used to determine exactly how far each rider travelled during the 11 day rally.
Paul Allison Aboard the Rental Wing
It’s best if the odometer check route is easy for riders to follow. Unfortunately, the Marriott in Spartanburg is not located close to a freeway interchange. The question is not "if" any riders will be unable to follow the directions, but "how many" riders will be unable to follow the directions. The directions each rider will receive are as follows:
-3- -4- Place the front axle of the bike over the Start Line and zero out your trip odometer. Exit the Tech Inspection lot and turn RIGHT onto N. Church Street. At ~ 0.7 miles you come to a large ‘Y’ intersection. Do not bear right, stay STRAIGHT onto Ashville Hwy. At ~ 3 miles, you come across a large traffic circle. TAKE BUSINESS 85 SOUTH TOWARDS GREENVILLE (from where you entered the traffic circle, this exit is approx 270-degrees around the traffic circle). Travel south on this highway (it will turn into I-85 at some point) and take exit 68 (Greer Street). This is a long 2-lane "frontage" road that parallels the highway. Stay in the left lane, ending with a stop sign. Turn LEFT at this stop sign, pass over the highway, then RIGHT onto the onramp to head back north on I-85 towards Spartanburg. Take the first exit you come to (Exit 69) which is Business 85 toward Spartanburg. Stay on this road to Exit 4. Take Exit 4 (which will display as exit 4a) toward Ashville Hwy and Hwys 176 and 56. This Exit 4 off ramp places you back into the traffic circle. Depart the circle by taking 56 East towards Spartanburg.
Stay on this 56 East which eventually turns into N. Church Street at the ‘Y’ intersection mentioned above. Continue on N. Church Street toward the Marriott. Turn LEFT at the intersection of N Church Street and Daniel Morgan Avenue. Make an immediate RIGHT into the Tech Inspection parking lot and place front axle over the Start Line

The current record for the most attempts necessary to successfully complete an Iron Butt Rally odometer check stands at 4. The record has remained unbroken for 10 years. This year, that record is destined to fall.

The complexity of the rest of the Tech Inspection process depends on how extensively a motorcycle has been modified and how close riders are pushing the 11.5 gallon limit on fuel capacity. Riders close to the limit must have the capacity of their auxiliary fuel system measured. The process involves the use of hydrometers to measure fuel density and a laboratory grade electronic scale that is used to measure the weight of fuel required to fill the system to one one-hundredth of a pound.
Motorcycles with aftermarket exhaust systems will have to pass a sound test. Since 1999, the Iron Butt Rally has required all participants to use relatively quiet exhaust systems that not only reduce rider fatigue but leave a good impression with the hotels used for the start, finish, and the checkpoints.

While I would have preferred to be riding a motorcycle on this trip, I’m travelling by car this year. Between the equipment necessary to do the measurements at Tech Inspection and a collection of women’s shoes that would be the envy of Imelda Marcos, there was barely enough room for me and my wife Helen on the trip from Sacramento to Spartanburg in our SUV.

Rally Staff and Volunteers
Today, Rallymaster Lisa Landry and other Rally Staff were putting the finishing touches on the schedule for this weekend. Chief Technical Inspector Dale "Warchild" Wilson worked on the odometer check today. During the next two days, he will undoubtedly have some good stories of rider efforts to get through tech inspection. Assisting Dale this year will be Tobie and Lisa Stevens, Bob Broeking, Jim Culp, and Greg Roberts. John Harrison will be doing noise and fuel capacity checks.
Rallymaster Lisa Landry and Dale "Warchild" Wilson
Put the Finishing Touches on the Odometer Check From Hell
Bill Watt will be doing a seminar for riders regarding how to deal with the media. The recently retired Surgeon General of the Navy, Don Arthur, will be doing a seminar on fatigue management. Ed Otto will be providing assistance with any insurance issues.

With assistance from Bill Shaw, Dave McQueeney will be in charge of verifying that each rider using a digital camera this year (almost everyone) is starting with an empty memory card, a correct date and time setting, and the proper resolution setting (640x480). At each checkpoint, Bill and Dave will be collecting rider’s memory cards, transferring the images to a thumb drive, and checking to see that each image has been recorded with the proper resolution. This will simplify the tasks required at the scoring table. The assignment to run this all-new part of the process went to McQueeney because he’s not only a computer nerd, he is meticulous at whatever task he is given. Few people realize the enormous contribution he makes to every Iron Butt Rally by riding all over the country to check bonus locations and carefully reviewing the final bonus listings.

Other Iron Butt Rally Staff and volunteers involved in this weekend’s check-in process include Jim and Donna Fousek, Jim and Donna Phillips, Roger and Karen Van Santan, Verne and Bonnie Hauck, Ira Agins, Dennis Bitner, Jerry Harris, Susan Murphy, and Helen Austin.

Dean and Colin Tanji will be shooting video all weekend for the DVD that will be subsequently produced. Dean will be riding his FJR1300 to a number of bonus locations where riders are expected to show up. Colin will be driving to each of the checkpoints and the finish.

Recently retired California Highway Patrol Sergeant Steve Hobart is serving as the official staff photographer this weekend. During the rest of the rally, Steve will be running the scoring table. With Steve handling this job, riders who are unable to accurately complete bonus instructions can count on receiving the same degree of sympathy and compassion Steve has shown to thousands of California motorists who haven’t quite managed to comply with the California Vehicle Code. In other words, they’re screwed. The most boneheaded mistakes Steve identifies should make for good reading.

IBA Chief Counsel Bob Higdon normally assists Michael Kneebone with the operation of the scoring computer. Ira Agins is taking over that important job this year. Bob has worked long and hard developing the bonus locations for this rally (more about that on Sunday), but, until today, he didn’t really have a job assignment for this weekend. A last minute decision has been made to have Bob deliver an important message to all riders at tomorrow’s media seminar regarding the rules that will apply with respect to rider communications with the public during the course of the rally. Few riders like Bob anyway, so he is the perfect choice for this particular assignment. Rookies who don’t understand the meaning of the phrase "Higdon Three Veiner" will also learn something.

At this point, riders have no idea where they will be going on Monday morning. They know that the first checkpoint is in St. Charles, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), but its only 747 miles to St. Charles and they have until 9 p.m. on Wednesday, August 26
th to get there. Accounting for the time zone change, that’s 60 hours after the start. There is time available to consider bonus locations all over the country. No one hoping to score enough points to be listed as a finisher will be heading directly to St.Charles.

There is a mandatory layover in St. Charles that will give riders the opportunity to start the second leg well-rested. If they get in a little early and finish with scoring by 9 p.m., they will have 7 hours of down time before the bonus listing for leg 2 is handed out at 4 a.m. on Thursday morning. -7-

By 9 p.m. on Sunday, August 30
th, the riders need to be in Santa Ana, California. Accounting for the time zone change, total time from when the bonuses are handed out in St. Charles to the opening of the Santa Ana checkpoint is 91 hours. The most direct route from St. Charles to Santa Ana is 1,989 miles, requiring an average speed of just 22 mph. As with leg 1, there will lots of time available for side trips to far flung bonus locations.
As at the first checkpoint, there is a mandatory layover in Santa Ana that will give riders the opportunity to start the final leg well-rested. If they get in a little early and finish with scoring by 9 p.m., they will have another 7 hours of down time before the bonus listing for leg 3 is handed out at 4 a.m. on Monday morning, August 31
To avoid penalty points at the finish, the riders need to be in Spokane by 7 a.m. on Friday, September 4
th. The most direct route from Santa Ana to the finish is only 1,241 miles, but they have 99 hours from the time the bonus listing is handed out in Santa Ana. Given the time available, riders can expect to see bonuses that are all over North America, including Canada and Alaska.

Taking the most direct route between the start and the required checkpoints, the minimum distance is just under 4,000 miles. Only Rally staff will be taking the direct route. The routes required to score well will be rather indirect, to say the least.

Daily Reports
As during the 2007 Rally, IBR staff will be keeping track of riders’ progress with the use of "call-in bonuses." Riders will periodically be leaving voicemail on the telephone system at my office in Sacramento, California. 24 separate telephone lines are serving a dedicated call-in number. On five separate occasions, riders will be given the opportunity to earn big bonus points just by calling the number and leaving a brief message telling us where they are, where they have recently been, and where the next bonus is that they are heading for. As soon as they hang up, each rider’s voicemail message will be converted to a ".wav" file and attached to an e-mail automatically sent to me and the Rallymaster. The time stamp on the e-mail message will indicate exactly when the call was completed.

I’ll also be monitoring the progress of some riders through the trail of "breadcrumbs" they are leaving with their "Find-Me-Spot" satellite tracking systems.

This weekend, I will be collecting information obtained during the rider check-in process from Rallymaster Lisa Landry, IBA President Michael Kneebone, and numerous other IBR staff who make this event possible.

Upcoming Reports
In tomorrow’s report, I’ll tell you who all of the riders are, what motorcycles they will be riding, and what problems anyone is having getting through Tech Inspection. On Sunday, I’ll provide some insight into what transpires at the private Riders Meeting and report on the activities at the evening banquet when the bonus listings are handed out. Although the detailed bonus listing won’t be published until after the end of each leg, I
will provide highlights of what’s included in order to provide some idea as to the routing options the riders have to consider.

Tom Austin
August 21, 2009

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Old 08-26-09, 11:04 AM   #3
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The 2009 Iron Butt Rally – Day -2

Saturday, August 22, 2009
Today was the primary day for tech inspection and rider check-in for the 14
th running of the Iron Butt Rally. Several minor problems with auxiliary fuel system venting were identified that riders were able to correct. There are a few problems with registration and insurance paperwork that will hopefully be corrected before the start Monday morning. As expected, several riders lost their way on The Odometer Check From Hell, but, to my surprise, everyone eventually completed the course in no more than two attempts.

