Iron Butt Logo

2007 Iron Butt Rally

by Tom Austin

Friday, August 17, 2007: Day -3

On the outskirts of St. Louis, the Doubletree Hotel in Chesterfield, Missouri, is serving as the headquarters for the 2007 Iron Butt Rally. Riders have already begun arriving. On Saturday and Sunday, before facing the obstacles of the 11-day ride, they will be running a gauntlet of technical inspectors, document checkers, videographers, and public-relations advisors. Today, many riders will be anxiously awaiting last-minute maintenance and tire changes on their motorcycles which they have scheduled to have done by local motorcycle dealers that 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 St. Louis.

Facilities available to riders here at the hotel include two steam saunas. One is located in the Fitness Center; the other is in the parking lot. Yesterday, it hit 100 degrees with the humidity near 100 percent. Today, the high was only 94. Tomorrow, during tech inspection, it's supposed to drop down to a chilly 90. There is a chance of thunderstorms this weekend, but the forecast looks good for the start of the Rally on Monday.

Unlike in previous years, riders will not be visiting checkpoints spread around the country. There is only one checkpoint and it's right back here in Chesterfield. After the riders leave at 10 a.m. Monday morning, they will be on the road for about four-and-a-half days before returning Friday night, August 24. At 4:00 a.m. the next morning, they will receive their bonus listings for leg No. 2. They will then be on the road until Friday morning, August 31, when they will once again return to Chesterfield for the finish. For the next two weeks, between now and the finishers' banquet, I'll be monitoring the rally and preparing daily reports.

Two years ago, on the last day of the 2005 Iron Butt Rally, veteran rally scribe Bob Higdon wrote, "I think the time has come for me to move over and let someone else take over the scribbler reins." I remember thinking, "I pity the poor bastard who has to replace Higdon; that's a tough act to follow." It's going to be made even more difficult by the fact that there is only one checkpoint in this year's rally, giving me only one opportunity to see all of the riders between the start and the finish.

The fact that the second leg of this year's rally is almost a week long will make it difficult to quickly prepare a written description of what transpired on leg No. 2 based on information collected at the finish. Therefore I've set up a system to receive periodic reports from riders while they are on the road. Twenty-four separate telephone lines are serving an IBR-dedicated voice mailbox back at my office in Sacramento. On three separate occasions, riders will be given the opportunity to earn big bonus points just by calling the number and leaving a brief message telling me where they are, where they have recently been, and where the next bonus is that they are heading for. I'll be including summaries of that information in my daily reports.

I will also be reporting on information I collect from rallymaster Lisa Landry, IBA president Michael Kneebone, and numerous other IBR staff who make this event possible. Chief technical inspector Dale "Warchild" Wilson will undoubtedly have some amusing stories of rider efforts to get through tech inspection this weekend. Assisting Dale this year will be LDRiders listmeister Joe Denton, Art Montoya, Jim Peterson, and Bob Broeking. It always makes for some high drama when a motorcycle flunks tech inspection while the clock is ticking toward the end of the tech inspection window on Sunday.

Other IBR staffers I'll be working with this year include Jim and Donna Fousek, Dave McQueeney, Ed Otto, Dean Tanji, Roger and Karen Van Santen, Verne and Bonnie Hauck, Susan Murphy, Dennis Bitner, Bill Shaw, and my wife Helen Austin. They will be involved in various elements of the rider check-in process. Steve Hobart is also helping out. He told me his official duties consist of being Lisa's go-fer. Higdon is here too, preparing to give the annual benediction on Sunday night.

The IBR staffer who is sure to be the source of the most heartbreaking and amusing stories later in the rally is Ira Agins. Ira is running the scoring table this year. Hopefully, Ira will be able to report that someone has managed to top Michael Smeyers’ performance during the 2005 rally when he rode all the way from Denver to Key West and back for a bonus photo that was missing his rally flag.

The ultimate source of the tales of triumph and tribulation during the next two weeks will be the riders themselves; they are an amazing group of people.

Only 326 people have ever finished the rally since it was first held in 1984. Forty-one 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.

The returning veterans include 1999 winner George Barnes, 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.) Another returning veteran is Jim Owen, who was denied victory in the 2005 rally by a mechanical failure only 12 hours from the finish. Other veterans who were ttop-10 finishers in previous rallies include Eric Jewell, Chris Sakala, Jeff Earls, Marty Leir, Dick Fish, and Alan Barbic.

Most of the "rookies" in this year's rally are road-hardened veterans of numerous other endurance rallies and "extreme" Iron Butt Association rides who have worked long and hard for the chance to get to the starting grid. Steve Broadhead is a good example. He has done more than a dozen extreme rides including twice completing a Bun Burner Gold "Trifecta" (riding 1,500 miles in 24 hours three days in a row). This ride has also been completed by rookies John Tomasovitch and Curt Gran. They have demonstrated that they can do the miles. During the next two weeks we will find out how well they can handle something even more intimidating than three BBGs in a row: an Iron Butt Rally bonus listing.

Another rookie who is a potential top-10 finisher is Alexander Schmitt. Alex won the seven-day Butt Lite rally last year, the rally that comes closer to the Iron Butt Rally than anything else.

At the other end of the experience spectrum, a few entrants have never competed in an endurance rally and have never even completed a multi-day Iron Butt ride. Their acceptance into the rally is either the result of the element of chance involved in the drawing for positions or Michael Kneebone's twisted desire for personal amusement.

One of the endurance rally virgins is Alan Bennett, who will be riding the smallest bike in the rally, a 250 cc Kawasaki Ninja. His lack of rally experience combined with his diminutive motorcycle put Alan in what is known as the Hopeless Class. (It should be noted, however, that Leon "The Animal" Begeman rode a 250cc Ninja to 12th place in the 2003 rally.)

Although he has competed in several 24-hour rallies, Mark Collins qualifies as a Hopeless Class entry by virtue of the motorcycle he is riding. Mark will be aboard a 1972 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide, a bike he has owned since 1979. It has 199,000 miles on the clock. The engine has been rebuilt twice; once at 80,000 miles and again at 150,000 miles. The transmission has also been through two rebuilds. Mark has upgraded the Glide with dual-plug heads, an electronic ignition, an H4 headlight, and a Russell saddle. But in keeping with the vintage of his ride, he is one of the only riders in the rally who won't be using a GPS. He is also one of the few riders not running auxiliary fuel. Mark's bike was already safely tucked away in the parking lot this afternoon. It's out there on its sidestand right now, leaking oil, so it's apparently running just like when it was new.

Although some would consider any motorcycle more than 30 years old to be in the Hopeless Class, Joel Rappoport would disagree. He will be riding the BMW R60/6 that he purchased new 31 years ago. It's the only motorcycle he has owned since then. When it crosses the starting line, it will have over 435,000 miles on it, but it's fresh from a rebuild of the engine, transmission, and rear end at 430,000 miles. Joel has also upgraded the bike from the original drum brakes to double discs up front. He has upgraded the charging system to 400 watts, which allows him to run extra lights and heated gear. The stock H-4 headlight bulb has been replaced with an HID low-beam. A long since discontinued Windjammer III fairing will keep him out of the wind. Two pairs of HID auxiliary lights have also been added. He's not expecting to have any mechanical problems and he considers his bike "the most comfortable place on Earth." It's possible that the motorcycle is better prepared for the rally than Joel, who has never before competed in an endurance rally.

Donald Jones rounds out the Hopeless Class entries. He has only finished one 24-hour rally and he is going to attempt to finish the Iron Butt Rally on a 1978 Honda GL1000 "Old Wing." In his application Don explained his choice of this bike by saying, "I like working on old things."

There are 10 women entered, five riding pillion and five piloting their own bikes. They are far from hopeless. The veteran pillion riders are Rosie Sperry (riding with husband Tom) and Donna Phillips (riding with husband Jim). The rookies are Sylvie Torter (riding with husband Bob), Lisa Kappenberger (riding with husband Reiner), and Lynda Lahman (riding with husband Terry). All of these two-up entries have rally experience, but after their 11th place finish in the 2005 Iron Butt Rally, the Phillips would seem to have the best shot at a top-10 finish.

Of the women riding their own bikes, Rebecca Vaughn, Karol Patzer, and Vicki Johnston are Iron Butt Rally veterans. The two rookies are Maura Gatensby and Lisa Stevens, both of whom have significant rally experience. Lisa, who finished second behind Jim Owen in last year's five-day SPANK Rally, and Vicki, who has twice finished among the top 25 in the Iron Butt Rally, would seem to have the best shot at a top-10 finish.

The wide range of rally experience described above is consistent with the wide range of life experiences represented by the entrants. The riders range in age from their late 20s to their early 80s. Based on my review of the applications, the youngest rider appears to be Andy Mills, who is 28. Andy is a powertrain test engineer for Polaris Industries, the company that builds the Victory Vision he will be riding. Andy has been riding motorcycles for about 17 years, longer than many of the riders in this rally who are decades older. He's done well in many endurance rallies, including taking first place in the Minnesota 1000. He was doing very well during the 2005 Iron Butt Rally until a tangle with a tire carcass on the very last day.

The oldest is 81 year old Hans Karlsson, who will be piloting a 900-pound Gold Wing. To give you an example of how his age has been slowing him down, in the last five years Hans made a 32,000-mile trip from his home in Louisiana to the tip of South America and back; a 12,000-mile trip to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, and back; a 7,000-mile trip to Nova Scotia and back; a 16,000-mile tour of all 49 continental states; another 16,000-mile tour of Australia and New Zealand; and a 26,000-mile ride around the world, during which he rode in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Russia, Mongolia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, France, England, and Ireland. Just last year, he rode 25,000 miles while touring in Canada, Europe, and Africa.

What brings these and other riders together is a common desire to compete in what has been billed as "The World's Toughest Motorcycle Competition." For some of them, the goal will be just to finish. Many others will be trying for a top-10 finish. More than a dozen riders probably think they have a shot at winning this thing. Some riders will undoubtedly have lowered their expectations by the time they are scored at the first checkpoint. Many riders will have lowered their expectations by the time they read the bonus listing for the first leg on Sunday night.

Saturday, August 18, 2007: Day -2

Today was the primary day for tech inspection and rider check-in for the 13th running of the Iron Butt Rally. The parking lot of the Doubletree Hotel in Chesterfield, Missouri, is filled with motorcycles that are anything but a representative cross-section of the motorcycles purchased by the general public. Cruisers and sportbikes dominate the U.S. market. But cruisers are about style and sportbikes are about speed. The Iron Butt Rally is about efficiently riding long distances.

There have been some exceptional long-distance rides done on cruisers and sport bikes, but they are just not the optimum type of motorcycle for this event. With the exception of Brett Donahue's extensively modified Harley-Davidson Sportster and Alan Bennetts 250 cc Kawasaki Ninja, everyone is riding a motorcycle in the touring, sport-touring, or dual-sport category.

Among the touring bikes, the most popular models are Honda Gold Wings and BMW K1200LTs. In the sport-touring category, the most popular models are the Yamaha FJR1300, the BMW R1200RT and R1150RT, the BMW K1200GT, and the Honda ST1300 and ST1100. The most popular dual-sport models are the BMW R1200GS and R1150GS, and the Suzuki DL1000 and DL650 (aka the V-Strom and the Wee-Strom).

Of the 97 motorcycles entered, there are 42 BMWs, 27 Hondas, 14 Yamahas, five Suzukis, three Kawasakis, three Harley-Davidsons, one Buell, one Triumph, and one Victory. The oldest is the 1972 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide ridden by Mark Collins. The newest are the 2008 Kawasaki Concours 14 ridden by Chris Cimino and the 2008 Victory Vision ridden by Andy Mills.

Honda's representation on the IBR starting line is roughly proportional to its share of the U.S. motorcycle market. In 2004, Honda had 29 percent of the market; about 28 percent of the riders in this year's rally will be on Hondas, but none of them are Honda’s popular cruiser or sportbike models. The are all Gold Wings and STs, touring and sport-touring models that have a good reputation for reliability and have the alternator capacity necessary to run the auxiliary lights and heated clothing used by most Iron Butt Rally riders.

This year, Yamaha will also come close to matching its percentage of the U.S. market, which is about 15 percent. When most motorcyclists think of Yamaha, they think of sportbikes like the awesome 1000 cc R1 and the 600 cc YZF-R6, or cruisers marketed under the Star brand. There are exactly zero Yamaha sportbikes or cruisers entered. All 14 Yamahas are the FJR1300 sport-tourer.

Suzuki and Kawasaki are significantly under-represented based on their share of the U.S. market. The old Kawasaki Concours has been a great long-distance bike for the money, but it is rather long of tooth. The company's representation in the IBR may increase with the all new Concours that has just been released. The new Concours 14 wasn’t really available in time to be fully prepped for the rally, but hasn’t stopped Chris Cimino. Chris will be riding a nearly showroom-stock 2008 Concours. He has done little more than add some auxiliary lights, bar risers, and a throttle lock.

Suzuki doesn't really build a touring or sport-touring bike. The 650 and 1000 cc V-Stroms are probably the best rally bikes they make.

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 had 28 percent of the U.S. market in 2004. Including the Buell, only 4 percent of bikes in this year's rally were produced by Harley-Davidson. The lower percentage is explained by the fact that Harley's touring bikes don’t enjoy the same reputation other brands have in the areas of handling, braking, reliability, and performance.

BMW had 1.4 percent of the U.S. motorcycle market in 2004 and accounts for 43 percent of the starting grid this year. In other words, BMW is over-represented by a factor of 30 based on its market share. Although final-drive reliability has been an issue in prior models, BMW builds some truly great motorcycles for long-distance riding, including the K1200LT, the K1200GT, the R1200GS, and my personal favorite, the R1200RT. BMWs tend to be lighter than the competition, have much higher alternator capacity, great ride and handling, stunning brakes, and good fuel economy.

