Jack Tollett in an earlier post was concerned about rules changes during
the rally. I've had a chance to talk to Bob Ray about what has been
happening. He's a little irritated, but Bob is an irritable guy even when
he's happy. I am easily irritated too. Maybe it's the name. I think I'll
change mine to Ricky or Lucy.
The problem, and it isn't clear how serious it is right now, is that this
is a real loose event. Unfortunately, with ten large ones at stake, a
little more rigidity would be desirable. That hasn't been the Peace Frog
approach in prior rallies, so to that extent they're running true to form.
Three things have happened:
1. In Branson the contestants were told that they could continue to work
on bonuses from the first leg as well as on bonuses from the current
(second) leg. That modification to the rule was a non-issue to Greg and
Ray because they'd already mopped up everything in sight on Leg #1. As a
practical matter, it probably didn't matter much to the other contestants
either, but I haven't seen what sorts of bonuses were turned in by any
team, other than some of the ones our boys grabbed. In Branson McQueen and
Ray had a sizeable lead.
2. In Memphis, before scoring commenced, the teams were told that now
that they were beginning the third leg of the event, they could no longer
work on any bonuses except for those on that leg. That was a significant
ruling in favor of Bob and Greg, because they had cleaned up a huge pile of
bonuses in Memphis itself. It appears that few of the other teams had been
able to do as well in Memphis as had McQueen and Ray. Then the scoring for
the second leg took place.
3. Having finished scoring, and seeing that McQueen and Ray had
apparently increased their lead during Leg #2, the officials reversed their
prior ruling and announced that bonuses from both Leg #1 and Leg #2 could
continue to be hunted, as well as those from the current Leg #3. That
effectively gave teams the opportunity to finish off the pile of Memphis
points before continuing on with other challenges on Leg #3.
Obviously, these sorts of now-you-see-it-now-you-don't administrative
adjustments are vexing, but Bob and Greg should be encouraged to keep their
eyes on what is really involved here. The team that picks up the most
bonus points over the long haul is going to win, period. If the officials
can figure a way to keep that from occurring, then they will have achieved
a milestone in contests of this sort. Furthermore, it seems likely that as
the rally continues, the value of bonuses may increase substantially. That
is true of the Iron Butt Rally as well. If you try to nail down everything
in sight during the first part of the event, you'll be too exhausted to
call upon reserves during the second half, when the bonus points invariably
dwarf those seen earlier.
In any case, it won't do our heroes much good to complain, and it could do
some harm. The organizers are going to do what they want to do, and
nothing that Bob and Greg can say is going to make a lot of difference. It
isn't a democracy, and if it were Bob and Greg would still be trounced
because they're in first place and would cleanly be outvoted by every team
who isn't in that position. The day may come when our Frogs need a
critical ruling. It will help immensely at that juncture if they have not
been griping from one checkpoint to the next. The rules may be whimsical
but human nature is the same everywhere: If they're seen as happy players
in a big adventure, it will do them more good in the long run.
Tonight they lead two other teams by about 10,000 points. It seems like a
lot. But what is that going to look like in another week's time when
they're searching for bonus locations worth perhaps ten times that (or
more), particularly in a foreign country where Alabaman is not the native
language and where interstate highways resemble goat tracks? I think their
strategy of trying to suck down as many points as they possibly can in the
U.S. is the correct one, but this event is far from over. Time will tell.
It usually does.
Me, I wouldn't worry about it. The worst that can be said is that they
have at least a half-day lead over the two teams closest to them. They
have experience in scavenger hunts that few people can match. They've been
hardened by an endurance run that not one motorcyclist in 100,000 will ever
experience. They're not going to quit. So the rules change here and
there. So one of the teams is complaining about them. Big deal. My guess
is that the officials are trying to keep this thing from becoming a runaway
just three days into the contest.
Anyway, things will work out. That's the way of the Peace Frog. OK?
I last spoke to them about 2130 EDT Tuesday. They were in Mississippi,
heading for a bonus in Marianna AR. From there they were considering going
to Hope AR to see President Bubba's childhood home. After that, Texas
loomed. Virtually every big bonus on the leg, as nearly as I can tell (I
haven't seen the listings since the first day) is hiding in the Lone Star
State. Those poor guys are in a tiny Suzuki Samurai that doesn't look as
comfortable as Morris Kruemck's Wing. It isn't air conditioned. I'm told
that Texas is warmish these days. Yikes.