Lisa Stevens Checks the Odometer Reading as Bob and Sylvie Torter
Prepare to Start the Odometer Check from Hell
The most serious problem identified so far showed up last night before the start of the official Tech Inspection process. Jim Owen, 2
nd place finisher in the 2007 Rally, wanted to make a last-minute adjustment to the top case on his BMW R1200RT that required him to remove the seat. To his horror, he found the auxiliary electrical system in the middle of a melt down. Sparks were arcing, insulation was burning, and an electrical relay was melting. A wire from the positive terminal of the battery was poorly routed causing insulation to be worn off and resulting in a short circuit. (Owen’s unparalleled reputation for routing clearly doesn’t apply to electrical systems.) Fortunately, this problem appears to have been caught mere seconds before irreparable damage had been done. With the assistance of Tom Sperry, a more mechanically inclined fellow rider, an all new wiring harness was fabricated and the bike is no longer emitting sparks or smoke.

Jim Owen’s Auxiliary Wiring System
The Bikes
After the smoke cleared from Jim Owen’s wiring mishap, it could be seen that the parking lot of the Marriott Hotel in Spartanburg, South Carolina, was filled with motorcycles awaiting technical inspection. These are not the same motorcycles usually seen at events where large numbers of motorcyclists gather. Although "cruiser" -style motorcycles are currently the best sellers, none are entered in this rally. There are also no motorcycles with obnoxiously loud exhaust systems. The Iron Butt Rally is about efficiently riding long distances and cruiser-style motorcycles with loud exhaust systems are ill-suited for this task.

The most popular motorcycles among long distance riders are in the "touring," "sport-touring," or "dual sport" category. Among the pure touring bikes, the most popular model by far is the Honda Gold Wing; a total of 20 GL1800 Gold Wings are entered. One 1981 vintage Gold Wing is a touring motorcycle that now fits into the "Hopeless" class. Other pure touring models include 5 BMW K1200LTs, a Victory Vision, and a Harley-Davidson FLHT.

In the sport-touring category, the most popular model is the Yamaha FJR1300, which is the choice of 19 riders this year. The second most popular sport-touring model is the Honda ST1300, the choice of 11 riders. Three riders will be on the older, but still competitive ST1100. 15 riders will be on BMW sport-touring models, 4 on K1200GTs, 7 on R1200RTs, and 4 on R1150RTs. Two riders will be on Kawasaki Concours 14s and one on an older Concours. The lone Moto Guzzi (Norge) and Triumph (Trophy) are also sport-touring models.

The most popular dual-sport models are the BMW GSs. 10 riders will be on R1200GS or GS Adventure models and 3 on the older 1150 cc GS. One Kawasaki KLR 650 is entered, the only single-cylinder motorcycle in the Rally.
There are just a few bikes that don’t fall into the touring, sport-touring, dual-sport mold. There are two sport bikes, a Honda CBR1100XX and a Kawasaki ZX12R. There are two 1970’s vintage Suzuki RE5 rotary engine models that are probably best classified as "standard" models, but now fit solidly in the "Hopeless" class.
1976 Suzuki RE-5 Rotary Engine-Powered Motorcycle
The oldest motorcycle entered this year is a BMW R60/6 that was purchased new by its rider 33 years ago. This was marketed as a touring motorcycle back before any production motorcycles were sold with fairings. When it crosses the starting line on Monday morning, it will have over 512,000 miles on the odometer. Most would consider
this bike hopeless, but I think it has a good a chance of finishing as any other BMW entered in the rally and all of the IBR staff are rooting for this bike and its rider.

The two makes that have the most dramatic difference between their U.S. market share and their percentage of the bikes on the starting grid are BMW and Harley. Harley, which has about 30% of the highway motorcycle market in the U.S., is the choice of only one rider. In contrast, BMW, which has about 1% of the U.S. market, is the choice of 35% of the riders.

There are two reasons for the lack of interest in Harleys among this crowd; the ergonomics of most Harley models are all wrong for long distance comfort and the company doesn’t enjoy the same reputation other brands have in the areas of handling, braking, reliability, and performance.
BMW’s over-representation on the starting line is also due to a combination of factors; BMWs are relatively light weight motorcycles with great brakes, great ride and handling, excellent ergonomics, and good fuel economy. The company has also enjoyed a reputation for durability and reliability. But that reputation is fading among long distance riders.

The four BMW final drive failures that occurred in the 2007 Iron Butt Rally are having an effect on hardware choices this year. Another K1200GT rider, Jeff Earls, will actually be carrying a spare final drive with him. Long time BMW rider Eric Jewell has taken an even more effective step to minimize the risk of having his ride end with a final drive failure; he sold his BMW and purchased a Honda ST1300. Tom and Rosie Sperry, who have been riding BMWs 2-up for many years, have adopted the same strategy. After experiencing a final drive failure on their K1200LT following the last Iron Butt Rally, they switched to a Honda Gold Wing.

While BMW continues to claim that there is no significant problem with its final drives, a number of long-time BMW riders disagree and are switching brands. BMW’s reputation for building the most reliable motorcycles has been damaged within the long distance riding community. More long distance riders now consider motorcycles made by Honda and Yamaha to be inherently more durable than those produced by BMW. How many riders show up on BMWs in 2011 probably depends on whether there are DNFs caused by mechanical failures this year.

The percentage of Iron Butt Rally riders on BMWs has dropped to 35% this year, down from 43% in 2007. Due in part to several BMW riders switching to Hondas, the percentage of riders on Hondas has increased from 28% to 36%. Yamaha has 19% of the entries, up several percent from 2007.

The Riders
Experience indicates that about 100 is a manageable number of riders for the Iron Butt Rally. More than 100 riders cause unacceptable delays in check-in, scoring, and the all important review of the documentation for the top riders before the final awards banquet. In recent years, the popularity of the Rally has been such that significantly more than 100 riders apply. The process used to select among the applicants has been designed to ensure variety.
All applications are initially divided into five categories, the smallest of which is for entrants selected at the discretion of the Rallymaster and the President of the Rally. Historically, this category has primarily been used to ensure that a few antique or otherwise "hopeless" motorcycles are given a chance. The discretionary category is occasionally used to ensure that an individual considered particularly deserving of a position will be in the field.

Except for the few discretionary positions, all other entries are divided into three categories: (1) Iron Butt Rally veterans, (2) IBA Premier Members, and (3) other new riders. ("Premier Members" are those members of the IBA who pay $40 per year for a special membership status that includes a newsletter and will soon include a quarterly magazine.) Applications in each category go into separate boxes. About 35 envelopes are initially drawn from the veterans’ box. If more than 35 veterans apply, the remaining applications from veterans are mixed in with the applications in the box for "other new riders." Next, about 35 applications are drawn from the box for "Premier" members. If more than 35 Premier members apply, the remaining applications from Premier members are also mixed into the box with applications from other new riders. A final drawing of about 35 applications from the last box is then made.

Because of the rider selection process, Iron Butt Rally riders fall into several distinct categories. At one end of the spectrum are experienced endurance riders with the proven ability to maintain a 1,000 mile a day pace, to select a good route from a complicated bonus listing, to navigate the route efficiently, and to avoid making stupid mistakes. Their goal is either to win or place very highly. They will be pushing themselves to their personal limits. At the other end of the spectrum are relatively inexperienced riders, many of whom will end up withdrawing from the rally once they find out that they have bitten off more than they can chew.

Only 364 people have ever finished the Rally since it was first held in 1984. 40 of the riders in this year’s rally are returning veterans. More than half of the field will be riding the Iron Butt Rally for the first time. Several riders have tried before but failed to achieve finisher status, sometimes because they didn’t score enough bonus points.
The returning veterans include 1999 winner George Barnes, who recently moved to the State of Washington, and who is clearly capable of becoming the first two-time winner of the "modern" version of the Iron Butt Rally that was first run in 1991. (Under the old rally format with two dozen or fewer riders, George Egloff tied for first in 1984 and then won the 1985 Rally.) Barnes won the 1999 rally riding a BMW and he will be on a BMW K1200LT this year.
Another returning veteran is Jim Owen from Pennsylvania, who finished 2
nd in 2007 and who was denied victory in the 2005 rally by a mechanical failure only 12 hours from the finish. Jim will be riding the same BMW R1200RT he rode in 2007, but with a freshly re-wired auxiliary electrical system for his accessories.

Other veterans who were top ten finishers in previous rallies include Californians Eric Jewell (riding a Honda ST1300) and Alan Barbic (riding a Honda ST1300); Chris Sakala from Maryland (riding a BMW R1200RT); Jeff Earls from Oregon (riding a BMW K1200GT); Mike Evans from New York (riding a Yamaha FJR1300); Tom Loftus from Virginia (riding a Honda ST1300); and Greg Marbach from Arizona (riding a Yamaha FJR1300).