A number of the motorcycles entered in the rally this year can be comfortably and efficiently ridden long distances right off of the showroom floor. But the vast majority of the motorcycles that went through tech inspection today are equipped with auxiliary fuel tanks, upgraded lighting, GPS, and custom seats. Many have aftermarket windscreens, handlebar risers, throttle locks, aftermarket luggage, radar detectors, custom hydration systems with drinking tubes, 12-volt receptacles for heated clothing, tank bags with waterproof holders for maps and bonus listings, CB radios, and other communications gear. Tire-pressure monitoring systems are installed on a number of motorcycles this year.

The extensiveness of the modifications riders make to their motorcycles for long distance riding comes at a price. Most riders have spent hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars preparing for this event. Some of the modifications are relatively simple; some are unbelievably complex.

A decent auxiliary fuel system can be assembled for a few hundred dollars if you start with an off-the-shelf high-density polyethylene tank and mount it to the sub-frame under the pillion seat. At the other end of the spectrum, I think I set the record for auxiliary fuel-system extravagance in 1999 with the $4,000 I invested in a hand-formed aluminum tail-dragger cell for my K1200LT. That record has now been shattered. The custom Kevlar and carbon-fiber tank that Bob and Sylvie Torter had built to increase the fuel capacity of their K1200GT to 10.5 gallons looks like it came right out of the BMW factory. It’s mounted on top of the stock tank, making it look like the bike has an enlarged OEM tank. The finish is flawless; the color matches the rest of bike perfectly. There are a number of motorcycles entered in this rally that cost less when they were brand new than the Torters’ custom tank.

Although the Torters’ tank sailed through tech inspection, others weren’t so lucky. Rob Nye announced that he had a 0.1-gallon cushion, telling tech inspector Joe Denton that his custom auxiliary cell was designed to be exactly 4.4 gallons so that he would be at 11.4 when added to the 7.0-gallon capacity of the stock tank on his BMW R1200RT. I wish I could have gotten a picture of the look on Rob’s face when he was informed that the capacity of the stock tank on an R1200RT is 7.1 gallons, not 7.0. His 0.1 gallon cushion had just been converted to zero cushion requiring an actual fuel-capacity measurement.

For the next two hours, Rob nervously awaited the official decision. Joe Denton warmed up the electronic scale, carefully measured the specific gravity of the gasoline being used for the measurement, checked the calibration of the scale, and then weighed the fuel container before and after filling Rob’s cell. Rob struggled to do the math in his head while waiting for the laptop computer that does all of the calculations automatically to be booted up. The final result: a system total of 11.45 gallons, under the limit by 0.05 gallons.

Closer still to the limit was Dennis Powell. He declared the capacity of his auxiliary tank at 4.7 gallons. When added to the 6.6-gallon stock tank on his GL1800, the total should be 11.3, comfortably under the 11.5-gallon limit. But Dennis’ tank was a one-off product built by someone the tech inspection crew had never heard of. Since it wasn’t an especially complex shape, Joe Denton calculated the volume from the external dimensions. Accounting for the wall thickness, the calculated volume was 5.1 gallons, putting him over the limit by 0.2 gallons. Dennis’ "I’m just a poor pig farmer” plea was useless. The tank would have to have the official test during which it is filled with gasoline. By removing a fuel filter from the system, Dennis was able to get his official reading down to 11.51 gallons, which rounds the 11.5 standard.

There were no close calls with the noise testing. Everyone passed with flying colors except for Dick Fish. Dick failed with flying colors, setting a new record for the noisiest motorcycle ever tested during Iron Butt Rally tech inspection. The aftermarket exhaust system on his Buell Ulysses was enough to wake the dead, blasting out 113 decibels on the official test. The standard is 105. Because the decibel scale is non-linear, 113 is not just 8 percent louder than the standard. It was more than double the perceived loudness of any other motorcycle in the rally.

Although he grumbled about the results, failing the noise test was obviously not a surprise to Mr. Fish. Why else would he have brought his stock exhaust system with him? It was sweaty work for Dick in the parking lot, but the bike will be making much less of a racket when it leaves the starting line on Monday morning.

Most other problems identified during tech inspection were related to paperwork. A surprising number of riders showed up with registration and insurance documents without matching vehicle identification numbers. That wasn’t a problem for veteran Karol Patzer, because she totally forgot her registration papers for her 1988 BMW K75. Hopefully she will find some way come up with the necessary documentation. She has been looking forward to being part of the first mother-son team to finish the Iron Butt Rally. Her son Tony DeLorenzo will be riding with her on his 2007 R1200GS Adventure.

Several riders had serious problems today unrelated to tech inspection and check-in. Richard Buber’s 2002 R1150RT is a sick puppy. The transmission began failing on his ride to Chesterfield. Several people of have been trying valiantly to arrange for an emergency transplant. The latest word is that a one will arrive tomorrow.

The Brunsvold father-son team of Arlen Sr. and Arlen Jr. no doubt expected that the rally would bring them closer together. Turns out a bit too close. After getting though tech inspection just fine, Arlen Jr. T-boned Arlen Sr. out on a short ride to check out a rough-running problem with Arlen Sr.’s R1200RT. Neither Arlen Sr. nor his BMW R1200RT sustained damage that cant be quickly repaired. Arlen Jr. is also okay but his Harley-Davidson Road King is apparently out. Team Brunsvold has less than 24 hours to come up with a replacement for the Road King.

In addition to the problems the Brunsvolds and Richard Buber have to deal with, there are three riders yet to complete tech inspection. Paul Allison, a rider from Great Britain, didn’t finish the installation of an auxiliary fuel tank on his rented Gold Wing early enough to get it inspected today. He has plenty of time tomorrow. Eric Jewell arrived too late to start the process today. Rick Miller isn’t due in until tomorrow.

Following the completion of tech inspection and rider check-in, the riders meeting is at 2:30 tomorrow afternoon. The pre-rally banquet begins at 5:00. The first-leg bonus listing will probably handed out by about 6:30 p.m. Although the official start isn’t until 10 a.m. on Monday, the rally will really begin when the riders see the bonus listing. Many may be thinking they will have plenty of time to figure out an optimum route and then get a solid eight hours of sleep. They are wrong.

Sunday, August 19, 2007: Day -1

Only three riders had to get through tech inspection today, but the parking lot was still bustling with activity as many riders proceeded to violate Rule No. 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 today trying to fix problems that cropped up on their ride to the start. Chris McGaffin, who flew in from Ireland to ride the rally on a borrowed Kawasaki Concours, posted a message today on the LD Riders list asking for assistance with a buzzing noise in the bike's Autocom system. Imagine that, a noise problem with a communication system.

Former top-10 finisher Eric Jewell flunked tech inspection for failing to have a ground on his auxiliary fuel tank. Fortunately for Eric, electronics guru Roger Sinclair volunteered to pitch in and resolve his problem.

Thanks to Gateway BMW, Arlen Brunsvold Sr. was able to get his R1200RT repaired following the tangle with his son yesterday. Gateway did not have the necessary parts in stock, so they stripped them off of a bike on the showroom floor. Li'l Arlen will be on a new Harley-Davidson, but it won't be ready for delivery until Monday morning. The father-son team will be late for the start, but at least they are still in the rally. Starting a couple of hours late won't mean all that much over the next 11 days.

Since yesterday, word has spread about Dick Fish's record- (and eardrum-) shattering exhaust system on his Buell Ulysses. Dick failed the noise test and had to replace his aftermarket exhaust with the stock system. Several people were asking just how loud Dick's bike was. When someone asked how it compared to a Screamin' Meanie, the crack tech inspection team leaped into action. Matt Watkins volunteered his Meanie and set it on its highest sound level. The sound meter was calibrated and placed exactly the same 20-inch distance from the Meanie as the distance used to test exhaust systems. Matt fired off the Meanie and everyone covered their ears. I read the sound meter myself: 111 decibels, high enough to cause permanent hearing loss, but no match for the Buell. Dick's 113-decibel reading will stand as the highest noise level ever measured during tech inspection at the Iron Butt Rally for at least the next two years.

Riders Meeting

The riders meeting started today at 2:30 p.m. Rider and journalist Chris Cimino was called on to provide a briefing on how everyone needs to be careful in talking with the press both during and after the rally. His main message was to avoid being trapped into responding to questions designed to create the impression that the Iron Butt Rally is a contest of speed. Chris made it very clear that excessive speed or reckless operation are grounds for disqualification and that anyone who claims to have ridden in an unsafe or reckless manner will stripped of finisher status should they be so fortunate to achieve that objective.

Chief technical inspector Dale “Warchild” Wilson explained the procedure for the start tomorrow morning, during which odometers 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.” tomorrow morning. They were then reminded that “You need to be at your motorcycle at 8:30 a.m.” On at least three other occasions, riders were told “You need to be at your motorcycle at 8:30 a.m.” Based on past experience, the question rally staff has tonight is exactly how many riders will not be at their motorcycle at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow morning and will end up having to wait until all other riders have left before their odometer check is completed.

Ira Agins then informed the riders of some last-minute changes to rules. All of the couples riding two-up were asked to stand. They were then informed that, in this year's rally, one of the team members has to be in every photo. A substantial amount of time was spent on the question of what constitutes “daylight” when the bonus requires a photo to be taken during daylight hours. Time was also spent on how to document a “rest bonus” and when riders need to make corrections on a gas receipt.

Finally, Lisa advised riders “to not do something stupid” and to make a safe return their highest priority.

Banquet

The banquet buffet began at 5:00 p.m. As riders were finishing their dinners, Bob Higdon admonished them to make their highest priority finishing safely and to “Do what you can to not embarrass yourself.” He then spent several minutes reminiscing about some of the more interesting events in past rallies.

Rallymaster Lisa Landry wasted no time in handing out the identification flags and envelopes containing the bonus listings. Each rider was called to the podium to receive their package in the order that the rider numbers had been assigned. Mike Kneebone then explained the information contained on a sheet of paper that every rider had been given titled “2007 Iron Butt Rally Medal Levels.” He explained that riders who want to be considered finishers need to try for about 70,000 total points on the first leg, consisting of 50,000 bonus points, 10,000 for a good fuel log, 7,155 points for a rest bonus, and 2,000 points for a call-in bonus. To earn bronze, silver, or gold medals, the required point targets increase significantly.

When the riders were instructed to open the envelope containing the bonus listings for the first leg, those who were hoping to get some routing help from friends back home were dismayed to see that the bonus listings were printed on red paper. Kneebone then asked, "Does everybody understand what red paper does when you try to fax it?"

Kneebone then reviewed some of the first bonuses in the massive leg No. 1 bonus listing. The first bonus is good for 52,000 points, but it requires a picture of your motorcycle in front of the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Obviously, no one will be able to ride to the west coast, obtain round-trip transportation for their motorcycle to Hawaii, and make it back to the checkpoint on time. Kneebone acknowledged that this bonus is impossible and made the point that it has been included to make riders realize exactly that: Don't assume all of the bonuses are possible.

Assigning 52,000 points to Oahu was just part of the mind game being played. If a 52,000 point bonus is impossible, then who in their right mind would give a second thought to a bonus worth 75,527 points? Perhaps the leader at the end of leg No. 1, who will earn 75,527 points for a picture of their motorcycle in front of the sign at the Goose Bay ferry terminal in Labrador, Canada.

Most of the bonus codes used in the bonus listing are cryptic alpha-numeric character strings (e.g., ME, RM, R6) to assist with data entry at the checkpoint. The bonus code for Goose Bay, Labrador is "MANLY."

The round trip to Goose Bay and back is 4,456 miles. Based on mileage, it sounds doable, but the pavement ends long before Goose Bay. Based on the default speeds in a typical mapping program, riders can expect their average speed while moving to be only 48 mph. An estimated 92 hours are required for the round trip because there are a lot of miles on dirt roads. The last 675 miles to Goose Bay is mostly dirt. Based on default speeds, there is time for only 13 hours of rest from Monday morning until Friday night. But averaging just a few miles per hour above the default speeds could provide a few more hours of rest time.

Plowing through 123 separate bonuses will take a long time, but riders will eventually figure out that anyone who can make Goose Bay will be at the front of the pack at the end of leg No. 1. Dick Fish is one of the few people on the planet who has already ridden to Goose Bay. He is also one of the most experienced dirt riders in the rally. He has a chance to make it. He also has the guts to try it. Tomorrow morning we will find out if Dick or anyone else is going to give it a shot.

Another high-point bonus in Canada is Perce Rock, which is worth 33,000 points. It's available for only about four hours each day during daylight low tide. Perce Rock might look like an attractive turnaround point for riders who are not willing to risk Goose Bay. A round trip to Perce Rock is only 3,518 miles and it doesn't involve dirt roads. Other bonuses have to be chosen carefully because of the narrow windows during which the Perce Rock bonus is available, but there is plenty of time to add other bonuses on the trip up and back. The riders were all given tide charts at the banquet and Rob Nye was called to the podium to explain how to read them. Everyone knows that daylight low tide at Perce Rock occurs at about 1 p.m. local time.

Most riders won't give a second thought to Goose Bay and many will be concerned about building a route around Perce Rock. Less risk is associated with a southern loop with a turn-around in Key West. In past years, Key West has always been a “sucker bonus.” 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. That's not the case this year. There are more than a dozen high-point bonuses that can be easily scored on the way to Key West and back.