The other returning veterans are:
Paul Allison (United Kingdom) riding a Honda GL1800;
Kendall Anderson (South Carolina) riding a Moto Guzzi Norge; Jim Bain (South Carolina) riding a BMW K1200LT;
Dave Biasotti (California) riding a BMW R1150RT;
Richard Buber (Florida) riding a BMW R1150RT;
John Ferber (Canada) riding a BMW R1200GSA;
Jim Frens (New Hamphire) riding a Honda GL1800;
Art Garvin (Ohio) riding a Honda GL1800;
Kevin Healey (Florida) riding a Triumph Trophy;
Mike Hutsal (Canada) riding a Honda ST1300;
Vance Keeney (Nevada) riding a BMW K1200GT;
Terry and Lynda Lahman (Washington) riding a Honda GL1800; John Langan (California) riding a Honda GL1800;
Mike Langford (North Carolina) riding a BMW K1200LT;
Bob Lyskowski (New Hampshire) riding a Harley FLHT;
Gerhard Memmen-Kreuger (Germany) riding a Honda GL1800; Rick Miller (Maryland) riding a Honda GL1800;
Andy Mills (Minnesota) riding a Victory Vision;
Bob Mutchler (California) riding a BMW R1150RT;
Rick Neeley (Colorado) riding a Honda GL1800;
Glenn Pancoast (Michigan) riding a BMW R1200RT;
Dick Peek (Utah) riding a Yamaha FJR1300;
Dennis Powell (Iowa) riding a Honda GL1800;
Brian Roberts (Nevada) riding a Honda ST1300;
Rick Sauter (Canada) riding a Honda GL1800;
Thane Silliker (Canada) riding a Honda ST1100;
Tom and Rosie Sperry (California) riding a Honda GL1800;
Bob St. George (Massachusetts) riding a Yamaha FJR1300;
Bill Thweatt (North Carolina) riding a Honda ST1300;
Bob and Sylvie Torter (Montana) riding a BMW K1200GT; and Matt Watkins (Washington) riding a Yamaha FJR1300.

Seven riders with previous Iron Butt Rally experience who are trying again to achieve finisher status are:
David Bourdeaux (Indiana) riding a Honda GL1800;
Bob Collin (Maine) riding a BMW R1200RT;
Maura Gatensby (Canada) riding a Honda ST1300;
Chris McGaffin (Ireland) riding a Yamaha FJR1300; -7-
Jim Mulcahy (Oklahoma) riding a Yamaha FJR1300;
Joel Rappoport (North Carolina) riding a BMW R60/6 (512,000 miles!); and Bill Wade (New Jersey) riding a BMW R1200GSA.

These riders learned a lot in 2007 and stand a much better chance of finishing this year.

54 entrants competing in the Iron Butt Rally for the first time are:

Jennyfer Audet (Canada) riding a Honda CBR1100XX;
Jeff and Milinda Bakker (Colorado) riding a Honda GL1800; Phil Becker (Minnesota) riding a Honda ST1100;
Peter Behm (Minnesota) riding a Yamaha FJR1300;
Barry Bertram (Illinois) riding a Suzuki RE5;
Tom Bisagni (New York) riding a Yamaha FJR1300;
Charlie Clemmer (Texas) riding a BMW R1200RT;
Bob Collins (Texas) riding a Honda GL1800;
Mark Crane (California) riding a BMW R1200GSA;
Wendy Crockett (California) riding a Yamaha FJR1300;
Derek Dickson (Minnesota) riding a Yamaha FJR1300;
Mark Dieck (California) riding a Yamaha FJR1300;
Kurt Dix (Florida) riding a Kawasaki Concours;
Bob Elliott (Georgia) riding a BMW R1200GS;
Don Fitzgerald (California) riding a Yamaha FJR1300;
Jeff and Carol Fremder (Wisconsin) riding a BMW R1150RT; Chuck Gittner (Florida) riding a BMW K1200LT;
Bo Griffin (Texas) riding a BMW R1200GSA;
Alex Harper (California) riding a Suzuki RE5;
David Hicks (California) riding a Yamaha FJR1300;
Tony Hudson (South Carolina) riding a Honda ST1300;
Brian Jack (Washington) riding a BMW R1150GS;
Gary Jarl (Canada) riding a BMW R1200RT;
Davo Jones (Australia) riding a Kawasaki Concours 14;
John Jordan (Washington) riding a BMW R1150GSA;
Kent Kidwell (Virginia) riding a BMW R1200RT;
Andy Kirby (Massachusetts) riding a Honda ST1300;
Scott LaShier (Virginia) riding a Honda ST1300;
Kevin Lechner (Georgia) riding a Honda ST1300;
Joseph Leggett (Wisconsin) riding a BMW R1200GSA;
David Legnosky (California) riding a Honda GL1800;
Bob Lilley (Pennsylvania) riding a BMW K1200LT;
Ken Meese (California) riding a BMW K1200GT;
Terry Neale (California) riding a Yamaha FJR1300;
Buford Neeley (Mississippi) riding a Yamaha FJR1300;
David Nelson (Minnesota) riding a Honda GL1800;
Nancy Oswald (Maryland) riding a BMW R1200GS;
Winston Oxley (Texas) riding a BMW R1150RS;
Margaret Peart (Australia) riding a BMW R1200GS;
David Porter (New Mexico) riding a Yamaha FJR1300; -8-
Bill Rauschenberg (New York) riding a BMW R1200GSA;
Greg Rice (Florida) riding a Honda GL1800;
David Riley (New Hampshire) riding a Honda GL1800;
Larry Scalzitti (Illinois) riding a BMW R1150GS;
Stephen Short (Missouri) riding a Honda GL1800;
Roger Sinclair (Virginia) riding a BMW Concours 14;
Kevin Smart (Michigan) riding a Honda GL1100;
John Stanforth (Ohio) riding a Honda GL1800;
Sal Terranova (New York) riding a Honda ST1100;
Jacques Titolo (Canada) riding a Kawasaki ZX12R;
Neil Ward (Canada) riding a Kawasaki KLR650;
Doug Webb (California) riding a BMW R1200GSA;
Jerry White (California) riding a Yamaha FJR1300; and
Chris Whitmore (Maine) riding a Yamaha FJR1300

One of the "rookies" in this year’s rally with a good shot at winning is Ken Meese. Meese was offered a slot in this year’s rally due to his extraordinary string of four victories in shorter endurance events earlier this year. However, Ken is no stranger to multi-day rallies. Last year, he came within an eyelash of winning the 7-day SPANK rally. With more points in hand than eventual winner Matt Watkins, Ken became a DNF (did not finish) when the final drive on his BMW K1200GT failed just over 200 miles from the finish line. Meese is taking a chance on the same bike in this rally. But, like Jeff Earls, he will be carrying a spare final drive.

The Hopeless Class
Alex Harper and Barry Bertram will be riding mid-1970’s vintage Suzuki RE-5s, the same rotary engine model that was ridden to a tie for first place by George Egloff in the 1984 Iron Butt Rally. Bertram’s bike appears to have been meticulous restored. Based on the way it looks, it could finish. (However, looks can be deceiving, and Bertram has never competed in a rally before.) In contrast, Harper’s bike looks like it will be lucky to make the first checkpoint. However, Harper has previous rally experience.

I suppose Kevin Smart also has to be put in the Hopeless Class with his 1982 Honda GL1100. Kevin at least has some rally experience and GL1100s are fairly durable bikes if properly maintained.

In 2007, Joel Rappoport was in the Hopeless Class with his BMW R60/6. This year, Joel will be making his second attempt to become an Iron Butt Rally finisher aboard the same bike that he purchased new 33 years ago. It’s the only motorcycle he has owned since then. When it crosses the starting line, it will have over 512,000 miles on it. It’s probably the most reliable BMW entered in the rally. I’m betting on Joel to be a finisher this year. Neither he nor the bike are hopeless.

Women and 2-Up Teams
There are 10 women entered, 5 riding pillion and 5 piloting their own bike. The veteran pillion riders are Rosie Sperry (riding with husband Tom), Silvie Torter (riding with husband Bob), and Lynda Lahman (riding with husband Terry). The rookies are Carol Fremder (riding with husband Jeff) and Milinda Bakker (riding with husband Jeff). All of these two-up entries have rally experience, but the Lahmans and the Sperrys are the most likely gold medal category finishers.

Of the women riding their own bike, none have ever finished an Iron Butt Rally. Maura Gatensby rode in the 2007 rally, but didn’t score enough points to qualify as a finisher. She is determined not to let that happen this year. Nancy Oswald has rally experience, as does Margaret Peart and Jennyfer Audet. Wendy Crockett is the only woman without rally experience, but her 50,000 mile per year average has to be near the highest among all of the riders.

The Media Seminar
The highlight of the day, at least for some riders, was the media seminar at 2 p.m. This is the event at which riders are given advice on how to respond to any press at the checkpoints or the finish and, more specifically, how to avoid being baited into answering questions designed to make it appear as though the Iron Butt Rally is about high-speed riding in a sleep-deprived state. The same kind of information was provided this year, but there was an important addition.

Bob Higdon kicked off the seminar with a few choice comments about the cavalier attitude being demonstrated by more than a few riders who have been planning on doing a series of blog posts during the course of the rally. In his typical diplomatic fashion, Bob gently advised the riders that Rally staff are not pleased with the tone or the content of the pre-rally posts. More importantly, Bob made the point that some of the riders don’t seem to understand that safely completing this rally requires 100% of a rider’s concentration. Riders were advised in the strongest possible terms to forget about blogging or Twittering until the Rally is over.

Following the completion of tech inspection and rider check-in, the riders meeting is at 2:00 tomorrow afternoon. The pre-rally banquet begins at 5:30. The first leg bonus listing will probably handed out by about 6:30 p.m. Riders will then have to make the first important decision of this rally: How much time to spend optimizing their route for Leg 1 and much time to leave for sleep.

Tom Austin
August 22, 2009

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2009 Iron Butt Rally, Day -1

Sunday, August 23, 2009
Only a few riders had to get through tech inspection today, but the parking garage and parking lot were still bustling with activity as many riders proceeded to violate Rule Number 5 from the Iron Butt Association Archives of Wisdom:
"Avoid adding accessories or doing maintenance immediately before a trip."

Actually, many of the riders violated the rule last week and are trying to fix problems today that cropped up on their ride to the start of the 2009 Iron Butt Rally.

John Harrison and I had to do two additional fuel capacity measurements on motorcycles equipped with auxiliary fuel cells that appeared to be very close to the limit based on their external dimensions. Mike Langford’s custom made aluminum cell on his K1200LT took 4.97 gallons, putting him 0.2 gallon under the 11.5 gallon limit.

Greg Roberts Holds a Light for John Harrison During a Fuel Density Test
-1- -2-
The auxiliary cell on Ken Meese’s K1200GT was a closer call. Ken’s high-density polyethylene cell from Summit Racing is supposedly rated at 5 gallons, but another rider with the same cell claimed to have been able to put 5.2 gallons in the cell. With a 6.3 gallon OEM tank, that would put Ken right at the limit.

Ken might be fortunate that we did the measurement in the parking garage rather than after the cell had been sitting in the sun for a while. The "5 gallon" cell took on 5.14 gallons, bringing his total volume to 11.44 gallons, the highest volume recorded during the weekend.

Riders’ Meeting
The Riders’ Meeting started today at 2:00 p.m.
Chief Technical Inspector Dale "Warchild" Wilson started the meeting with an admonishment to riders that the rally was essentially starting right now and they needed to get very serious and not waste anyone’s time with humor or stupid questions. Dale then explained the procedure for the start tomorrow morning, during which odometer readings will be recorded and rider identification tags will be punched. Riders were advised that "you need to be at your motorcycle at 8:30 a.m." Anyone who shows up late won’t be cleared to leave until after the others have left at 10 a.m.

As the current custodian of the Iron Butt Rally rules, I spent quite a bit of time reviewing the most significant changes in the rules since the 2007 Rally and reviewing a few rules that some riders have had difficulty with in the past. The highlights of what the riders were told are as follows:
Electronic Waypoints – For the first time in an Iron Butt Rally, bonus locations are being provided electronically this year. At the beginning of each leg, each rider will receive a thumb drive containing the bonus locations for the leg in three different formats: gdb, gpx, and txt. All of the riders have had the opportunity to practice with sample versions of waypoint files to make sure they know how to load them into their mapping program.

What the riders learned at the meeting is that they will each be receiving unique files that have been encoded to allow each file to be associated with a specific rider. I made it clear that sharing these files with any other person will be grounds for disqualification, so don’t expect to see them posted on some riders’ forum later tonight.

Routing Assistance – In previous rallies, the rules allowed riders to receive routing assistance from "a trusted friend with a computer." Some riders ended up using a small army of friends who assumed total responsibility for route planning, giving the rider extra time to sleep. Because this fundamentally changed the concept of the Iron Butt Rally being a competition between individual riders, the rules have been changed. The new rules state that "outside assistance with route planning is prohibited." First time Iron Butt Rally riders are allowed to receive limited assistance from designated IBR staff, but staff assistance will be focused on helping plan a conservative route, not a winning route. The prohibition against outside assistance in routing was stressed. -3-

Teams – Under the new rule banning outside assistance with routing, two or more riders can still work together to plan a route provided they inform the Rallymaster in advance that they are riding as a team for one or more legs of the rally. Once a team is formed, the team members must actually ride together to each bonus location. If any rider involved in a team effort fails to reach the same bonus locations as other riders involved in the team effort, then each rider in the team incurs a 10,000 point penalty for the leg. Upon notifying the Rallymaster, a team may be dissolved at completion of a leg before the bonus listings are distributed for a subsequent leg.

As soon as the new rule regarding teams was published there was a flurry of questions regarding how it would be interpreted. Riders have asked whether all team members receive a 10,000 point penalty if one team member is unable to continue because of some extraordinary reason. At the Riders’ Meeting, it was made crystal clear that the penalty applies regardless of what the reason is, whether it’s a mechanical breakdown, an accident, an illness, or an alien abduction. Riders must either succeed as a team or fail as a team.

Digital Photographs – One of the other new features of this year’s rally is that the riders are allowed to use digital cameras. When I asked how many riders were NOT using a digital camera, only two hands were raised. To eliminate the need for scorers to deal with a variety of different memory cards, an extra step has been added to the scoring process. Before going to the scoring table, riders will first take their memory card to a table where IBR staff (Dave McQueeney and Bill Shaw) will collect the memory cards and copy the files to the thumb drive on which the rider received the waypoints for the leg.

A few other minor changes in this year’s scoring process were also explained. I ended my comments with a sobering message on the importance of knowing when to quit, directed at the rookies who have never competed in a multi-day rally.

At the end of the Rider’s Meeting, the thumb drives containing the waypoint files were distributed to the riders (without the bonus listings) and everyone was told to let IBR staff know immediately of any problem loading them into a mapping program. (Just a couple of riders had problems that were quickly resolved.)

Just before the start of the banquet, riders gathered on one of the hotel stairways for a group photo taken by Steve Hobart.

The banquet buffet began at 5:30 p.m. Although everyone was focused on the upcoming rally, the buffet was really excellent, with pulled pork, barbequed ribs, fried chicken, Hoppin’ John (a black-eyed pea and rice dish), mashed potatoes and gravy, perfectly prepared green beans, two salad choices, corn bread, and peach cobbler for dessert.
Group Photo on the Day Before the Start
As riders, guests, and staff were finishing their dinners, Mike Kneebone welcomed everyone to the 14
th running of the Iron Butt Rally. Mike read the names of staff and volunteers who have been efficiently getting the riders through the check-in process all weekend. Mike then called me to the podium to go over a few last minute rule clarifications and to announce the target Leg 1 point value to ensure finisher status (9000).

-4- -5-
Mike then called up Alex Harper and Barry Bertram, the two Suzuki RE-5 riders, and made sure everyone understood the historic significance of their attempt to finish on one of the same model motorcycles that tied for first place in the first Iron Butt Rally 25 years ago. Alex and Barry were assigned rider numbers 1 and 2 and then handed their Leg 1 bonus listings in a sealed envelope.
Rider number 3 was assigned to Joel Rappoport, who is riding the BMW R60/6 with half a million miles on it. (Due to a typo in the original version of yesterday’s report, it might have appeared that IBR staff is helping Joel with his routing; however, we are only rooting for him, not routing for him, at least not on Leg 1.)

At that point Kneebone turned the podium over to Bob Higdon, the architect of this year’s rally, to announce the remaining rider numbers. Numbers 4 through 17 were primarily assigned to riders from outside the U.S.: nine Canadians, two Australians, one rider each from the UK, Germany, and Ireland. (Number 8 went to Californian Alan Barbic; Canadian Neil Ward was assigned number 56.)
Rider numbers 18 to 24 were assigned to former top ten finishers; number 25 to 47 went to other IBR veterans; numbers 48 to 52 went to the five 2-up couples; and numbers 53 to 101 went to the remaining riders in no particular order.

The Leg 1 Bonus Listing
In recent years, there has been a "theme" for each Iron Butt Rally. In 2007, it was National Landmarks. In 2005, it was lighthouses. When the word leaked out that Bob Higdon was the architect of the 2009 rally, speculation was that the theme would be courthouses. This made perfect sense because, in 2008, the IBA’s Chief Legal Counsel completed his quest to visit and photograph every county courthouse in the contiguous 48 states. There are a number of courthouses serving as bonus locations this year, but that’s not the theme.

When riders were told they could open the envelope containing their bonus listing, the theme of this year’s rally became clear to those who hadn’t yet figured it out from the artwork on the shirts and posters and yellow lanyards for rider I.D. cards imprinted with "Crime Scene – Do Not Cross." Every bonus location has something to do with crime.

Some of the bonus locations are the scenes of crimes that everyone has heard about because they made national or even international news. At the other end of the spectrum are the scenes of crimes most people have never heard about because they occurred so long ago or were never covered by the national news media. The nature of the crimes described in the bonus locations range from some of the most horrendous examples of pure evil to some of the most hilarious examples of human stupidity. Riders will visit locations where crimes were committed by mass murderers, hypocritical politicians, and some of the most pathetic examples of human debris. -6-

The options for Leg 1
The biggest single bonus on leg 1 is 12,683 points for a photo of the entrance sign to Saanich Peninsula Hospital, in Saanich, British Columbia. As explained in the bonus listing, this is the hospital where construction foreman Gavin Docherty was taken following a nail gun accident with a spike protruding from his forehead. But the crime had nothing to do with the nail gun accident. While being rushed to the hospital by his company’s first-aid officer, a sharp-eyed patrolman noticed that Docherty wasn’t wearing his seat belt. Docherty was given a ticket for $167 before the driver was allowed to continue to the emergency room.

With only 60 hours to get to the first checkpoint, the 5,100 mile ride required to bag the Saanich bonus is out of the question. Hopefully, few riders will spend much time checking the route. Comments made by Rallymaster Lisa Landry made it crystal clear that this is an example of an impossible bonus. The point was to make it clear that just because something is contained in the bonus listing doesn’t mean it’s possible.

A more realistic biggie on Leg 1 is the 6,652 point Dike Bridge bonus on Chappaquiddick Island in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The instructions and the bonus description read as follows:
Take a photo of your bike at the near end of Dike Bridge and produce a receipt for you and your bike for the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. Note: This is an expensive round trip on the ferry. Motorcycles are first come, first served and space is very limited.
Category: Leaving the scene of an accident
On the night of 7/18/1969 Senator Edward Kennedy drove off this bridge, leaving one of his political aides, Mary Jo Kopechne, trapped in the car to drown. Because the ferry had stopped running for the night, Kennedy swam back over to the main island and did not report the accident until 10 hours later.
(This particular bonus provides a pretty good example of the level of political correctness and sensitivity that has been used throughout the development of this year’s Rally.)

Many riders are likely to shy away from this bonus because of the uncertainty associated with the required ferry ride. Tomorrow morning, we will find out how many riders are headed to Martha’s Vineyard.