Regardless of the turnaround point they choose, virtually every rider is going to head for Gateway Arch to score their first bonus of the rally. At 3,565 points, it's too big to ignore given its proximity to the starting line. Since it's only a 23-mile ride to the Arch, and since the bonus is only available during the first three hours after the start, there will likely be a parade of over 90 motorcycles all headed for exactly the same spot. When everyone lines up to obtain a receipt from the Arch parking structure, it's going to be more of a mob scene than the start of the rally. But it's going to be the easiest 3,565 points on the leg, a “must do” bonus for any rider who is thinking clearly.

Dean Tanji's son, Colin, will be waiting for the parade to arrive at the Arch tomorrow morning with his camera rolling. The video should be priceless.

Monday, August 20, 2007: Day 1

There has never been a more dramatic start for an Iron Butt Rally than occurred this morning in Chesterfield, Missouri. Although there were threatening skies all morning, there was little more than a light mist in the air as staff members recorded outgoing odometer readings and I collected information from the riders regarding their basic route plans. We walked down two long rows of motorcycles arranged side-by-side, one row facing the other with an empty parking lot aisle in between.

A 10-minute riders meeting began at 9:45 a.m. during which Dale Wilson reviewed the starting procedures one last time and rallymaster Lisa Landry announced a few minor corrections to the leg No. 1 bonus listing. Then Dale told all of the riders to mount up and be prepared to exit the parking lot one-by-one when he pointed to them. At the very instant the meeting ended, the deluge began.

It didn't just start raining, it started pouring with the intensity that causes cars to pull off of the freeway and wait it out on the side of the road because windshield wipers won't keep up. Dale, Lisa, and other rally staff that were working the start were soaking wet in less than a minute. (To the surprise of Bob Higdon and many riders, Lisa did not melt.)

Riders and staff alike were no doubt contemplating whether the cloudburst was some sort of omen. But almost as soon as it had begun, it quickly tapered off to a light drizzle just a minute before the start, leaving the superstitious to ponder the mixed message being sent from above.

At exactly 10:00 a.m. Dale pointed to Rob Nye: "Go!" Next was Dick Fish: "Go!" One by one they pulled into the center aisle and headed for the exit where the Chesterfield Police Department had stopped all other traffic and provided a clear path to U.S. 40, the nearest limited-access roadway.

Another new record was established: 94 motorcycles crossed the starting line in four minutes and 59 seconds, or one motorcycle every three seconds.

Reiner and Lisa Kappenberger's Gold Wing was the only motorcycle left sitting on the starting grid. The battery had died and it wouldn't start. Following a jump start, the Kappenbergers continued on to the Gateway Arch. Five miles down the road the bike died. Reiner took a taxi to purchase a new battery while Lisa stood guard over the bike. After installing the battery on the side of road, they continued to the Arch, scoring the bonus before the end of the time window.

The Brunsvolds, father and son, also failed to leave the starting line on time. They were still at the local Harley dealer where Li'l Arlen's new-to-him Road Glide was being prepared. Thanks to the not-quite-lightning-like speed with which the dealer transferred the auxiliary fuel tank from the old bike to the new one, it was almost 5 p.m. when they finally rolled out of the parking lot. They were still planning to make Perce Rock. Hopefully, they can make schedule changes as necessary as the week progresses.

Doug Chapman's FJR1300 left the starting line on time, but all was not well. His alternator was producing less than 12 volts at idle. Even at elevated rpm he wasn't seeing more than 12.5 volts, significantly below the normal reading of 14 volts. The only person more concerned about this situation than Doug is Dale Wilson. If the FJRs don't prove to be more reliable than the BMWs in this year's rally, Dale is going to require Prozac.

Off to Gateway Arch

As expected, almost every rider headed for the 3,565-point bonus at Gateway Arch, the famous St. Louis landmark. (Dick Peek is the only rider who told me he was definitely not heading to the Arch because he was going to try to make New Orleans before dark.) The bonus instructions for the Arch are as follows:

Take a photo of the large display entitled "The Builders" and bring a receipt from the Arch Parking Structure. Located on the bank of the Mississippi River in eastern Missouri just north of the intersection of I-55/I-70/I-64. Parking is available in the Arch Parking Structure on Washington Avenue, just east of I-70. The display in located in the Visitor Center under the Arch.

The parking structure is at the north end of the arch. There are entrances to the underground Visitor Center at both the north and south ends of the arch. Even though it's only a few hundred feet away, you can't see the south entrance when walking to the north entrance. So all the riders headed for the north entrance. As they walked down the steps to the entrance they got their first surprise of the rally: Everyone has to go through a metal detector to get in. It's sensitive enough to detect keys, cell phones, pocket knives, and numerous other items that the riders were carrying.

As the riders waited in the queue that forms at the metal detector, Lisa, my wife Helen, and I had a leisurely drive to the Arch and walked to the south entrance where there was no line. We got right in and walked to the large mural where the riders needed to take their bonus photo. A number of them had already made it through security and were busy taking their photos. Several riders who were just walking in looked at us in stunned amazement and asked, "How did you beat us here?"

The normal tourists in the Visitor Center seemed quite puzzled at the scene they were observing. There were piles of riding suits and helmets strewn everywhere. Several of the tourists approached the three of us to ask questions, probably because we were relatively normal looking people who seemed to be acquainted with the weirdos in the funny outfits running around with the Polaroid cameras. We were asked questions like, "Why are all of these people with the snowmobile suits taking pictures of flags with numbers on them?" But the absolute best question we got was, "Is this some sort of a senior-citizens tour?" Some of these bystanders were quite observant.

We hadn't been in the visitor center for two minutes when Lisa noticed a Polaroid 600 sitting on a trash can. Someone had apparently left the camera behind. George Barnes noticed it too and made some comment about the rookie mistake that had obviously been made. George had already gotten his photo and hustled off to his next destination.

Twenty minutes later, the Polaroid remained unclaimed. Then we noticed George Barnes coming back from the direction of the parking garage. George sheepishly picked his helmet off the floor where he had left it.

As Jeff Earls was leaving with his bonus photo, he suggested this bonus should have been named "the goat rodeo."

Where They Are Headed

I didn't get a chance to talk to every rider before the start today, but I did get basic routing plans from over 80 percent of them. About 60 percent of the pack is headed for the 33,000 points available at Perce Rock. A little under 20 percent of the riders are headed for Key West and a little under 20 percent are doing a loop somewhere in the Northeast, Southeast, and/or Midwest that does not involve either Perce Rock or Key West.

A single rider is headed for Goose Bay and it's not Dick Fish. It turns out that Chip Hyde is the only rider who thinks he is manly enough for the Goose Bay bonus. He's an Iron Butt Rally rookie and relative unknown. When I mention that Chip Hyde is the only rider going to Goose Bay, the next question is usually, "Is he riding a GS?" It's interesting to see the look I get when I say, "No, he's on a Gold Wing." "You have got to be kidding me," is what I hear next.

Nobody I've talked to thinks a rookie on a Gold Wing has a snowball's chance in hell of making it to Goose Bay and back. But this is someone who has ridden the infamous Haul Road between Fairbanks, Alaska, and Prudhoe Bay. Maybe he is going to surprise everyone. It would be one of the greatest accomplishments ever achieved in the history of the Iron Butt Rally if he pulls it off.

I asked Dick Fish why he changed his mind about Goose Bay. He said, "It's not a good choice. I would have to average 53 miles per hour from here to Goose Bay and back and do nothing else. I would be fried and I would have abused my motorcycle on the first leg." I responded, "Do you realize how many people you are disappointing?" Dick replied, "Do I give a ****? I'm riding this for me."

Perce Rock is obviously a much easier bonus than Goose Bay, but it requires dealing with a fairly narrow time window. The bonus instructions are as follows:

This bonus requires two photos.

Photo #1: Take a picture of Perce Rock from the bottom of the stairway. Your ID flag does NOT have to be present in this photo. This photo must show that the tide is out! These are fast moving tides; no wading this year Tom! Depending on weather conditions, you may access Perce Rock for approximately 2 hours before and 2 hours after low tide.

Photo #2: Walk out to Perce Rock, place your flag on the rock and take a closer photo.

WARNING: This bonus requires a short walk across the ocean floor; however, the footing is treacherous and should not be attempted unless the water has subsided during a low tide. Tides in this area are extreme and fast-changing, rising 6 to 8 feet per hour! Perce is located on the eastern end of the Gaspe Peninsula on Provincial Rte-132. To get to the access stairwell, turn right on Rue Biard.

In contrast, the Key West bonus is available 24 hours a day. It's worth far fewer points (8,999), but there are many relatively high-point bonuses that can be bagged along the way.

Those headed for Perce Rock include Chris Sakala, Jeff Earls, Eric Jewell, Marty Leir, Jim Owen, Dick Fish, and Peter Leap. George Barnes and Brett Donahue, are headed for Key West. Alan Barbic is taking a loop that includes the Midwest and Northeast, but not Perce Rock.

Also headed for Perce Rock are Tom Loftus, Andy Mills, Jim Frens, John Langan, Doug Chapman, Bob St. George, and Bill Thweatt. Tom Melchild and Chris Cimino are doing routes that involve neither Perce Rock nor Key West.

Four of the five two-up teams are heading for Perce Rock too. They are Jim and Donna Phillips, Tom and Rosie Sperry, Bob and Sylvie Torter, and Reiner and Lisa Kappenberger. Terry and Lynda Lahman are headed for Key West.

If the majority is right, a route based around Perce Rock is likely to produce a greater number of points than a route based around Key West. The likelihood of the majority being right would seem to be reinforced by the fact that routing guru Jim Owen is headed in the same direction. But perhaps George Barnes has found a way to make more points out of a Key West-based route. Maybe Chip Hyde will surprise everyone and return from Goose Bay with 75,527 points. We will know a lot more in two days when the riders call in to report their progress.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007: Day 2

There are over 30,000 members of the Iron Butt Association. Each has ridden farther in 24 hours than most people believe is humanly possible. IBA membership is quite an accomplishment, but today a number of riders are learning the difference between completing an Iron Butt ride and becoming a finisher of the Iron Butt Rally.

Their education began at about 7:00 p.m. on Sunday night when they started to learn the difference between planning a route to earn an IBA certificate and routing for the Iron Butt Rally. It's one thing to have an unlimited amount of time to plan your own route and to choose exactly what stops will document your ride. Whether the goal is riding a single SaddleSore or multiple Bun Burner Golds, a carefully designed route is usually the difference between success and failure.

But the Iron Butt Rally is not about who can ride the farthest in 11 days. It's about who can simultaneously ride smartest and hardest. It's about figuring out the optimum combination of bonuses in addition to being able to do big miles. It requires the ability to follow the directions to each bonus location on the route. It usually requires being able to ride efficiently through urban areas and over twisty two-lane roads in addition to pounding out the miles on the interstate. It always requires clear thinking and reading comprehension; getting to a remote bonus is worth nothing if your brain is so fried when you get there that you can't follow the simple instructions for the required documentation.

Undoubtedly, many of the riders are interested in riding at least 11,000 miles during the 11 days of the Iron Butt Rally, but they can't focus on that objective if they hope to place well. If they focus on a route that will give them maximum mileage, they may not even be listed as a finisher. The winner of the Iron Butt Rally is not necessarily the rider with the most miles.

In just the first two days, many riders have also started learning about the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity. Some riders are already experiencing equipment failures; it's especially a problem for those riders who made last-minute changes to their motorcycles and started the rally with unproven equipment. Riders from the western U.S. are finding out that "riding in the rain" has a whole new meaning in the eastern U.S.

Doug Chapman and Matt Watkins are two of many riders who were totally soaked on Monday night. When cranking up the heat in their motel room wasn't getting their clothes dry, they tried the microwave oven. Matt accidentally burned his bonus listing while trying to dry it. Hopefully, there is something left besides Goose Bay. Later in the day, Watkins was photographed in the parking lot of Reynolds Motorsports trying to dry his boots by shoving them over the ends of the mufflers on his FJR.

At least Doug Chapman's alternator problem is on the mend. He is now producing 14 volts at cruising speeds. George Zelenz suspects it was a problem with water intrusion in the connector between the stator and the rectifier, a not uncommon problem for FJRs that have been retrofitted with aftermarket stators.

Lisa and Tobie Stevens called in after returning from the Grandfather Mountain Swinging Bridge bonus in North Carolina. The winds were gusting to 55 mph, but they completed the bonus and said they are having a great time.

Since a bonus-scouting visit in March, the hours of operation have changed for the Devil's Millhopper sinkhole, northeast of Gainesville, Florida. Riders who showed up today (Tuesday) only had to take a photo of the chained gate. This proved to be a big advantage for some of the more elderly members of our senior-citizen tour group, including George Barnes, who got there today.

K1200LT rider Jim Bain has a damaged front brake line and is hoping that Atlanta BMW can get it repaired first thing tomorrow morning. He's limping towards Atlanta as I write this on Tuesday night. Atlanta BMW owner and Iron Butt Rally veteran Bob Wooldridge is making arrangements to get him back on the road quickly tomorrow morning.

John Tomasovitch called in from Reynolds Motorsports to report that his saddlebag had fallen onto the muffler of his K1200RS and a lot of his equipment was burned to a crisp, including his only clear face shield and his $1,500 satellite telephone. Fellow competitor Jack Shoalmire was gracious enough to give John his spare face shield, making it possible for him to safely continue his ride.

Tony DeLorenzo called to let me know that he was in Pennsylvania last night with other riders who had been to the Hoagy's Heroes bonus in Moundsville, West Virginia. That 5,099-point bonus was available from 6:00 p.m. to midnight last night. Tony says that "a number of riders" are changing their plans to continue east because of the storms and are now heading south "to get dried out and warm up a little bit."

While some riders are feeling beat up, others are charged up. Brett Donahue gave me a call today from South Carolina while on his way to Sullivan's Island and then Tybee Island (which Lisa tells me is a sucker bonus). If he survives Tybee Island, he hopes to score additional bonuses on his way to Key West.