Less risk might be associated with a Southern loop with a turn-around in Key West. In past years, Key West has usually been considered a "sucker bonus." Will that be the case again this year? During the 2005 rally, Key West was a popular choice on the first leg because it was big points for a simple ride with relatively few other bonus options to complicate route planning. But, it wasn’t a good choice. In the 2007 Rally, however, a route built around Key West made more sense. Brett Donahue took that route and ended up the 3
rd place finisher. -7-

Jeff Earls Describes His Preliminary Route Plan to Mike Kneebone
Tonight 101 riders are struggling with some difficult choices for where they will be riding for the next three days. At 8:30 a.m. tomorrow, we will know who is headed where.

Tom Austin
August 23, 2009
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2009 Iron Butt Rally, Day 1

Monday, August 24, 2009
The Rally is off to a relatively smooth start. A few riders forgetting to turn off their many electrical accessories last night resulted in three bikes with dead batteries this morning. Sal Terranova’s ST1100 got a push start; my SUV was used to jump start Maura Gatensby’s ST1300 and Tom and Rosie Sperry’s GL1800.

International Cooperation at the Iron Butt Rally,
A Jump from a German Vehicle Brings Sperry’s Wing Back to Life
During the final odometer check that began at 8:30 a.m., Rally staff asked each rider where they were headed. Most of the field is heading to Florida. Seven say they intend to ride all of the way to the perennial Key West bonus. About 20 riders are going to try for the big points on Martha’s Vineyard. Tomorrow I will provide some details on the points likely to be available on several of the alternative routes.
The Starting Grid at the Spartanburg Marriott
Within four minutes of 10:00 a.m., 99 motorcycles were on the road. A few minutes later, one of the bikes with a revived battery was also rolling. The last rider out of the lot was George Barnes. George took extra time to make some last minute changes to his route plan.

It was smooth sailing to the Interstate for the riders who left on schedule. The Spartanburg Police Department was kind enough to shut down every intersection and escort the parade of motorcycles out of town.

Bonus Number One
The first bonus for the majority of the riders was at the nearby BMW factory in Greer, South Carolina. At 666 points, a number at least one rider probably associates with BMW (see below), it was too big to ignore given its proximity to the starting line. After a short 18 mile ride to the bonus, the BMW Visitor’s Center was a mob scene. The bonus instructions read as follow:
Park in the visitors’ lot nearest the coordinates and walk approximately 100 yards to the museum entrance. Once inside, take a photo of Ed Culberson’s 1981 R80G/S, Amigo.
Category: Failure to keep making one of the more reliable Iron Butt motorcycles ever built.
In 1985-86 Amigo became the first vehicle to travel the length of the western hemisphere nearly from pole to pole. Ridden by Ed Culberson, a retired Army officer and chief MSF instructor, the motorcycle survived unimaginable hardships during the journey, including a 12-day trek through the Darien gap. That unfinished section of the Pan-American Highway, 67 miles of trackless jungle between Panama and Colombia, had never previously been traversed by anyone except on foot.
Riders Await the 10:30 a.m. Opening of the Window for the BMW Bonus
Mark Crane Expresses Satisfaction at Scoring His First Bonus
Bonus Choices
Riders had to choose between 124 separate bonus locations on Leg 1. Except for one impossible bonus in British Columbia, all of the bonuses are located east of the Mississippi, but they range from as far south as Key West, Florida to as far north as the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan. The figure below provides an overview of all of the Leg 1 bonus locations (plus a few extraneous locations thrown in to keep the riders on their toes).
Leg 1 Bonus Locations
Although the precise locations are not discernable, it is obvious that riders have a lot of options to choose from regardless of which direction they are headed.
Mechanical Failure Number One

Within three hours of the start, Rallymaster Lisa Landry received the first call from a rider with an apparently serious mechanical problem. Jim Bain reports that the clutch in his 2003 BMW K1200LT has started slipping badly. He thinks it might be the notorious "slave cylinder" failure. This is another one of the "isolated" (BMW-speak) problems this particular model has had. Jim has already contacted BMW Atlanta owner and IBR veteran Bob Wooldridge who is going to try to get the bike fixed tomorrow. Whether Jim will be able to make it to St. Charles in time is uncertain, but he’s not out yet. Although his bonus point total for Leg 1 will be light, he is a Rally veteran who is more than capable of scoring enough points on subsequent legs to achieve finisher status.
-4- -5-

Brain Fart Number One
At 2:37 p.m. Pacific time today the first call-in bonus was received. The rider had obviously paid attention during the riders’ meeting and provided all five required items: name, rider number, current location, last bonus scored, and next bonus headed for. The only problem is that the call-in bonus window doesn’t open until noon tomorrow. Too bad we don’t give points for entertaining the IBR staff. The Rallymaster was laughing so hard that she actually started crying.

In addition to providing more detail on route options tomorrow, the locations of individual riders will be available from the first of the call-in bonuses. Tonight, Rally staff is packing up for the trip to Checkpoint 1. We will arrive in St. Charles early tomorrow evening. The Tuesday report probably won’t get posted until early Wednesday morning because the call-in bonus window runs from noon tomorrow until midnight Pacific time.

Tom Austin
August 24, 2009
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2009 Iron Butt Rally, Day 2
Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Now that the riders are committed to their route choices, we can provide some more detail on what the options were for Leg 1. There are 60 hours between the 10 a.m. start in Spartanburg, SC, on Monday morning and the 9 p.m. opening of the Checkpoint 1 window in St. Charles, IL, tomorrow night. If a rider plans to take an 8 hour rest stop on both Monday and Tuesday nights, that would leave 44 hours of riding and bonus collection time.

Assuming a rider’s bonus choices are limited to locations that are relatively easy to get to, that don’t require much time to be spent on slow, local roadways, it might be reasonable to expect an average speed of 55-60 mph. At that speed, a Leg 1 route length of about 2,500 miles would appear to be reasonable. Holding the rest periods down to about 12 hours total, a 60 mph average for the remaining available time results in a total travel distance of about 2,900 miles. Experienced riders should have been evaluating the Leg 1 bonus options with numbers like these in mind.

As noted in earlier reports, a quick skim through the Leg 1 bonus listing shows the two biggest bonuses to be Saanich Hospital in British Columbia (12,683 points) and Dike Bridge on Martha’s Vineyard (6,652 points). Riders would also quickly determine that only 5 other bonuses on Leg 1 exceed 1,000 points. The biggest of those is the 1,807 point Sloppy Joe’s Bar bonus in Key West, Florida, the next biggest is the 1,525 point Miccosukee Resort bonus in Miami, and the next biggest is the 1,306 point Charleston Square bonus in Boynton Beach, Florida.

The remaining bonuses above 1,000 points are the 1,031 point Sturgis House bonus in East Liverpool, Ohio, (with a 9 a.m. to noon time window on Wednesday) and the 1,014 point Meriwether Lewis National Monument bonus in Hohenwald, Tennessee.

Ignoring more than 100 smaller bonuses for time being, and since going to British Columbia is clearly out of the question, there are two basic options that emerge: (1) build a route around Martha’s Vineyard, or (2) build a route around the high point bonuses in Florida. Before getting down to detailed routing, it is clear that the 1,013 point bonus in East Liverpool, Ohio, is not far off the most direct route back from Martha’s Vineyard and the 1,014 point bonus in Hohenwald, TN, is not far off the most direct route back from Florida.

Keeping in mind that riders were told they should have a 9,000 point target for Leg 1 to be a finisher, and recalling that the gas log and call-in bonus are good for 1,250 points, it is apparent that Martha’s Vineyard and Sturgis House, just two bonus locations, can give a rider almost enough (8,933 points) to make the finisher target. It is also apparent that Key West, Miami, Boynton Beach, FL, and Hohenwald, TN, are good for almost 7,000 points when added to the gas log and the call-in bonus.
Now let’s look at these two options in more detail. -2-
Is Key West a Good Choice?

The trip from Spartanburg to Key West to St. Charles is 2,458 miles, which is within the 2,500 mile route length for a rider wanting to get 8-hour rest periods on both Monday and Tuesday night. But the most direct route won’t hit all of the other 1,000+ point bonus locations available. Spending some time with a mapping program, it can be seen that the point total available with a route based on Key West can be in the neighborhood of 13,000 points with a total route distance of just under 3,000 miles. Since that’s slightly over the 2,900 mile distance associated with maintaining a 60 mph pace with just 12 hours off the bike, it’s a hard ride, but the points are 44% above the finisher target, putting the total well into the Gold Medal range.
So we can answer the question about whether Key West is a good choice with a "definite maybe" as long as a rider pays attention to the time windows for the other bonuses along the route and makes the run out to Key West at night when the traffic is lighter and speeds will be higher. But it’s too hard a ride for many of the riders more focused on just being a finisher.

Turning Around Short of Key West
Those who have made the ride to Key West know it’s a long way to go over a relatively slow roadway for the 1,807 points that are available on this year’s Rally. A turn around in Miami provides a lot of time for side trips to other bonus locations while keeping the total route distance closer to the 2,500 mile target that riders seeking to achieve finisher status should have in mind.

One option involving a turn around in Miami is good for 9,098 points (including the gas log and call-in bonuses) with a total route distance of only 2,347 miles. This route requires riders to stop at a total of only 13 bonus locations. The first stop would be the 666 point BMW bonus right after the start. The rest of the bonus stops in the order they would occur are as follows:

The Last Resort Bar in Harbor Oaks, FL (504 points)
Veterans’ Memorial Park in Titusville, FL (713 points)
Charleston Square in Boynton Beach, FL (1,306 points)
Miccosukee Resort in Miami, FL (1,525 points)
Orlando Airport in Orlando, FL (556 points)
Gator Joe’s Bar in Ocklawaha, FL (418 points)
Emerson Alumni Hall in Gainesville, FL (317 points)
Macedonia Cemetery in Macclenny, FL (399 points)
County Line Sign in Armuchee, GA (646 points)
BB&T Bank in Russellville, KY (511 points)
Drifter’s Restaurant in Portage, IN (143 points)
Dillinger Museum in Hammond, IN (144 points)
Well over 95% of the miles are on Interstates 26, 95, 75, 24, and 65. This is the route on which the 9,000 points for finisher status are based. It’s simple, low risk, and leaves plenty of time for rest. -3-

Is Martha’s Vineyard Too Risky?
At the Sunday evening banquet, riders were told that the Martha’s Vineyard (Dike Bridge) bonus requires a ride on a ferry that doesn’t take reservations for motorcycles. They were also told that weather could be an issue and that President Obama will be vacationing on the island at the time the riders need to be there. Within about two milliseconds of hearing all of that, the majority of the riders scratched Martha’s Vineyard off of the list of possible destinations. It’s a pity they didn’t run some numbers first.