The first rider to use the call-in bonus was Bob Mueller. He dutifully reported his name, rider number, location, last bonus scored, and the next bonus on his route. He added that, "It hasn't stopped raining since yesterday; it's pretty fatiguing." I guess so. Had he been less fatigued he might have noticed that he was calling in a day early.

Also calling in a day early was Rob Nye. Rob called from Reynolds Motorsports in Gorham, Maine, where he was in the process of scoring a 5,300-point bonus that was available until 6:00 p.m. today. He says, "Everything is going great."

Hopefully, Bob and Rob will both realize that they called in a day early and I will hear from them again tomorrow when I also hope to receive calls from 95 other riders.

The problems riders have experienced so far are actually typical. It's the exception for a rider to get through 11 intense days of bonus hunting without something going wrong. Finding an excuse to quit will be easy. Finding the resolve to keep going will sometimes be tough. The Iron Butt spirit is about doing what it takes to finish. Far more people remember Manny Sameiro for his incredibly impressive last-place finish in 1997 than remember most of the riders who finished in the top 10. (Manny crashed on route to the first checkpoint, bought another bike, put bandages over his extensive road rash, and continued on.) There is no better way to earn the respect of fellow riders than to be able to pick up the pieces after disaster strikes and still make it back to finish on time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007: Day 3

Chip Hyde has been Goosed. His effort to make Goose Bay on his Gold Wing has ended in failure. He crashed in the vicinity of Churchill Falls, which is less than 200 miles from Goose Bay. The bike went down in deep gravel and Chip was tossed off. He has apparently come out of it with just one broken bone in his hand. There are a lot more broken parts on the Wing. Chip thinks it is totaled.

Tonight, Chip is safe in a bed-and-breakfast establishment. He will make plans tomorrow for getting back home.

Today is the first time the call-in bonus has ever been used on the Iron Butt Rally and it's working out quite well. Most of the calls came from riders who were either at, on their way to, or returning from Perce Rock on the Gaspe Peninsula. There was quite a crowd when the tide receded early in the afternoon, making it possible to get the required photo of the ocean floor before making the hike to the rock itself.

Many of the riders headed for Perce Rock by way of Campbellton, New Brunswick, where there was a 3,014-point bonus available for a photo of a statue of a giant salmon. Leaving Perce Rock, some were headed for the 8,014-point bonus at the Green Gables National Historic Site on Prince Edward Island; others were headed for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where there is a 10,123-point bonus for a picture of the Pickle Barrel House in Grand Marais, Michigan.

For riders that headed for Key West, a must-do bonus on the way down or back was a photo of a 30-foot-high statue of a mother dolphin and her calf at the Dolphin Research Center located in Grassy Key. It was an easy 1,222 points to soothe the pain associated with the 8,999-point bonus for a picture of the Southernmost Point in the Continental USA monument in Key West. Big bonuses available on the Florida mainland included 4,303 points for a picture of the Coral Castle in Homestead, 2,888 points for a picture of the giant sinkhole northeast of Gainesville, and 2,310 points for a picture of Eli's Orange World in Kissimmee.

A summary of the information called in is presented below, listed in order of rider number:

1 - George Barnes called from Kissimmee after returning from Key West. He's headed for Tybee Island, Georgia. Based on the list of bonus stops he rattled off, he may be scoring more points than many riders that headed for Perce Rock.

2 - Chris Sakala was in Quebec and headed for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

3 - Jeff Earls called from Maine, headed for Campbellton.

4 - Eric Jewell called from Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick. That's another bonus that can only be scored during the low-tide window. He was headed for Prince Edward Island. He has gotten off schedule because it took a while to get his R1150RT jump-started this morning. He depleted his battery while sleeping on the ground next to the bike with his electric gear running.

5 - Marty Leir called in after scoring the Perce Rock bonus while he was on the road to Prince Edward Island.

6 - Jim Owen called from Maine while on his way to Perce Rock. He may be arriving later than others because of the bonus locations on his outbound route plan.

7 - Brett Donahue made Key West early in the morning after scoring Tybee Island, which Lisa referred to as a sucker bonus because traffic can be brutal getting in and out of the coastal town. Brett said it was "a piece of cake." He was on his way to the bonus in Kissimmee when he called.

8 - Alan Barbic has linked up with Tom Melchild at the Biltmore Estates in North Carolina. Alan said they are heading to the Georgia Guidestones bonus in the Elberton, Georgia, area next.

9 - Dick Fish called in from the side of a wheat field in New Brunswick after scoring Perce Rock. He's headed for a rest bonus.

10 - Peter Leap called from Prince Edward Island after scoring Perce Rock. He was on his way to Halifax.

11 - Tom Loftus has dropped out of the rally, stating a need to deal with some business-related paperwork.

12 - Andy Mills called in from Perce Rock. He said he was headed for Campbellton.

13 - Jim Frens called while on the water en route to Prince Edward Island. He said he would be heading for Perce Rock after photographing the Green Gables house.

14 - Tom Melchild reported in from the Biltmore Estates and is headed for the Georgia Guidestones with Alan Barbic.

15 - John Langan called from Maine while headed for Perce Rock. He wasn't having a good time early this morning. At about 3:30 a.m., while riding in the rain, he started hearing a horrible noise that sounded like a wheel bearing might have failed. After pulling over to the side of the road, he discovered that the center stand was dragging on the road; the springs that normally hold it up had fallen off. While trying to lash the center stand up with tie down straps, he knocked the bike off of the side stand. A Gold Wing lying on its side in the rain at 3:30 a.m. is not a good way to start Day 3 of the Iron Butt Rally. Fortunately for John, Brian Roberts soon arrived on the scene. Brian's considerable experience with lifting bikes was put to good use.

16 - Doug Chapman called while on his way to Perce Rock. He mentioned that he is wearing microwaved underwear today.

17 - Chris Cimino called from Marietta, Georgia, where he was waiting for dawn so that he could score a daylight-only bonus. Chris says the combined heat of Mother Nature and the new Concours 14 have been difficult to deal with. Later in the day, Chris called for a second time saying that he was hoping to be able to earn an additional 2,000 points.

18 - Bob St. George called while riding a ferry to Prince Edward Island. Bob is one of several riders who said they think they should be able to claim a rain bonus when they get to the checkpoint.

19 - Bill Thweatt called in from Perce Rock and said he is headed for Niagara Falls.

20 - Jim and Donna Phillips called from New Brunswick while on their way to Perce Rock.

21 - Tom and Rosie Sperry called in from Campbellton after netting the giant salmon. They were on their way to Niagara Falls.

22 - Bob and Sylvie Torter are also on their way to Niagara Falls after success with Perce Rock and the giant salmon.

23 - Terry and Lynda Lahman called in from Georgia while on their way to Key West.

24 - Reiner and Lisa Kappenberger called from Perce Rock just before heading for New Hampshire.

25 - Karol Patzer called in from Clanton, Alabama, on her way to Mobile.

26 - Tony DeLorenzo, who we assume is traveling with his mother Karol Patzer, called in from Mobile. He said he was headed for Biloxi, Mississippi.

27 and 28 - The Brunsvold father and son team called from Campbellton after scoring the giant salmon. Li'l Arlen and Big Arlen said they are headed for Mentone, Indiana, for their next bonus. They apparently aren't planning to stop to pick up any of the eight billion points that are available along the way.

29 and 30 - Mrs. and Mr. Lisa Stevens called from Louisiana after bagging the Superdome bonus. I could hear Lisa in the background telling Tobie what to say while he was making his call. Tobie claimed that his next bonus will be Elvis Presley's gravesite while Lisa claims to be headed for Sciples Mill, Mississippi. Hopefully, Tobie will just follow Lisa; if he really intends to go somewhere else, we may never see him again.

31 - Paul Allison called from Carlton, Quebec, on his way to Perce Rock.

32 - Gerhard Memmen-Krueger was headed for a rest bonus after making Perce Rock.

33 - Chris McGaffin called from Florida headed for Homestead. Chris said, "This Kawasaki is pumping an awful lot of hot air." He has named the bike "The Crotch Cooker." His final words were, "I reckon my sperm count is going to be zero by the time I get back."

34 - Richard Keegan called from Grand Falls, New Brunswick, on his way to Campbellton.

35 - Bill Watt, who is riding with Paul Allison, also called from Quebec while headed for Perce Rock. Bill had a close call last night when he side-swiped a moose but didn't go down. Both Bill and the moose have continued on their way.

36 - Don Wescott called from New Brunswick after bagging both Perce Rock and the giant salmon. He may try to grab a few bonuses on his way back, but it sounds like he is basically headed for the barn.

37 - Steve Broadhead called in from Indiana. He is headed to the Gulf Coast next.

38 - Mike Hutsal called in from Campbellton after making Perce Rock. He is headed for Michigan.

39 - Stephan Bolduc called at the end of his sleep bonus in New Brunswick to say that he was headed for Perce Rock.

40 - Bob Joers called in from Gainesville, Florida, on his way to the sinkhole bonus. Later he called Lisa to report that he was stranded near Miami with an irreparable flat tire on his Gold Wing. He said he was planning to get some sleep tonight and be at the nearest Honda dealer first thing tomorrow morning.

41 - Vicki Johnston called after scoring Perce Rock. She is headed for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

42 - Don Kulwicki called in from Homestead, Florida, after returning from the Keys. He was headed for Biloxi, Mississippi.

43 - Mike Langford called from Maine on his way to Perce Rock after sleeping in a Laundromat last night.

44 - Greg Marbach called in from Perce Rock before heading for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Greg left a message regarding the difficulty he had the previous night while trying to get a bonus photo of the giant salmon in Campbellton. Greg said, "I tried to get it at night; the Polaroid pictures were showing my bike, but not the fish." That's probably why Mike and Lisa decided to make the bonus daylight only. It's lucky for Greg that the photos didn't turn out and he had to come back the following morning. He had other problems at the giant salmon also. After failing to get a photo, his bike wouldn't start. He had been simultaneously running heated gear and auxiliary lights with a stock FJR1300 alternator and had drained his battery to the point that it wouldn't turn the engine over. It took him about an hour to finally get it bump started.

45 - Rick Martin called from Perce Rock. He said he was headed for Campbellton.

46 - Ken Morton called from Perce Rock and reported that he was next headed for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

47 - Jim Mulcahy called from a rest area on Interstate 77 after scoring the New River Gorge Bridge bonus in West Virginia. He was headed for Kingsport, Tennessee.

48 - Peter Murray called while on his way to Tavern on the Green in New York City.

49 - Bob Mueller got word from his wife that he jumped the gun on the call-in bonus yesterday. He called during the proper window to report that he was headed for Perce Rock.

50 - Rick Neeley called from Key West where he bagged the 8,999-point bonus last night. He had just finished his rest bonus and was headed for Grassy Key.

51 - Rob Nye recognized his mistake of calling in a day early yesterday and placed another call to say that he was in Campbellton and headed for Niagara Falls.

52 - Glenn Pancoast called after bagging the Reynolds Motorsports bonus while he was on his way to Prince Edward Island and Perce Rock.

53 - Dick Peek called on his way to the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, West Virginia. He reported that his fuel cell isn't working and his Star Traxx has failed. Dick said, "All of my technology is crapping out on me."

54 - Paul Peloquin called from Campbellton, New Brunswick, on his way to Perce Rock.

55 - Dennis Powell called while on his way to Nashville.

56 - Joel Rappoport called in from Perce Rock where he was waiting for the tide to go out. From there he is headed for Niagara Falls.

57 - Brian Roberts called from Grand Falls, New Brunswick, on his way to Perce Rock.

58 - Alex Schmitt is on his way to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan after scoring Perce Rock.

59 - Mike Senty called from Maine on his way to Perce Rock.

60 - Jack Shoalmire is apparently traveling with Jim Mulcahy. He called from the same phone number and from the same rest area on Interstate 77 after scoring the New River Gorge Bridge bonus in West Virginia. He was also headed for Kingsport, Tennessee.

61 - Tom Skemp called from the Varsity Drive-In in Atlanta, Georgia. He was on his way to the Talladega Speedway. Tom reported that he has lost his ID flag but said, "People have been real good about taking pictures of me."

62 - Jim Simonet called in from Mobile, Alabama. He had just returned from the French Quarter of New Orleans and was on his way to the Barber Motorsports Museum in Leeds, Alabama.

63 - Carl Stark was headed for Carnegie Hall in New York City along with Michael Boge. His hydration system is no longer functional after dragging his drinking tube along the roadway surface for many miles.

64 - John Tomasovitch was at Perce Rock and headed for Prince Edward Island.

65 - Rebecca Vaughn called in from Grassy Key, Florida, on her way back from Key West. She is having a problem with her fuel cell and is stopping more frequently for gas than she would like.

66 - Bill Wade called in from Maine on his way back from Perce Rock.

67 - Matt Watkins called after scoring Perce Rock. He was headed to the Maritime Museum in Bath, Maine, with Doug Chapman.

68 - Jim Winterer called from Perce Rock. He reported missing the Harley-Davidson bonus by one minute because of the time he had to spend retrieving his ID flag from the Buell Motorcycle Company bonus where he left it.

69 - Kendall Anderson called from West Palm Beach, Florida, while on his way to Key West.

70 - Doug Bailey called in from Maine after returning from Campbellton. Doug said he hasn't had any encounters with deer or moose, but claims to have hit two large-mouth bass on Interstate 70 during his soggy ride to Canada.

71 - Michael Boge from Sandpoint, Idaho (population: 5) called from just outside of New York City. He and Carl Stark are riding there together. Michael says "We are a couple of kids from the west on our way to see the big city."

72 - Mark Collins reported that he and his 1972 Electra Glide have already made Key West. Mark was in Fort Myers, Florida, getting ready for a rest bonus. He reported, "The heat has been just brutal down here, but I'm staying hydrated and the bike is running well."

73 - Art Garvin called in from Georgia headed for Tallulah Gorge State Park.

74 - Maura Gatensby called from Quebec after scoring Perce Rock. She was headed for a rest bonus.

75 - Mike Getzendanner called while on his way to Tybee Island, Georgia.

76 - Steve Branner called from a landline in New Brunswick on his way to Perce Rock. His cell phone is waterlogged and no longer working. Commenting on his ride so far, Steve said, "If we had boats, we would have done better."

77 - Curt Gran was headed for Orlando, Florida, after returning from the Florida Keys. He reported having some sort of problem with his windscreen.

78 - Norm Grills called in from Perce Rock and said he is headed for Niagara Falls.

79 - Kevin Healey called from Hardeeville, South Carolina. He was hoping to head for Gainesville, Florida, but the starter has stopped working on his Triumph. Earlier he was able to push start it, but even that wouldn't work this morning.

80 - Dave Hinks called in from Bath, Maine. He said that he has lost the brakes on his FJR and is hoping to get them repaired at the nearest dealer. He said his next stop would depend on how long it takes to get the brakes fixed. Later in the day, Dave called again to let me know that his bike has been fixed and he's back on the road, headed for Niagara Falls.

81 - Chip Hyde, as noted above, is a DNF after his crash on the way to Goose Bay.

82 - Don Jones called in from Mentone, Indiana. He was in the process of adjusting his plan because he said, "Sixteen hours after the ride started, I was already 10 hours behind."

83 - Hans Karlsson is headed straight back to St. Louis after success at Perce Rock.

84 - Vance Keeney reported that he had scored Perce Rock and was headed for Michigan.

85 - Homer Krout called from Grand Falls, New Brunswick, on his way to Perce Rock.

86 - Jim Bain called from Atlanta where he is waiting for Atlanta BMW to repair his front brake line. He said he would be heading for Marietta, Georgia, as soon as the bike is fixed. Later in the day, I heard from Atlanta BMW owner Bob Wooldridge, who told me that his shop was able to get Jim back on the road in two hours. The source of the failure was debris that had fallen off of another brand of motorcycle that Jim was following too closely.

87 - Alan Bennett called in after scoring the Opryland bonus while he was headed for Mobile, Alabama.

88 - David Bordeaux called from Ann Arbor, Michigan, headed for bonuses in Ohio.

89 - Mike Evans called from Perce Rock and said he is headed for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

90 - David Derrick called from Perce Rock just before leaving for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

91 - Fred Droegemueller was on his way back from Key West, headed for Homestead, Florida.

92 - Richard Buber called from Maine on his way to Perce Rock.

93 - Gregg Burger called in from Perce Rock. He said he was headed for Campbellton.

94 - Joe DeRyke called from Fort Pierce, Florida, on his way to Gainesville.

95 - Don Catterton called from Homestead, Florida, to say he was heading for Tybee Island. He experienced a slight delay this morning in order to remove about a thousand baby spiders that had hatched in his helmet over night.

96 - Bob Collin scored Perce Rock and then called in from Maine on his way to the Maritime Museum in Bath.

97 - Rick Miller called from Augusta, Georgia, headed to Harlem, Georgia.

Today many riders were elated to have made Perce Rock, giving them the lift needed to continue on. Tomorrow might be a little tougher as many of the riders in this year's rally have never maintained an 800-1,000-mile-per-day pace for four days in a row.

Thursday, August 23, 2007: Day 4

Two more riders are out. Don Wescott had a zero-speed tip-over on his K1200GT in Bath, Maine. It happened on one of those intersections where a side road meets a slightly elevated highway, requiring the motorcycle to be held at an awkward angle while waiting to enter the highway. Don landed exactly wrong and suffered a third-degree shoulder separation. He plans to limp home to Nova Scotia on the bike, hoping that he can find people willing to help him remove his helmet when necessary; he can no longer remove it himself.

Bill Wade is also out. He parked his R1200RT along the side of a crowned road and didn't pay enough attention when he got back on the bike and pulled away. He rode the bike right into the ditch. The bike suffered only minor plastic damage, but Bill was unable to get it out of the ditch by himself. He called a tow truck. The tow truck driver was able to pull the bike out of the ditch, but he pulled a front disk brake off the bike in the process.

Bill's plans for trailering his bike back to his home in New Jersey and continuing from there with his other bike were vetoed by rallymaster Landry. When a rider switches bikes, the second bike must be ridden to the location where the first bike died. So Bill rented a Harley-Davidson Ultra Glide in Manchester, New Hampshire. He called in later to report that the Harley was running on one cylinder and would only go 60 mph. He has decided to quit.

Jim Winterer reported that he avoided a DNF only because he wears Rocky Eliminator boots. Jim, a trials rider, encountered high winds, dense fog, and patches of ice while riding up and down Mount Washington in New Hampshire. On the way down, at an estimated speed of three mph, he was literally blown over by the wind. His foot was pinned under his Suzuki DL650 right in the middle of the road in heavy fog. He considered for a moment whether he was going to have to hack his foot off with his Swiss Army knife. Fortunately, he was able to reach the laces on his boot, untie them, and wriggle his foot loose. He's banged up a bit but back on the road.

The weather was beautiful yesterday on the Gaspe Peninsula, but riders returning to St. Louis through the Chicago area were again getting beat up by Mother Nature. David Smith was spying on riders at Buckingham Fountain last night, a bonus he was responsible for scouting. He observed riders Greg Marbach and Vance Keeney trying desperately to get an acceptable photo of their rally flags in front of a dimly-illuminated fountain. David says that Polaroid stock should be going up sharply tomorrow.

David also reports that Chicago has been getting socked with bands of storms producing tornadoes, intense lightning, high winds, and deluges of rain that have knocked down trees and power lines all over town and flooded and closed Interstate 94 for a few hours. He wrote, "If you thought Chicago traffic was bad normally, try getting detoured off the interstate and onto flooded side streets with no working traffic lights as you're trying to get to bonuses with weird time restrictions while riding in a blinding downpour. Classic Iron Butt Rally weather - how do Mike and Lisa do it every time?"

Smith's weather report is consistent with a report received from Jeff Earls from Chicago, who said that the wind was so intense that he had to take shelter in a car wash.

Eric Jewell called in while taking a leisurely boat ride. Some of the riders may not realize that traveling on a ferry is equivalent to riding down the road, except that you can sleep while riding a ferry (but you can't claim a rest bonus because you are making progress). One of the ferry rides available on this leg is from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, to Portland, Maine. It's about a 200-mile ride, but the ferry is a fast catamaran. You can bet Jim Owen knows about it.

Now that the window has closed for the first call-in bonus, it's safe to provide a little bit more information on how the riders did. All the riders needed to report during the call was their name, rider number, current location, last bonus scored, and next bonus they were headed for. That took Kendall Anderson exactly 10 seconds. That's not much time for 2,000 points.

Ninety-five of our 97 riders did the call-in bonus. The two who didn't call in were Tom Loftus, who quit, and Chip Hyde, who crashed on the way to Goose Bay. Of the 95 who called in, 88 reported the information requested. Seven riders screwed up. When they get to the scoring table, they will learn that failing to report any one of the required items is equivalent to leaving your flag out of a bonus photo.

Marty Leir failed to report his rider number. He doesn't get extra credit for providing his odometer reading while rolling down the highway.

Arlen Brunsvold, Jr. and Vance Keeney failed to report their current location.

Joe DeRyke failed to report the last bonus he scored.

Don Wescott, Bill Wade, and Jim Winterer failed to report their next bonus objective. One of the purposes of this bonus is to let the rallymaster know where to look for riders who are missing. "I don't know where I'm going next" just didn't cut it.

For leg No. 2 and for future rallies, the instructions for the call-in bonus are going to be changed slightly. There were a number of cases where the last bonus or the next bonus was reported as "the rest bonus." We are going to accept that for leg No. 1 because it meets the letter of the bonus instructions, but what we really wanted was location. From now on, we are going to tell the riders to remember that what's important for a call-in bonus is the same as what's important when it comes to real estate: location, location, and location. We are going to ask for the current location, the location of the last bonus, and the location of the next bonus.

The other two things we want are name and rider number. We want both for two reasons. First, the audio quality on some of the calls isn't perfect and either the name or the rider number sometimes gets garbled. Second, because this is an international competition, it's difficult to understand some of the riders because of the language barrier, especially those from Minnesota.

Friday is going to be a very busy day here at Rally Central. The scorers meeting starts at 3:30 p.m., scoring starts at 4:00 p.m., the checkpoint opens at 7:00 p.m., and closes at 9 p.m. We will try to get the leg No. 1 results tabulated as soon as possible and have results available shortly after 9:00. I'm sure I will be up long after that analyzing the routes of the top 10 riders.

Friday, August 24, 2007: Day 5

***At the end of a grueling ride to the Gaspe Peninsula and back to Chesterfield, Missouri, David Derrick, riding a BMW R1100RT, is leading the 2007 Iron Butt Rally. He racked up 112,249 points while scoring 25 bonuses. In addition to the gas-log bonus, the call-in bonus, and the rest bonus, he scored bonuses at Perce Rock; Moundsville, West Virginia; Buxton, Maine; Todd Witte's house; Prince Edward Island; Louisville, Kentucky (twice); Nashville, Tennessee (twice); Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge; Paducah, Kentucky; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Mentone, Indiana; Gateway Arch in St. Louis; New York City; Chicago (three times); Grand Marais, Michigan; Clarksville, Indiana; Cave City, Kentucky; and Campbellton, New Brunswick.

In second place, just 171 points behind Derrick, is Jim Owen, riding an R1200RT, with 112,078 points. Jim also based his route around the 33,000 point Perce Rock bonus on the Gaspe Peninsula.

In 3rd place is Gregg Burger, riding an R1150GS, who scored 110,752 points with his route based around Perce Rock.

The rest of the riders in the top ten also rode to the Gaspe Peninsula.

Mike Evans, riding an FJR1300, is in 4th place with 110,447 points.

2006 Butt Lite winner Alex Schmitt, riding an ST1300, is in 5th place with 109,469 points.

Marty Leir, riding an R1200GS, is in 6th place with 109,032 points.

Chris Sakala, riding an R1150GS, is in 7th place with 108,861 points.

John Tomasovitch, riding a K1200RS, in 8th place with 104,758 points.

Peter Leap, riding an ST1300, is in 9th place with 103,757 points.

Jeff Earls, riding a K1200GT, is in 10th place with 102,483 points.

The next three highest scoring riders also built their route around Perce Rock. Mike Hutsal, riding a K1200GT, has 100,160 points. Rob Nye, riding an R1200RT, has 100,100 points. Eric Jewell, riding an R1150RT, has 99,719 points.

Brett Donahue, riding a Harley Sportster, was the highest scoring rider who built a route around Key West. Brett is in 14th place with 95,362 points. In addition to the gas log, Brett bagged 40 bonuses! The list of bonuses he got included Birmingham, AL, the call-in bonus, the rest bonus, Kansas City, MO, Biloxi, MS, Homestead, FL, Marietta, GA, Kissimmee, FL, Metropolis, IL, four from Nashville, TN, Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge, Memphis, TN, Leeds, AL, Elberton, GA, Paducah, KY, Hardeeville, SC, Grassy Key, FL, Gateway Arch, Mammoth Spring, AR, Sullivan's Island, SC, Tybee Island, GA, Tallulah Falls, GA, Bentonville, AR, Harlem, GA, Augusta, GA, New Orleans, LA, Talladega, AL, two from Key West, Gainesville, FL, Sciples Mill, MS, Memphis, TN, Greenville, MS, New Orleans, LA, two in Atlanta, GA, and Fayetteville, AR.

Alan Barbic and Tom Melchild are tied for 15th with 92,863 points. They were among the few riders that didn't go to either the Gaspe Peninsula or Key West. Alan and Tom laid out a route with relatively high points per mile. They not only rode significantly fewer miles than the riders who finished above them, they rode fewer miles than all but one of the next 24 riders.

At the other end of the spectrum, Hans Karlsson and Bob St. George failed to make it to the checkpoint before it closed. Bob called in reporting that he has been sidelined with an electrical problem on his FJR1300. The other DNFs reported previously were Tom Loftus, Chip Hyde, Bill Wade, and Don Wescott.

Joel Rappoport is leading the "Hopeless Class." Joel, who has never before competed in an endurance rally, is riding the 1976 BMW R60/6. He bagged Perce Rock and numerous other bonuses for a total of 76,119 points, solidly in the range required to be a finisher. He is in 55th place.

Donald Jones, riding the Hopeless Class 1978 GL1000, is also doing well. Don has 75,782 points and is in 59th place.

Mark Collins, riding the 1972 Harley, came in with 66,346 points, just a bit below what he will need to be listed as a finisher. He bagged high point bonuses in Biloxi, Key West, New Orleans, and Homestead. Mark, who is currently in 80th place, will need to do just a little bit better on Leg 2 to be listed as a finisher.

Alan Bennett on the Ninja 250 is having more of a problem keeping on a finisher-level pace. He scored on 53,225 points, riding 2,919 miles. He is in 87th place.

The leading two-up team is Reiner and Lisa Kappenberger, who are in 33rd place with 82,585 points.

Rebecca Vaughn, who is in 29th place, is the leading woman rider. Rebecca scored 83,356 points on her ride to Key West and back.

Leader David Derrick rode 5,399 miles, which was the second highest mileage for the leg. The rider with the highest mileage was Marty Leir, who rode 5,417 miles. Third highest mileage was George Barnes, with 5,198 miles. However, George wasn't very efficient on this leg and is only in 41st place.