The route from Spartanburg to Martha’s Vineyard to St. Charles is only 2,100 miles, 300 miles shorter than the "finishers" route with a turn around in Miami. In addition, there are lots of relatively high point bonuses along the base route. With a few minutes on Google, it’s possible to find information about the ferries like the following:
Woods Hole is the only port that can carry both passengers and cars. Service is offered numerous times daily, with greater frequency in the busy summer months. Reservations for cars are recommended in the low-season and required in the high-season.
The cost for a motorcycle and rider is $67. Information is also readily available on the passage times. The voyage time for the Woods Hole ferry is only 45 minutes. The first ferry with auto carrying capability leaves every morning at 6 a.m. The next ferry is at 7 a.m. Departure times are staggered a bit after 7, but there is generally one ferry per hour available. As the riders were told, the ferries don’t take reservations for motorcycles, but as Jeff Earls figured out Sunday night, you can pay more and reserve a spot for a car.

While the bulk of the field was scared away from Martha’s Vineyard, the list of riders who included Martha’s Vineyard in their route reads like the Who’s Who of long distance riding. In addition to Earls, the list included Jim Owen, Chris Sakala, George Barnes, Eric Jewell, Alan Barbic, Greg Marbach, Brian Roberts, Terry Neale, Tom and Rosie Sperry, Andy Mills, Mike Hutsal, Mark Crane, Paul Allison, Bob St. George, Rick Miller, Chris McGaffin, Rick Sauter, Thane Silliker, Bob Lyskowski, Roger Sinclair, and Derek Dickson. Michael Evans and Tom Loftus were the only former top ten finishers that did not include Martha’s Vineyard on their route.

The most seasoned veterans selected a route based around Martha’s Vineyard because they understood that the time delays associated with the ferry rides were well worth it. They also had the experience necessary to know that bonuses requiring ferry rides are often "must do" bonuses on the Iron Butt Rally. In contrast, less experience riders shied away from the unknown.

The bonus selections along the route for those who headed for Martha’s Vineyard are staggering. No less than 13 bonuses are available on the way to the island and at least 15 more are available between Martha’s Vineyard and St. Charles. With a total route length of about 2,600 miles, about 15,000 points or more are available. Whether the riders who went to Martha’s Vineyard will meet or exceed this total depends on how much they sacrificed to ensure they were near the head of the line for the first ferry out this morning at 6 a.m. Riders who wanted to arrive in Woods Hole early will have blown off some of the possible bonuses along the way.

The Report from Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard
As it turns out, reservations on the ferry weren’t necessary this morning. Videographer Dean Tanji, who left Spartanburg on Sunday to get to Woods Hole early, reports that there was enough space on the 6 a.m. ferry to have accommodated everyone in the Rally. It only took about three hours for riders to make the round trip and they got to nap on the ferry ride to boot. The 22 riders who made Martha’s Vineyard the focus of their Leg 1 route are likely to be at the top of the pack when they arrive in St. Charles tomorrow night.

The First Suzuki Rotary Bites the Dust
Not that it’s any big surprise, but Barry Bertram’s RE-5 has died in West Palm Beach, Florida, before the end of Day 1. Since the report is not coming from an RE-5 expert, we are not sure exactly what happened, but it apparently involves a broken engine casting, bad noises, and lots of oil, so it can’t be good. In the spirit of comradeship not found among other competitive groups, fellow rider Kevin Healey has graciously loaned Barry his wife’s BMW F650GS that was sitting on a charger at his nearby home. Barry will ride that bike to St. Charles while arrangements are made for another bike on which Barry hopes to finish the Rally.

The First BMW is Out
Kudos to Bob Wooldridge for getting Jim Bain back on the road today, but Jim is headed home rather than to St. Charles. To quote Jim, "I don’t trust this bike." Hopefully, we will see Jim back in 2011 on a bike he can trust.

The Oldest BMW is Rockin’
Joel Rappoport made it to Key West on his R60/6 and is headed for St. Charles. He is on schedule and feeling good.

The First Rally Flag is Lost
Scorers will be looking for Jeff Earls’ mug in a lot of bonus photos for the rest of the Rally. The normally flawless Mr. Earls left his top case unlatched and it has gone bye-bye somewhere along the road.

Call-In Bonuses
There has been a flurry of activity on the call-in bonus line starting at noon Pacific time today. Rather than delay today’s report, I’ll summarize the call-in information later and get it posted tomorrow. -5-

The Checkpoint 1 window opens at 9:00 p.m. Central time tomorrow. Many riders are likely to arrive early in order to get a good night’s sleep before the bonus listings for Leg 2 are handed out at 4:00 a.m. on Thursday morning. We will make up for the lack of photos in today’s report with lots of photos of riders at the Checkpoint.

Tom Austin
August 25, 2009
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Default Re: (OT) 2009 Iron Butt Rally Underway

2009 Iron Butt Rally, Day 3
Wednesday, August 26, 2009

All 101 riders are accounted for, safe and sound. 98 riders arrived at Checkpoint 1 here in St. Charles, Illinois, before the opening of the time window; 2 riders received penalty points for arriving late. One rider, Jim Bain, has dropped out after losing a lot of time waiting for repairs to his BMW.

Jeff Earls is in first place at the end of Leg 1 with 16,629 points. Jeff scored a total of 30 bonuses in addition to the gas log bonus and the Call-In bonus. Losing his Rally flag didn’t seem to hurt much.

Jeff Earls Gets Scored by IBR Veteran Eddie James

In second place, with 16,331 points, is Jim Owen. Jim scored an amazing 36 bonuses, in addition to the gas log and Call-In bonus. The other riders in the top ten are Derek Dickson, Andy Mills, Eric Jewell, Greg Marbach, Roger Sinclair, Mike Hutsal, Chris Sakala, and Alan Barbic.

27 riders are below the 9,000 point target to be on track for finisher status, but the point values for Legs 2 and 3 are higher and there is plenty of time for these riders to get back on track.

Barry Bertram has incurred a massive 50% penalty for having to switch bikes when his 1976 Suzuki RE5 expired in Florida, but that penalty does not count against his effort to be listed as a finisher.

Jim Owen Gets Scored by Scoring Coordinator Steve Hobart

The standings for all riders at the end of Leg 1 are as follows:
Position Name Points
1 Jeff Earls 16629
2 Jim Owen 16331
3 Derek Dickson 16143
4 Andy Mills 15653
5 Eric Jewell 15076
6 Greg Marbach 15028
7 Roger Sinclair 14726
8 Mike Hutsal 14447
9 Chris Sakala 14181
10 Alan Barbic 14141
11 Rick Miller 14120
12 Tom/Rosie Sperry 13608
13 Mark Crane 13165
14 Bob St. George 13096
15 Brian Roberts 13019
16 Michael Evans 12824
17 Peter Behm 12815
18 Rick Sauter 12808
19 Chuck Gittner 12789
20 Chris McGaffin 12731
21 Thane Silliker 12576
22 Bob Lilley 12447
23 Andy Kirby 12400
24 Terry Neale 12329
25 Paul Allison 12246
26 Gerhard Memmen-Krueger 12208
27 Jim Frens 12173
28 Scott LaShier 12103
29 Dick Peek 12065
30 Tom Loftus 12031
31 Phil Becker 12030
32 Brian Jack 12030
33 Greg Rice 11946
34 Kevin Lechner 11912
35 John Langan 11769
36 Joseph Leggett 11732
37 Art Garvin 11732
38 Ken Meese 11637
39 Kurt Dix 11532
40 Matt Watkins 11507
41 Bob/Sylvie Torter 11314
42 Mike Langford 11250
43 Joel Rappoport 11221
44 Davo Jones 11211
45 Bill Thweatt 10932
46 Bob Lyskowski 10865
47 Nancy Oswald 10815
48 Richard Buber 10773
49 David Bourdeaux 10667
50 Kevin Healey 10537
51 Bill Wade 10522
52 Chris Whitmore 10512
53 Terry/Linda Lahman 10502
54 Dave Biasotti 10485
55 Vance Keeney 10357
56 Glenn Pancoast 10125
57 George Barnes 10008
58 Winston Oxley 9983
59 Bo Griffin 9795
60 Tony Hudson 9645
61 John Jordan 9595
62 Bob Elliot 9587
63 Jeff/Carol Fremder 9476
64 Sal Terranova 9427
65 Bill Rauschenberg 9421
66 Jeff/Milinda Bakker 9376 -4-
67 Bob Collin 9326
68 Steve Short 9323
69 David Porter 9299
70 Margaret Peart 9155
71 David Nelson 9126
72 Kendall Anderson 9097
73 Neil Ward 9073
74 Kent Kidwell 8983
75 Gary Jarl 8828
76 Jennyfer Audet 8817
77 Jacques Titolo 8817
78 Charlie Clemmer 8744
79 Jerry White 8698
80 John Stanforth 8670
81 John Ferber 8586
82 Dennis Powell 8559
83 Larry Scalzitti 8553
84 Wendy Crockett 8533
85 Mark Dieck 8453
86 Buford Neely 8269
87 Maura Gatensby 8032
88 Jim Mulcahy 7967
89 Alex Harper 7937
90 Bob Mutchler 7871
91 Rick Neeley 7765
92 David Hicks 7764
93 David Riley 7604
94 Tom Bisagni 7035
95 Don Fitzgerald 6988
96 Doug Webb 6939
97 Bob Collins 6893
98 David Legnosky 6145
99 Kevin Smart 5259
100 Barry Bertram 1100
101 Jim Bain DNF

Two Iron Butt Rally rookies, Derek Dickson and Roger Sinclair, are in the top ten. Of course, neither of these riders are really "rookies;" both have experience in other rallies and Dickson has won the Minnesota 1000 twice.