Dick Fish was another rider thought to have a good chance of placing near the top that is well back in the pack. He scored only 72,973 points on his ride to Perce Rock. Dick is expecting that Goose Bay is again likely to be a bonus on Leg 2 and, if it is, he says he is going for it this time. He is going to be disappointed when the bonus listings are handed out at 4 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Leg 1 has been a humbling experience for a number of riders who were expecting to be at the front of the pack. On the other hand, several of the riders in the top ten are newcomers to the Iron Butt Rally who are turning in Jim Owen-level performances.

Eight of the top ten riders are from east of the Mississippi. That may have given them some advantage on Leg 1. It's now time to head west.

Tom Austin

August 24, 2007

Copyright (c) 2007 Iron Butt Rally, Inc., Chicago, IL

2007 Iron Butt Rally, Day 6

Saturday, August 25, 2007

At 4:00 a.m. this morning, the 35-page bonus listing for Leg 2 of the 2007 Iron Butt Rally was handed out. There are 134 separate bonuses to choose from. The standard caution to riders printed on the first page was never more appropriate:

"IMPORTANT CAUTION: The following Potential Bonus locations are like a restaurant menu. If you order everything on the menu and eat it, you are going to get sick and perhaps die. Please pick and choose bonus destinations carefully!"

This morning, most of the riders were having trouble with the menu. Three hours after the bonus listing had been distributed, only a few riders were on the road. Even routing guru Jim Owen spent more than six hours planning his route.

Eric Jewell got out of the parking lot before Owen, but then returned in less than half an hour. I asked Eric if something was wrong with his bike. He said the bike was fine, he just decided that he needed to spend more time working on his route. Eight hours (!) after the bonus listings had been distributed, Eric finally got back on the road. He was not the last rider to leave.

In the history of the Iron Butt Rally, never have riders had so much difficulty planning a route. This was the bonus listing from hell.

There are 6 days and 4 hours between when the Leg 2 bonus listings were handed out and when the final checkpoint opens next Friday at 8 a.m. That's 148 hours. At a 1,000 mile per day pace, it's 6,167 miles.

A quick scan of the bonus listing shows the highest point bonus is Deadhorse, Alaska (Prudhoe Bay); a whopping 161,014 points. Trouble is that the round trip to Deadhorse is 8,300 miles, 800 miles of which are over the treacherous Dalton Highway, otherwise known as the Haul Road. Given the roads involved, the required 1,350 miles per day average pace is almost certainly beyond the reach of even the top riders. Forget about it.

The second highest bonus on the list is Homer, Alaska at 142,501 points. Homer is a 8,000 mile round trip, requiring about a 1,300 mile per day average. To average just four hours per day off of the bike, you would have to maintain a BBG pace (63 mph) while on the bike, riding over less than optimum roads. No one has ever averaged 1,300 miles per day during the Iron Butt Rally.

If your name isn't George Barnes, Homer, Alaska should probably be considered a sucker bonus. If you name IS George Barnes, it should probably be considered a sucker bonus. But several riders are bound to try it. I'll be surprised if Dick Fish isn't one of them.

The remaining 5 figure bonuses include the following:

Hyder, AK, 42,345

Watson Lake, Yukon Territories, 28,230

Lick Observatory at Mt. Hamilton, CA, 24,057

Two Harbors, MN, 18,674

Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, CA 18,567

Cape Royal, AZ (on the rim of the Grand Canyon), 12,978

Mono Hot Springs, CA, 12,667

Vancouver Island, BC, 12,234

Mt. St. Helens National Monument, WA 10,878

Glacier Point in Yosemite Park, 10,234

Unlike the other Alaskan bonuses, Hyder is clearly doable. It's about 5,600 miles, requiring an average of 900 miles per day. The question is whether it makes sense in combination with other high point bonuses. Adding Watson Lake in the Yukon Territories increases the round trip to about 6,000 miles. That's a relatively straight forward ride that many of the better riders in the field can do, but 70,575 is not enough points given the multitude of relatively high point bonuses available in the lower 48 states.

Adding Split Rock Lighthouse State Park (near Two Harbors, MN) to the a route based on Hyder only increases the round trip to about 6,104 miles while adding 18,674 points. With the points for the rest bonus, call-in bonuses, fuel log, and return of the rider ID tag, the point total is 115,049. The fact that the suggested "finisher" level for Leg 2 is 120,000 points should be a clue that this route is not adequate.

The better option is a route that requires more planning and a lot more bonus stops, including many of the bonuses below 10,000 points. Building a route around the 24,057 point Lick Observatory bonus near San Jose, California is going to be a popular option. The ride to the observatory and back is 4,168 miles. That requires less than 12 hours per day of riding, leaving lots of time to go for other bonuses.

There are five relatively high point bonuses on the San Francisco peninsula that are a must add: Sutro Baths (3,345 points), the Christopher Columbus Statue on Telegraph Hill (2,567 points), Golden Gate Bridge (2,453 points), Lombard Street (4,109 points), and the Palace of Fine Arts (2,452 points). They increase the point total by 14,926 while adding less than 100 miles to the base route to Lick Observatory.

For those willing to tackle some twisty roads in the Sierra Nevada mountains, there is a mother lode of 54,739 points available at Sequoia National Park (8,704), Mono Hot Springs (12,667 points), Glacier Point in Yosemite (10,234), the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Village (4,567), and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest (18,567).

A route built around Lick Observatory that includes just the bonus stops listed above is already above the point total for the aforementioned Hyder-based route and it has far fewer miles.

Will It Be the Rider or the Router?

We wouldn't normally provide this much insight into the makings of a smart route so early in a leg, but a lot has changed in the last ten years; riders are getting routing tips from multiple sources. In recent years, the greater complexity of the bonus listings has increased the importance of routing skills in the Iron Butt Rally. But there has been an unintended consequence. There is now a significant number of riders that is depending on outside assistance for route planning. Within a few hours of the bonus listings being distributed, electronic files containing all of the bonuses were moving over the Internet.

Currently, there is a thread entitled "IBR Podium Etiquette" on the Long Distance Riders list. The question is being asked whether the trophies should be awarded to the rider or the router this year.

In some cases, the riders are just screwing themselves by taking routing advice from others. This morning rider Eric Jewell heard spectator Mark Crane say that the round trip to Deadhorse and back was easily doable because it's only 5,500 miles. I know Eric is too smart to take such bogus advice. But other riders are being coached by teams of individuals that include former IBR winners.

Under the current rules, team efforts are not prohibited, but they are inconsistent with the spirit of the Iron Butt Rally, as far as many rally veterans are concerned. For 2009, riders can expect to find changes that will substantially reduce the incentive for outside assistance with their routes.

The DNF Total Rises

Four more riders are out today, bringing the total of DNFs to ten. The Brunsvold father and son team has called it quits. They were in 88th and 89th place at the end of Leg 1 and almost 20,000 points behind the pace required to be classified as finishers. They took one look at the bonus listing for Leg 2 and waved the white flag.

Bob Joers has also called it quits. He was in 82nd place at the end of Leg 1 with 63,261 points.

Finally, Doug Chapman has decided to head for home to deal with some family issues. He was in 56th place with 76,026 points.

There is also some additional information available today regarding Bob St. George, who failed to make checkpoint 1. Bob, who was time-barred yesterday because of an electrical problem with his FJR1300, limped back into Chesterfield today. His bike died yesterday, less than 200 miles from the checkpoint. The aftermarket stator had failed.

What makes this particularly unfortunate is that Bob was having a terrific first leg. His route was based around Perce Rock. In addition to the Rock, he would have scored the gas bonus, the rest bonus, the call-in bonus, Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick, Moundsville, WV, Buxton, ME, Todd Witte's house, Prince Edward Island, Buell Motorcycle Company, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Gateway Arch, Grand Marais, MI, and Campbellton, New Brunswick. His score of 102,034 points would have put him in 11th place.

Bob is somewhat depressed tonight; he really wanted to finish. I suspect he will have another chance some day. Based on his impressive 4-day performance, he will be a rider to watch in a future rally.

Additional information is also available regarding Hans Karlsson. He is unlikely to be a rider to watch in a future rally. Yesterday's report indicated that Hans had missed the close of the window for checkpoint 1 and was out of the rally. I apologize for leaving the impression that Hans had arrived late. That was for the benefit of his wife, in case she was monitoring the rally via the Internet. In fact, we had no idea where Hans was.

Hans committed a Cardinal Sin; he failed to call the rallymaster and report that he would be late. He had no excuse other than he thought it was "no big deal." He thought wrong.

Tom Austin

August 25, 2007

Copyright (c) 2007 Iron Butt Rally, Inc., Chicago, IL

2007 Iron Butt Rally, Day 7

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

Apparently Rob Nye and Jim Frens don't, or at least they don't care. Early today, I received a report of their whereabouts. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is not on the way to San Jose; it's on the way to Homer, Alaska. Tomorrow, we should learn who else thinks they can average 1,300 miles per day over less than optimum roads for 6 days.

Everything has to go perfectly to get to Homer and back in six days. You can tolerate little or nothing in the way of bad weather, road construction zones, traffic congestion, bike problems, and encounters with animals on the road. Under the best of conditions, you aren't going to get much sleep. It will take a really tough rider with really good luck.

I had just finished writing the above paragraph at 2:30 p.m. Central Time when my cell phone rang. It was IBR veteran Paul Meredith, who is getting periodic updates on Rob Nye's progress. Rob is in Edmonton, Alberta. That's 1800 miles from Chesterfield, MO, and the bonus listings were handed out only 34 hours ago. Rob has been keeping a pace that is sufficient to make it to Homer and back.

Unfortunately, Rob's chances of scoring the Homer, Alaska, bonus have just vaporized. His BMW R1200RT, the one with the all-new, never needs maintenance final drive, is puking rear end lubricant all over Public Highway 16. Dammit! It's bad enough that Rob's valiant effort has to end this way; what's worse is that I am going to have to listen to that cackling witch of a rallymaster reminding me of our side bet on the percentage of BMWs that would finish without mechanical failures. She will laugh about it later, but it's not funny right now. We truly feel sorry for Rob because we know he was giving it his all.

Rob is clearly out of contention for a top ten finish, but he isn't necessarily out of the rally. We should know tomorrow whether he is going to get the Beemer fixed and back on the road. If anyone can do it, Rob can.

There are a couple of reports today of other BMW riders having less serious problems than Rob Nye. Yesterday, when Eric Jewell returned to the parking lot of Rally Central to do additional route planning, IBR staffer Greg Roberts noticed that Eric's rear tire was going flat. Spectator and former IBR winner Rick Morrison found a nail in the tire. The hole was plugged before Eric got back on the road, but the plug blew out as Eric was traveling west on I-70. He was able to replug the hole, but he really needed a new tire.

The nearest BMW dealer in Eric's direction of travel was Engle Motors in Kansas City. He called from the side of the road at 3:10 p.m. to learn that their service department closes at 3 on Saturday. When Eric told them his situation, one of the technicians who had not yet left agreed to wait for him. Eric called back later as he was motoring down the road on a new ME880. He asked me to pass this along: "Engle Motors Rocks!"

Bob Collin called in today from Colorado. He pulled off of the road to take a nap and left his 4-way flashers on. When he awoke his battery was dead. It took over two hours for the service vehicle to arrive and give him a jump. As the truck pulled away, Bob got back on the R1200RT and promptly stalled it. It wouldn't restart. By the time he got his second jump start, he had been sidelined for 5 hours.

Approaching midnight on Sunday, Tom and Rosie Sperry are sidelined in Kellogg, Idaho after the "tail dragger" auxiliary fuel cell on their K1200LT broke loose and fell against the rear tire. The rear tire is in shreds. They will try to get if fixed tomorrow morning and stay in the rally if at all possible.

Two more riders have dropped out as of today: Norm Grills on a BMW K1100LT and Dave Hinks on an FJR1300. Norm was too exhausted to continue after spending time trying to fix problems with his CB and XM radio that he should have spent sleeping. David lost all chances of being listed as a finisher when he lost his bonus listing. It blew out of his top case, which apparently hadn't been closed properly.

Most of the 87 riders remaining in the rally are undoubtedly headed for Lick Observatory at the top of Mount Hamilton, near San Jose, California. Because of the width of the time window, it won't be quite the mob scene it was at Gateway Arch, but there will be dozens of riders there at the same time. The key to placing well will be figuring out what other bonuses can be included in a route that contains the 24,057 point bonus at the Observatory.

Since tomorrow is the first call-in bonus for Leg 2, I will be posting a lot of information on where everyone is and where they are headed. I'm guessing that there are at least two other riders besides Nye and Frens that are on their way to Alaska.

During the break in the action at Rally Central, I want to acknowledge the efforts of volunteers who got everyone through the scoring process at the end of Leg 1. Ira Agin's team of scorers included Steve Hobart, Paul Glaves, John Harrison, Dennis Bitner, Roger Van Santen, Jim Fousek, Greg Roberts, Dave McQueeney, Don Moses, Jerry Harris, and Helen Austin. Bill Shaw served as the custodian of the envelopes into which all of the bonus listings and documentation were filed. He also served as the maitre d'. About an hour before the opening of the checkpoint window, a queue of riders was forming for the scoring tables. Bill kept a list of riders waiting to be scored, which built up to about 20 at the busiest point. It was a very smoothly run operation.

Bob Higdon assisted Michael Kneebone with the final review and data entry process. Donna Fousek and Karen Van Santen also provided assistance to Kneebone and Rallymaster Landry throughout the evening.

In addition to their involvement in the scoring process, many of these same volunteers have put in an enormous amount of time scouting bonuses and doing other behind-the-scenes work necessary to make the 2007 Iron Butt Rally possible.

Tom Austin

August 26, 2007

Copyright (c) 2007 Iron Butt Rally, Inc., Chicago, IL

2007 Iron Butt Rally, Day 8

Monday, August 27, 2007

Eight Are Heading for Alaska

One of the best things about serving as Rally Scribe is being the first person to hear incoming messages from riders on the road that just make my jaw drop. Who on Earth would have expected a rider in 90th place at the end of Leg 1 to be on his way to Homer, Alaska?

Don Kulwicki, on a GL1800 Gold Wing, called me just before 3:30 p.m. Central Time today to tell me he had just bagged the 28,230 point Watson Lake bonus and is heading for Homer. He was 2,800 miles from Rally Central here in Chesterfield, MO and 59.5 hours into the ride. Since the bonus listings were handed out on Saturday morning, he had been averaging 47 mph. Unfortunately, that's way behind the pace required to get to Homer and back.

Two other intrepid riders are also on their way to Homer: Jim Frens and George Barnes. They have a chance of making it. Jim decided on his route plan quickly and was one of the first riders out of the parking lot at the start of Leg 2. George Barnes spent a lot of time planning a route around San Jose and then changed his mind at the last minute, giving Frens a head start of several hours.

Frens has increased his lead over Barnes. He called in from Tok, Alaska, at 4:35 p.m. Pacific Time. George was still 400 miles from Tok when he called in at 5:38 p.m. Jim is ahead of the schedule required to make it back from Homer; George is behind schedule. If it was anyone other than George Barnes, I would say he is toast.

The other Alaska bound riders aren't biting off quite so much. Dick Fish, Fred Droegemueller, Joe DeRyke, Bill Watt, and Paul Allison are all on their way to Hyder.

Where is the Routing Guru?

Homer, Alaska was a tempting destination for those riders with a butt of iron and a burning desire to win, but there are more points to be had on the West Coast for someone with the skill to plan an efficient route and the ability to hustle to bonus after bonus with very little time off the bike. Jim Owen, who was in second place at the end of Leg 1, is on a mission to score more points than are available by going to Homer as he does his vacuum cleaner routine on the West Coast.

David Derrick, the leader at the end of Leg 1, has fallen back in the pack after a fuel pump failure on his R1100RT. Because of the mileage on the bike, David was actually carrying a spare fuel pump with him. The heartbreaking part of this story is that the bike was trashed while being trucked to the nearest BMW dealership in the back of a truck. What should have been a quick repair turned into an all day ordeal.

Kudos to BMW of Las Vegas for bringing in a technician on a day that the service department is normally closed. Unfortunately, David didn't get back on the road until almost 5 p.m.

"It's Day 8, What the Hell Do You Expect."

That was Alan Barbic's explanation for his embarrassing moment at Glacier Point. The bonus instructions said, "Take a picture of Half Dome from the Glacier Point overlook." He had just done that and was headed back down the road. While trying to ride his bike and double check the bonus listing at the same time (never a good idea), he saw something in the bonus listing about taking a picture of "one of the information signs." He stopped and tried to turn around on the narrow road. He dropped the bike in the process. When he finally got back to Glacier Point, he read the bonus instructions one more time; the picture of the information sign was only required "if weather prevents you from taking the picture" of Half Dome.

Several riders commented on what a nice ride it was to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Rebecca Vaughn referred to it as "A pretty hellish little road." (The fact that it was 18,567 points should have been a clue.) Curt Gran had an especially nice ride up and down the mountain. He had a flat tire on the way up and dropped his bike on the way back down.

Mike Hutsal reported that the road to Bristlecone shook the windshield off his K1200GT. That's my old bike, the same one I used to scout the Bristlecone bonus in 2003; the windshield fell off before I got to the top. That's the road that convinced me to buy a GS for scouting Iron Butt Rally bonuses.

Brett Donahue found an even worse road to get back from Bristlecone. He let "Betty the Bitch" from his Garmin GPS route him down a goat trail called Silver Canyon Road. Brett knew he was in trouble when he got to the sign that said, "Four Wheel Drive Recommended After This Point." Six stream crossings later, he finally got back to pavement.

The road to the Trona Pinnacles also got good reviews. Ken Morton reported, "The road to the Pinnacles absolutely sucks."

Three More Riders Out

A total of 14 riders have now dropped out.

Homer Krout put his BMW R1200GS into a ditch on SR180 in Sequoia National Park after hitting some gravel on the road. Homer is banged up a little bit but apparently okay. The bike is more than a little banged up; Homer thinks it may be totaled. He is probably out.

Steve Broadhead is definitely out. He had plans for doing Hyder, but he decided to pack it in when he reached his hometown of Calgary.

Alan Bennett, riding his first endurance rally on a Hopeless Class 250 cc Kawasaki, is also out. In addition to being beaten up by the weather on Leg 1, he had his GPS and tank bag stolen. Because the tank bag contained some of the receipts he needed at the scoring table, he ended up in 87th place with only 53, 225 points. He wasn't doing well on Leg 2 and has decided to call it quits.

Glenn Pancoast is the second victim of a rear drive failure on the all-new, never needs maintenance final drive on his R1200GS. But he will apparently be back on the road tomorrow.

Location, Location, Location

At the riders meeting for the start of Leg 2, everyone received supplemental instructions regarding the call-in bonus. To help riders remember what they need to report, they were told "Think of the three most important things when it comes to real estate; location, location, and location." Two riders, Bill Thweatt and Peter Murray, failed to report their current location. Vance Keeney failed to report his next location. As was said at the riders meeting, "The sleep bonus" doesn't cut it.

We think Rick Martin also lost the call-in bonus for using Vicki Johnston's rider number. Either that or Vicki Johnston sounds really bad today and is using Rick Martin's name.

Listed below, in order of the time that they called in, is the location and next destination for each rider. All times are Pacific Daylight Savings Time.

12:12 a.m., Jim Simonet is in Jarrell, TX, and headed for The Alamo.

12:24 a.m., Paul Peloquin is in Las Vegas, NV, and headed for Death Valley.

12:33 a.m., Matt Watkins is in Pahrump, NV, also headed to Death Valley.

1:08 a.m., Terry and Lynda Lahman are in Ely, NV, headed next to Yosemite.

1:09 a.m., Bob and Silvie Torter are in North Dakota and headed for Lake Louise.

1:29 a.m., Jim Bain is in Kingman, AZ, headed for Las Vegas.

1:33 a.m., Peter Leap is in Washington, UT, headed for Las Vegas.

1:35 a.m., Rick Miller is in Kingman, AZ, headed for the nearby "Golf Ball House."

2:15 a.m., Stephan Bolduc is in Mitchell, SD, headed for Mt. Rushmore.

2:20 a.m., Jim and Donna Phillips appear to be riding with Stephan Bolduc.

2:22 a.m., Steve Branner is in Utah on his way to Las Vegas.

3:12 a.m., Rick Neeley is in Wyoming on his way to Dinosaur National Monument.

3:25 a.m., Richard Buber is in El Paso, TX, heading for White Sands, NM.

3:26 a.m., Mike Senty appears to be riding with Buber.

3:29 a.m., Jim Winterer appears to be riding with Buber and Senty.

3:30 a.m., Ken Morton is in Ridgecrest, CA, headed for Sequoia National Park.

4:17 a.m., Reiner and Lisa Kappenberger are also in Ridgecrest headed for Sequoia.

4:19 a.m., John Tomasovitch is in Las Vegas and headed for Death Valley.

4:22 a.m., Chris McGaffin is in Paige, AZ, and headed for Sequoia.

4:37 a.m., Don Catterton is in New Mexico headed for White Sands.

4:44 a.m., Peter Murray is headed for Lake Louise.

4:49 a.m., David Bordeaux is in North Dakota, headed for Mt. Rushmore.

4:56 a.m., Marty Leir is in Big Pine, CA, headed for Bristlecone Pine Forest.

5:12 a.m., Dennis Powell is at Wall Drugs in South Dakota headed for Mt. Rushmore.

5:13 a.m., Greg Marbach is in Bishop, CA, headed for Bristlecone.

5:22 a.m., Jim Mulcahy is in Canada, headed for Lake Louise.

5:29 a.m., Brian Roberts is in Nevada, headed for Death Valley.

5:37 a.m., John Langan is also in Nevada, headed for Death Valley.

5:53 a.m., Carl Stark is in Tonopah, NV headed for Bristlecone.

5:57 a.m., Michael Boge is riding with Carl Stark.

5:59 a.m., Andy Mills is in Colorado, headed for Dinosaur National Monument.

6:12 a.m., Kevin Healey is in Arizona, headed for the Grand Canyon.

6:17 a.m., Glenn Pancoast is in Laramie, WY, headed for Dinosaur.

6:23 a.m., Tom Skemp is in Wendover, NV, headed for Gerlach.

6:25 a.m., Bob Collin appears to be riding with Tom Skemp.

6:49 a.m., Richard Keegan is in Bakersfield, CA, headed for Sequoia.

7:01 a.m., Jeff Earls is at the ferry terminal in Port Angeles headed for Vancouver Island.

7:17 a.m., Don Jones is at Idaho Springs, CO, headed for Tennessee Pass.

7:58 a.m., Jack Shoalmire is on his way from Las Vegas to Death Valley.

8:24 a.m., Karol Patzer is in Las Vegas and headed for Death Valley.

8:28 a.m., Fred Droegemueller is in Lake Louise and headed for Hyder, AK.

8:29 a.m., Joe DeRyke is also in Lake Louise and headed for Hyder, AK.

8:32 a.m., Tony DeLorenzo is in Las Vegas and headed for Death Valley.

8:45 a.m., Bill Thweatt is on his way to Death Valley.

9:16 a.m., Rick Martin is on his way from Wendover, NV, to Gerlach.

9:42 a.m., Bob Mueller is in Jacob Lake, AZ, headed for Las Vegas.

9:55 a.m., Jim Owen is in Carson, WA, and headed for Maryhill, WA

10:35 a.m., Tom and Rosie Sperry are in Kellogg, ID, headed for Mt. St. Helens.

10:39 a.m., Art Garvin is in Tonopah, NV, headed for Death Valley.

10:49 a.m., Steve Broadhead called it quits from his hometown in Calgary.

11:24 a.m., Kendall Anderson is in Big Pine, CA, headed for Yosemite.

12:04 p.m., Brett Donahue is on Highway 395 headed for Yosemite Village.

12:11 p.m., Tom Melchild is at Glacier Point (Yosemite), headed for Mono Hot Springs.

12:17 p.m., Mike Evans is on Vancouver Island and headed for Hurricane Ridge, WA.

12:28 p.m., Rob Nye is Edmonton, Alberta, and headed for Lake Louise.

12:31 p.m., Vicki Johnston is departing Glacier Point for Mono Hot Springs.

12:35 p.m., Chris Sakala is en route to Mono Hot Springs from Yosemite.

12:56 p.m., Mark Collins is in Belgrade, MT, and headed for Kellogg, ID.

1:15 p.m., Don Kulwicki is in Watson Lake, YT, and on his way to Homer, AK.

2:24 p.m., Dick Fish is in Fraser Lake, BC, and on his way to Hyder, AK.

3:02 p.m., Alex Schmitt is in Tacoma, WA, and on his way to Mt. St. Helens.

3:12 p.m., Doug Bailey is in Seattle, WA, and on his way to Mt. St. Helens.

3:16 p.m., Gregg Burger is in Bishop, CA, and on his way to Mono Hot Springs.

4:33 p.m., Mike Langford is Oakhurst, CA, and on his way to Mono Hot Springs.

4:35 p.m., Jim Frens is in Tok, Alaska, and on his way to Homer, AK.

4:53 p.m., David Derrick is in Las Vegas and on his way to the Yosemite Village.

5:38 p.m., George Barnes is in Whitehorse and on his way to Homer, AK.

6:27 p.m., Chris Cimino is in San Francisco and on his way to Livermore, CA.

7:55 p.m., Maura Gatensby is in Elko, NV, headed for Yosemite.

8:08 p.m., Joel Rappoport is in Wall, SD, headed for Kellogg, ID

8:30p.m., Curt Gran is at Mono Hot Springs and on the way to San Jose.

8:49 p.m., Paul Allison is on the way to Hyder.

8:59 p.m., Mike Getzendanner is in Clovis, CA on the way to San Francisco.

8:59 p.m., Bill Watt is in British Columbia, on his way to Hyder.

9:01 p.m., Mike Hutsal is in Los Banos, CA, on his way to San Francisco.

9:11 p.m., Lisa Stevens is in Fresno, CA, headed for Livermore, CA.

9:14 p.m., Tobie Stevens is, of course, following Lisa.

9:26 p.m., Rebecca Vaughn is on her way from Yosemite to Big Sur, CA.

9:33 p.m., Alan Barbic is on his way from Mono Hot Springs to Santa Cruz.

9:39 p.m., Eric Jewell is on his way to Mono Hot Springs.

9:43 p.m., Dick Peek is in Yosemite Village, headed for the Ahwahnee Hotel.

10:14 p.m., Vance Keeney is in Livermore, CA, headed who knows where.

11:40 p.m., Gerhard Memmen-Kruger is in San Francisco headed for the Lick Observatory tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow is the parade to the Lick Observatory at the top of Mt. Hamilton, where the riders have to sign in with Dean Tanji to score the 24,057 point bonus. Some riders will be taking a fairly direct route back to Rally Central after that. Riders who are going to finish in the top ten have a lot more bonus hunting to do first.