Not surprisingly, all of the top ten riders included the Martha’s Vineyard bonus in their route. In 12th place, the leading 2-up team, Tom and Rosie Sperry, also went to Martha’s Vineyard. A total of 23 riders included Martha’s Vineyard in their route.

30 riders went all of the way to Key West before turning around and heading north. The top finishing Key West rider was Michael Evans, who is in 16th place. 40 riders scored the Miami bonus.

The high mileage rider was Brian Jack with 3,239 miles. Brian is in 31st place. In contrast, 1st place finisher Earls rode 2,765 miles.

The bonus listing for Leg 2 gets distributed at the 4:00 a.m. riders meeting on Thursday morning. Tomorrow’s report will provide a summary of the options available.

Tom Austin
August 26, 2009
Copyright © 2009, Iron Butt Rally, Inc., Chicago, IL

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Default Re: (OT) 2009 Iron Butt Rally Underway

2009 Iron Butt Rally, Day 4
Thursday, August 27, 2009

A very brief riders meeting was held at 4 a.m. this morning. At the beginning of the meeting, Michael Kneebone read the names of the top ten finishers. There was absolutely no surprise about Jeff Earls and Jim Owen being the top two riders, but you could actually see the jaws of many of the rookies dropping when the point totals for the top ten riders were announced. The top ten have approximately double the points earned by the bottom ten riders. Dozens of riders who were hoping to finish near the top of the pack have just had a reality check.

Although most of the top ten are familiar, there were several people asking "Who is this guy Derek Dickson?" 2007 IBR winner Marty Leir tells me that seeing Derek in third place is no surprise at all. Marty describes Dickson as a "fierce" competitor with an excellent chance of a podium finish. Similarly, 7th place rider Roger Sinclair is commonly known as Bob Higdon’s mechanic. Roger doesn’t have lot of rally experience, but he lives and breathes motorcycles. He doesn’t even own a car and rides about 45,000 miles a year. Overnight, he has gone from being "Bob Higdon’s mechanic" to one of the Big Dogs on the long distance riding scene. The next leg will determine whether he is really in the same league as the other top riders.

At 30 years of age, 4th place rider Andy Mills is the youngest rider in this year’s Rally. His position is no surprise to anyone who has followed his progress. His 15th place finish in the 2007 Rally was an indication of his potential, although his upcoming nuptials make put a crimp in his rally future.

In 5th place at the end of Leg 1, Eric Jewell is also a candidate for an outright win. He has consistently been a strong finisher since winning the first 5-day Butt Lite Rally in 1999 and finishing 5th in the IBR that same year.

In 6th place, 9th place, and 10th place respectively, Greg Marbach, Chris Sakala, and Alan Barbic have all finished in the top ten before. Although Mike Hutsal has never had a podium finish, , his 8th place at the end of Leg 1 is totally consistent with the very strong ride he was having in 2007 before T-boning a deer.

After Kneebone announced the top ten, I announced that the "finisher" level point target for this leg will be 27,000. As described in more detail below, I told the riders that this was no ordinary leg in that the biggest bonuses would be in reach for virtually all of the riders.

By about 4:15 a.m., the Leg 2 bonus listings and the Leg 2 thumb drives were distributed. Riders headed back to their rooms to plan the next 3 ½ days of their lives.

Not Your Ordinary Bonus Listing
Generally, an Iron Butt Rally Bonus listing contains at least one extremely high point bonus that is physically impossible and several very high point bonuses that are out of the question for all but the strongest riders. This is not the case with Leg 2 on the 2009 Rally.

None of the bonuses on Leg 2 have as high a point value as either the impossible Saanich Hospital bonus or the 6,652 point bonus on Martha’s Vineyard, but there are a greater number of >1,000 point bonuses. The biggest of the 18 1,000+ point bonuses is the 5,125 point bonus in Minot, North Dakota. That bonus is in the general vicinity of a 2,665 point bonus in Bismarck, ND, and not too far from a 4,116 bonus at the Little Big Horn Battlefield Memorial in Montana. Just these three bonuses are worth a total of 11,906 points.

Another attractive cluster of bonuses is associated with a Southern route. Riders can earn 4,145 points for visiting 2005 IBR winner Shane Smith at his home in McComb, Mississippi, and performing the following bonus instructions:

Spend a minimum of one hour asking the 2005 Iron Butt Rally winner why he isn’t defending his title these days. This bonus will be open for 12 hours from 5:00 pm on Friday, August 28 until 5:00 am on Saturday, August 29. To fulfill this bonus you MUST arrive no later than 4:00 am.

On the way to Shane’s is a 4,235 point bonus for taking a 1-hour tour of a former house of prostitution sometime on Friday. Just a few miles from Shane’s is Nyla's Burger Basket in Osyka, Mississippi. It’s worth a whopping 3,647 points and there is no time window to worry about.

The combination of the three bonuses centered around Shane’s house total 12,027 points.

The above-described three bonus combination worth about 12,000 points are mutually exclusive; riders either need to head for North Dakota or head for Shane’s. Even Jeff Earls and Jim Owen can’t do both combinations. However, what the riders are going to quickly discover is that virtually everyone, even riders currently at the bottom of the pack, will have the time to make one of these 12,000 point combinations on Leg 2.

As shown on the figure below, there are once again more than 100 bonuses to choose from and, like on Leg 1, they are spread over about one-third of the country. Unlike on Leg 1, there are no bonuses in Canada. Those who head for the high point cluster to the northwest will undoubtedly be coming down through Colorado on their way to Santa Ana. Those who head south appear to have a number of options available as they head west along I-10 or I-40.

Another significant factor on Leg 2 is that one of the biggest bonuses is for documenting a 4-hour rest period. Since this is a 3 ½ day leg, every single rider is going to absolutely need more than that amount of rest and, at 4,001 points, a rider would have to be crazy to pass this bonus up given that it requires just a few minutes of paperwork.

The gas bonus on Leg 2 is increased to 1,500 points. In addition, there are two Call-In bonuses on this leg and they are each worth twice as much as the Call-In bonus on Leg 1.
The combination of the rest bonus, gas bonus, and Call-In bonuses provide riders the opportunity to score 6,501 points for extremely little effort.

Leg 2 Bonus Options

The Leg 2 Rest Bonus

************************************************** *********************
Rest Bonus no specific location 4,001 Must start on Friday, August 28, 2009
Stop for four (4) or more hours. Document this stop as follows:
___ at the start of the rest period, obtain a machine generated receipt with date and time from a location, for example, a gas station, a motel, a store, etc.
___ at the end of the rest period, obtain a dated, time receipt from the same or nearby location in the same town.
Our preference is that you also include your motel receipt with this bonus if you motel it, however, it is not required.
WARNING: We are giving you wide latitude on this bonus with few restrictions so that you may have the flexibility to use it as needed. However, we want to stress that if you are caught bending the rules in the slightest, you will be expelled from the rally. This bonus DOES NOT mean ‘get a receipt and go collect bonuses.’ It means stop and rest.
Date: ________ Time: _______ Odometer: ________ Code: R4 Approved: _________
************************************************** *********************

Adding 6,501 points for paperwork and a couple of 2-minute phone calls to one of the 12,000 point, 3-bonus combinations brings a rider to over 18,000 points. Less than 9,000 additional points will be required to reach the "finisher" target and any rider with the ability to route their way out of a wet paper bag will be able to come up with a route that does this while providing 8-hours per night off the bike.

One of the routes that exceeds 27,000 points is under 3,600 miles and requires only 15 total bonuses, in addition to the rest bonus, the gas bonus, and the Call-In bonuses. With 91 hours between the distribution of the bonus listing and the opening of the Checkpoint 2 window, the average speed required over this route is 40 mph. Accounting for 24 hours of down time of the bike, the average speed while on the bike is just 54 mph. Given the relatively few bonus stops required, it’s within the capabilities of almost everyone in the Rally.

Messages from the Riders
I know this will come as a complete surprise, but the second Suzuki RE5, being ridden by Alex Harper, has broken down in Iowa on Day 4. Lisa is unable to provide additional details because her calls to Alex are being dumped into voicemail.

Two more riders are out. Kendall Anderson and Phil Becker have withdrawn from the rally for personal reasons.

The first Call-In bonus is from 12:01 a.m. until noon tomorrow Pacific Time. I’ll post a summary of where everyone is headed tomorrow night.

Tom Austin
August 27, 2009
Copyright © 2009, Iron Butt Rally, Inc., Chicago, IL

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Default Re: (OT) 2009 Iron Butt Rally Underway

Leg 1 Bonus Listing

Keep in mind that Riders don't see these listings until the beginning of the leg. With the clock running, they have to absorb the list, glean the best possible combination of locations to grab, fab up a route, and then make all the locations (documenting the details of each bonus along with time/date/odo reading at each location). In addition is the gas log (location, receipt, time, date, odo reading, and gallons - at each gas stop) that's worth extra points.

All the while trying to make it to the next check point before the window closes.

Someone has scowered through the bonus listing and created a Google Map of leg 1 bonuses.


A less detailed map (so as not to give away things in advance) of leg 2

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Old 08-31-09, 05:36 AM   #10
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Default Re: (OT) 2009 Iron Butt Rally Underway

2009 Iron Butt Rally, Day 5
Friday, August 28, 2009

Day 5 is Taking Its Toll

At 4,235 points, Miss Laura’s Visitors’ Center is a very popular bonus location on Leg 2. The bonus reads as follows:

************************************************** ********************
Miss Laura's Visitors' Center 4,235 points See requirements below
2 North B St
Fort Smith, Arkansas
N35 23.521 - W094 25.759
Have Miss Laura entertain you for one hour. She will be available to show you her house on tours at 9:00am, 11:00am and 1:00pm on Friday, August 28, 2009. A $5.00 fee will be charged – cash only please. If you are late for a tour, you must wait until the next time window. Miss Laura will stamp this bonus listing when you complete the tour.

Category: Prostitution. Miss Laura _____________________________
While it is true that not all houses are homes, this beautiful Victorian mansion is the only former bordello listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Date: ______ Time: _______Odometer: ________ Code: MLV Approved: _________
************************************************** ********************

The instructions probably seem clear enough, but if you are reading this, you haven’t been riding the Iron Butt Rally for five days. This morning, the Rallymaster received a call from IBR veteran John Langan, who asked, "Do we actually have to take the tour?" Lisa politely asked John what part of "when you complete the tour" he was having difficulty understanding.

Another rider had a problem with the bonus at Miss Laura’s because of his concern with the time window conflict with the bonus at Shane Smith’s house. As can be seen from the language of the Miss Laura’s bonus, the earliest a rider can be expected to depart from Miss Laura’s is 10 a.m. Since it’s a 500 mile ride from to Shane’s from Miss Laura’s, and since you have to complete the 1-hour stay at Shane’s within the time window, Rick Miller decided it wasn’t possible to get both bonuses if the time window at Shane’s closes at 5 p.m. today. Unfortunately, Rick misread the bonus for Shane’s. The time window OPENS at 5 p.m. today and doesn’t close until 5 a.m. tomorrow. It’s going to be difficult for Rick to hang onto his 11
th place position with that mistake.

The Call-In bonus for today reads as follows:

************************************************** **********************
Call-In Bonus - no specific location 499 points Available August 28, 2009
12:01 am to noon Pacific time
Call <number printed in bonus listing> and leave the following information:
Your name, your rider number, your location (city/town and state/province), the last bonus you scored, and the bonus you are headed for. While it is not required for this bonus, if you have a quick story, please leave it also.
Time: _______ Odometer: ___________ Code: CIA Approved: ______________
************************************************** **********************

A staggering number of riders either couldn’t remember to do the call or couldn’t translate "12:01 am to noon Pacific time" to the time zone they were in.

No call was received from 8 riders: Dennis Powell, Tom Loftus, Doug Webb, Neil Ward, John Stanforth, Kurt Dix, Mark Crane, David Bourdeaux, and Phil Becker.

A total of 16 riders called in late: Joel Rappoport, Alan Barbic, Mike Hutsal, George Barnes, John Langan, Art Garvin, Chris Whitmore, Jerry White, Sal Terranova, David Legnosky, Joseph Leggett, Scott LaShier, Kidwell, Bob Collin, Tony Hudson, and Peter Behm. Most were not just a little late; they were hours late. Only Hudson, Garvin and Behm seemed to know they were late when they called in.
Only one rider who called during the time window missed the bonus; Bob Collins failed to give his current location.

During his successful call-in bonus, Greg Marbach acknowledged, "The wheels came off my rally last night." Greg says he pushed too hard on Leg 1 and didn’t have enough rest for the start of Leg 2. He rode very inefficiently until getting a long overdue sleep break.

Will Alex Harper Ever See His Suzuki RE5 Again?
On his call-in bonus, Alex Harper said that a farmer located in the town of Keeler, where his Suzuki RE5 broke down, not only agreed to store the bike until after the rally, the farmer had a 1985 Honda GL1200 that he sold to Alex to finish the rally on. Alex then tried to remember what state the town of Keeler is in, but he has forgotten.
At least One More Rider is Out

Bill Rauschenberg has sustained injuries as a result of a single vehicle accident and has been transported to the Medical Center in Bismarck, North Dakota. Details are sketchy at this point. We will provide an update on Bill’s condition as soon as we have more information.

Leg 2 Routing Options

As noted in yesterday’s report, there are two mutually exclusive routing options for Leg 2. Virtually every route will be built around either Minot, North Dakota or Shane Smith’s house in McComb, Mississippi. Those who head for the high point bonuses in the vicinity of Minot will probably lay out a route bringing them south through Denver. Riders who go south to Shane’s will then be headed west along a southern route.

As explained yesterday, riders can exceed the 27,000 points target for finisher status with a route under 3,600 miles requiring only 15 bonuses stops plus the rest bonus. That route is as follows:
Bonus Stop 1: Head west from the Checkpoint on Interstate 88 to I-80 and on to Iowa City, IA. At Iowa City, make a 15 mile side trip down US 218 to reach a 353 point bonus at Riverside Casino and Golf Resort in Riverside, Iowa.

Bonus Stop 2: Get back on I-80 and head west to Stuart, IA, making a quick side trip to the 363 point bonus at the Stuart Police Department.

Bonus Stop 3: From Stuart, head south on local roads to the 2,135 point Roseman Covered Bridge Gift Shop bonus in Winterset, Iowa.
Bonus Stop 4: From Winterset, take local roads to I-35 South to Liberty, MO for the 254 point Jesse James Bank Museum bonus.
Bonus Stop 5: Continue on I-35 south to Olathe, Kansas for the 236 point bonus at the Garmin factory.

Bonus Stop 6: Continue south on I-35 to US 59 and then go south on US59/US 169 to Coffeyville, KS for the 465 point bonus at the Dalton Defenders Museum.

Rest Bonus: Bonus Stop 6 is 756 miles out from Checkpoint 1. At a 55 mph average (including bonus stops), that’s almost 14 hours. Assuming a rider didn’t leave the Checkpoint until 8 a.m., it’s about 10 p.m. Bonus Stops 7, 8, and 9 are in a cluster about 150 miles further south on US62 and one of those bonuses has a 7 a.m. to sunset time window. Taking the rest bonus somewhere before Bonus Stop 7 makes sense.

Bonus Stop 7: Head south on US 169 from Coffeyville towards Tulsa, OK. Pick up I-44 west in Tulsa and then turn south on 377 to U.S. 62 head east to pick up the 339 point Citizens State Bank bonus in Paden, OK.

Bonus Stop 8: Just east of Bonus Stop 7 is the 374 point Castle, OK Post Office bonus on US 62.

Bonus Stop 9: Continue east on US 62 to the 2,291 point Highland Cemetery in Okemah, OK.

Bonus Stop 10: Just east of Bonus Stop 9, take I-40 east to Ft. Smith, Arkansas to the 4,235 point bonus at Miss Laura’s Visitors’ Center.

Bonus Stop 11: Continue east on I-40 to the 654 point Martin Luther King bonus in Memphis, TN.

Bonus Stop 12: Go south on I-55 from Memphis to the 4,145 point bonus and Shane Smith’s house in McComb, Mississipi. The approximate arrival time at Shane’s is 11 p.m., assuming the rider stretched the rest bonus to 7 hours and spent 2 hours at Miss Laura’s.

Bonus Stop 13: After leaving Shane’s, go south to the nearby Nyla’s Burger Basket bonus in Osyka, MS for 3,647 points.

At this point, it’s shortly after midnight on Friday. Assuming the rider now takes a 9 hour break, the trip to Checkpoint 2 begins at about 9 a.m. on Saturday, which is 7 a.m. Pacific Time. There are 38 hours left to travel about 1,900 miles. With another 8 hours off of the bike, the average speed required while travelling is about 63 mph. Since it’s almost all Interstate, it’s doable with only a couple of short side trips to pick up two more bonuses that are right along the shortest route.

Bonus Stop 14: The 360 point Statue of Huey Long in Baton Rouge, LA is the next obvious stop.

Bonus Stop 15: The 1,161 point Swayze Lake, LA bonus is west of the last bonus off of US 71.

At this point, riders concentrating on being finishers already have enough points. They can now make the long ride to Santa Ana without worrying about any other bonus stops. If they build up some time cushion or can get by with a little less sleep, there are a number of additional bonus possibilities along the way.

One key difference between the "finishers" route and the route for the top riders occurred yesterday, on the first day of the leg. The 4,013 point "Hobo Museum" bonus in Britt, Iowa was supposed to be available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (As it turns out, the museum opened late and closed early yesterday, but the points are still available to any rider who documented that they were in the area during the specified bonus window and took a photo of the museum.) Riders then had to hustle to get to the 2,135 point Roseman Covered Bridge Gift Shop bonus in Winterset, Iowa by 5:00 p.m. In addition to jeopardizing the Winterset, IA bonus, including the Hobo Museum adds quite a few miles to the route.

Other significant differences between the "finishers" route and the route for the top riders will show up at the other end of the route. The stronger riders will be making a number of side trips to score bonuses while riders focused on achieving finisher status are heading straight for the barn.

Based on today’s Call-In bonus reports, the majority of the field headed south yesterday, building their route around the Shane Smith bonus. At least 25 riders headed toward the northwest. A few riders seemed to be executing a route plan that was unclear.

Of the top ten riders at the end of Leg 1, only Roger Sinclair headed for Minot, ND. The other nine were all on their way to Miss Laura’s and Shane’s. As most of the top riders figured out, more points are available with a route based around Shane’s.


The second Call-In bonus is from noon to midnight tomorrow Pacific Time. Based on the spotty performance on today’s Call-In, it’s hard to tell when the calls will start coming in and when they will stop.

Tom Austin
August 28, 2009

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