Tom Austin

August 27, 2007

Copyright (c) 2007 Iron Butt Rally, Inc., Chicago, IL

2007 Iron Butt Rally, Day 9

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Parade to Mt. Hamilton

Today was the motorcycle parade to the top of Mt. Hamilton, where the riders had to sign in with Dean Tanji at the Lick Observatory in order to get the 24,057 point bonus. The point total was set so that it would attract every rider who didn't go to Alaska. During the 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. bonus window, a total of only 54 motorcycles showed up.

Accounting for the 14 riders who we know to be out of the rally and the 9 riders who headed for Alaska (Barnes, Frens, Kulwicki, Nye, Fish, Droegemueller, DeRyke, Watt, and Allison), there were 20 other motorcycles that we expected to try for the observatory. We know that David Derrick and Glenn Pancoast were sipping Kool-Aid in BMW dealerships waiting for their motorcycles to be put back in running order. Mark Collins was stranded at a Harley dealership.

The other 17 motorcycles that were no-shows are being ridden by Maura Gatensby, Bill Thweatt, Bob and Silvie Torter, Jim Mulcahy, Peter Murray, Bob Mueller, Rick Neeley, Joel Rappoport, Mike Senty, Jim Simonet, Jim Winterer, Steve Branner, Kevin Healey, Jim Bain, David Bordeaux, Richard Buber, and Don Catterton. The are either running behind schedule or on a sub-optimal route.

Fourteen motorcycles were waiting at the observatory when the checkpoint opened. Their riders were Mike Hutsal, Reiner and Lisa Kappenberger, Tom Melchild, Jack Shoalmire, Chris Cimino, Vance Keeney, Bob Collin, Terry and Lynda Lahman, Ken Morton, Rick Martin, Richard Keegan, Chris McGaffin, Jeff Earls, and Greg Marbach.

At the back end of the parade, the rider in 3rd place at the end of Leg 1, Gregg Burger, came within 20 seconds of missing the checkpoint window. Doug Bailey was much more conservative, leaving himself a whole minute. Alex Schmitt had 8 minutes to spare.

The other riders that made it to the observatory, in the order they signed in, were Mike Langford, Marty Leir, Peter Leap, John Tomasovitch, Brett Donahue, Rick Miller, Brian Roberts, Kendall Anderson, Alan Barbic, Tobie Stevens, Lisa Stevens, Chris Sakala, Paul Peloquin, Vicki Johnston, Matt Watkins, Rebecca Vaughn, Gerard Memmen-Kruger, Tom and Rosie Sperry, Tom Skemp, Art Garvin, Mike Getzendanner, Michael Boge, Carl Stark, Karol Patzer, Curt Gran, Tony DeLorenzo, Andy Mills, Jim Owen, John Langan, Kevin Healey, Jim Bain, Don Jones, Dick Peek, Mike Evans, Jim and Donna Phillips, Stephan Bolduc, and Eric Jewell.

Dean Tanji reports that everything ran very smoothly at the checkpoint. It took less than a minute per rider for check in. There was, however, a minor mishap on the twisty 2-lane road leading to the observatory. Doug Bailey and Dick Peek bumped together on a tight turn and both bikes went down. There was no major damage and both riders are continuing on.

IBR veteran Dave Biasotti also gave me a report from the observatory. Dave talked to Jim Owen, who told Dave that he had already been to Vancouver, Mt. Saint Helens, Gerlach, and all of the San Francisco bonuses. Jim said that he was headed for the Sierras (no surprise). He covered 3,000 miles in 48 hours before getting 6 hours of sleep last night. Dave said that Jim looked well rested and his bike has been running great, but he is having one problem: he is running low on Polaroid film because he has taken over 120 pictures!

Service Bay Action

Leg 1 leader David Derrick broke down a second time. The same problem that BMW of Las Vegas was supposed to have fixed cropped up again in Yosemite. Arrangements were made to get the bike towed for a second time to a dealer in Modesto, 90 miles away.

Glenn Pancoast spent most of the day in Salt Lake City waiting for a new final drive to be installed in his R1200GS.

Mark Collins' problem was a broken rim on the rear wheel on his 1972 Harley. Luckily he was able to obtain a new rim in Missoula, Montana. He's back on the road today, but his chances of making the West Coast on time were shot.

Rick Neeley was at BMW of Las Vegas tonight to get a failed odometer replaced on his R1200GS.

Calls From the Road

Rebecca Vaughn may have set a new Iron Butt Rally record with her hotel stay last night. Yesterday, while scoring her call-in bonus, she said that she was on her way to Big Sur where she would try to find a place to stay for the night. As soon as Lisa Landry heard the recording, she said, "She won't find anything."

Sure enough, Rebecca called in this morning to report that she couldn't find a place to stay in Big Sur. She ended up going to Carmel, which is not exactly known for economical accommodations. She found a room for $400. But, hey, the rest bonus was 7,723 points. 19 points per dollar is a bargain on this rally, especially for the many riders visiting BMW service departments throughout North America.

1999 IBR winner George Barnes called in from Homer, Alaska. He's there with rally newbie Don Kulwicki. They have a 4,000 mile ride to get back home and, at the time of the call, they had only 65 hours left before the final checkpoint opens. That requires just shy of a Bun Burner Gold pace for almost three full days.

Rob Nye called in today to report that his first bonus after the repair of his failed final drive was Custer's Last Stand. This rally has given Rob an appreciation for how Custer must have felt at the bitter end.

There was no call today from Jim Frens. That's probably a very good sign. Jim is probably way ahead of George Barnes and Don Kulwicki and on schedule to make it back from Homer in time. If Jim stays on schedule, he will be going to the scoring table with a huge point total. But will it be enough? As best we can follow Jim Owen via Star Traxx, he seems to be snagging an amazing number of high point bonuses all over the Western U.S. Several other riders also have the potential to score more in the West than is available on the way to Homer and back.

We may know a bit more tomorrow when we start getting information from the second call-in bonus on this leg, but it's likely to be late Friday morning before we know who is going to win the 2007 Iron Butt Rally.

Tom Austin

August 28, 2007

Copyright (c) 2007 Iron Butt Rally, Inc., Chicago, IL

2007 Iron Butt Rally, Day 10

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Jim Frens called from Grande Prairie, Alberta, at 4:41 p.m. Central Time. At that point, he had covered at least 5,875 miles in just under 109 hours since the bonus listings were distributed last Saturday at 4:00 a.m. Central Time. He has been averaging slightly over 1,300 miles per day. If he can maintain his current pace, he will make it back to Chesterfield, MO, EXACTLY on time. Whether he wins or not, it's going to have been one hell of a ride.

Jim reports that, if he has time, he's going to try to snag the bonus in Two Harbors, Minnesota, on the way back. That would add 18,674 points to the minimum of 170,731 points he has already gotten for Watson Lake and Homer. Two Harbors could put him ahead of the highest point rider who went to California. Even if he comes straight back to Chesterfield, he is going to have over 12,500 miles for Leg 1 and Leg 2 combined.

ATGATT

If you ride a motorcycle and you don't know what ATGATT stands for, you should: All The Gear, All The Time! We have one rider who especially appreciates the importance of ATGATT tonight.

Early this afternoon, Leg 1 leader David Derrick, who has been plagued with mechanical problems on the current leg, was involved in an accident on Interstate 80 in the vicinity of Rock Springs, Wyoming. According the state trooper who went to the scene, David ran into the rear end of a slow moving vehicle. He has several fractures that will need time to mend, but the preliminary information we have is that there was NO head trauma and he will make a full recovery. The trooper on the scene commented, "It's a good thing he had the right gear."

IBA member Frank Taylor, a resident of Salt Lake City, is providing major assistance on the scene. Frank is meeting David's wife at the airport tomorrow and she will be staying with Frank tomorrow night. Frank also offered to make arrangements to deal with what's left of the R1100RT David was riding.

Other News

Nine days on the road is starting to wear on both riders and their machines.

Jim Owen called in from Glacier Point, where he had just taken his picture of Half Dome. He says he isn't running his normal rally pace because he's nursing a rear tire with two punctures. He had to plug the tire a second time when the first set of plugs blew out. He said he wasn't sure whether he was going to Bristlecone and he may have to head for Las Vegas for a new tire. Later in the day, Lisa saw his Star Traxx signal at Bristlecone.

Jim called in later to say that he experienced a third puncture on the way to Bristlecone, but he is still "gingerly" moving along.

Chris Sakala is the THIRD BMW rider to experience a final drive failure on this rally. His R1150GS Adventure is broken down in Leadville, Colorado. Chris is carrying a huge number of bonus points which obviously overloaded the final drive. He is going to do everything possible to get back here by Friday morning because he thinks he has a good chance to place highly even with some down time for repairs.

Mark Collins is back on the road after spending celebrating his 55th birthday in a Harley dealership yesterday waiting for his rear wheel to be repaired. Mark says that he is having to hold his speed down because the base gasket on the rear cylinder is leaking a lot oil.

Paul Allison and Bill Watt had a fairly miserable ride over the Cassiar Highway on their way to Hyder and back. They ran into lots of road construction and had to travel part of the way on dirt. Paul broke the seat on his rental Gold Wing. After a particularly tiring stretch of riding over the rough road, they parked the bikes along the side of the road and just laid down on their backs in the dirt. Paul turned to Bill and said, "I think I may have just violated the terms of my rental agreement."

After one of several close encounters with wildlife, Paul called back later to tell Lisa that "At the border crossings into Canada, there should be a sign that says, 'Welcome to Canada - F'ing Big Animals Are F'ing Everywhere!"

Evidence of the wear on the riders is apparent in some of the phone calls we are receiving. Before his final drive failure, Chris Sakala called in with an interesting scoring question, "If I fill up with Diesel, but then drain the tank, do I still need to turn in the receipt?" Fortunately, it was only the auxiliary cell that Chris filled during a fuel stop in Wendover, Nevada. I think we are probably going to offer extra points if necessary to get that receipt. I desperately want it for my presentation at the IBA National Meet next year.

It wasn't the normal, chipper tone in Chris Cimino's voice when he called in today. Chris said, "I wish I had a funny story to tell you; I really do. I wish I had something to make me laugh."

Bob Collin called from a parking lot in Las Vegas after dropping his bike while sitting at an intersection. He has hit the wall and doesn't think he can continue. He called Rally Central and said he will head straight for a hotel.

Matt Watkins called from Wendover, NV. He has apparently lost track of time. Matt said, "It's day eight. I'm ready to come home. Is it day eight or is it day nine? Day nine; it's day nine." No Matt, it was day nine yesterday.

During Art Garvin's call-in bonus, he expressed his disappointment that Fire Station #6 in Livermore, CA, was unexpectedly closed when he arrived. At that location he was supposed to sign in and take a picture of the Centennial Light Bulb that has been burning since 1901. Usually, when a bonus location is closed, a rider is allowed to document the closure and still get the points. At this particular bonus, you had to wait if the firemen were out on a call. Art couldn't afford the time.

While some riders are heading for the barn, others are working their tails off. Tom Skemp was in 73rd place at the end of Leg 1. Since bagging Lick Observatory yesterday, he also scored the big bonus points available at Mono Hot Springs. This morning, he called from Glacier Point in Yosemite where he was waiting for the sunrise. Then he was headed for Bristlecone pine.

The ideal motorcycle for Bristlecone, assuming the final drive doesn't fail, is a GS Adventure, the one with the extra suspension travel. This morning, Tom and Rosie Sperry were headed for Bristlecone 2-up on a K1200LT. Fortunately, Rosie can take a lot of punishment. I've seen her handle a Smith & Wesson 500 magnum with no problem; I'm sure she can handle the Bristlecone goat trail.

Jim and Donna Phillips are also headed for Bristlecone 2-up on a 900 pound Gold Wing. They should be able to make it too. They didn't finish in 11th place in 2005 by only getting the easy bonuses.

Maura Gatensby also attempted Bristlecone on one of the heaviest sport-touring bikes on the planet, a 700+ pound ST1300. The elation in her voice when she called in after making it was in stark contrast to how she sounded during earlier calls.

At least five separate riders, Karol Patzer, Tony DeLorenzo, Michael Boge, Stephan Bolduc, and Richard Buber, had an interesting encounter with a Nevada state trooper on Interstate 80. They each were sweating bullets as the cruiser pulled up beside them and rolled down the window. The officer then held up a clipboard with a sign on it reading, "Tell Kneebone hi for me." He sometimes held up a second sign saying, "Good Luck!"

Listed below, in order of the time that they called in, is the location and next destination for each rider. All times are Pacific Daylight Savings Time.

12:07 a.m., Brian Roberts was in a place unknown headed for Wendover, NV

2:57 a.m., Terry and Lynda Lahman were in Elko, NV, headed for Wendover.

3:41 a.m., Donald Jones was in Oakdale, CA, headed for Yosemite.

3:45 a.m., Jim Simonet was in Fargo, ND, headed for New Salem, ND.

3:45 a.m., Carl Stark was in Fernley, NV, headed for Gerlach, NV.

4:06 a.m., Rick Miller was in Bakersfield, CA, headed for Baker, CA.

4:07 a.m., Jeff Earls was in Clovis, CA, headed for Mono Hot Springs.

4:18 a.m., Jim Mulcahy was on the Vancouver Island ferry headed for Olympic National Park.

4:38 a.m., Alex Schmitt was in Oakdale, CA, headed for Yosemite.

4:51 a.m., Dick Peek was in Bakersfield, CA, headed for Trona, CA.

4:58 a.m., Chris McGaffin was in Indian Springs, NV headed for Las Vegas.

5:08 a.m., David Bordeaux was in Richfield, UT headed for the Grand Canyon.

5:10 a.m., Chris Cimino was in Indian Springs, NV, headed for Las Vegas

5:12 a.m., Jim Bain was in Tracy, CA, headed for Sacramento.

5:35 a.m., Bill Thweatt was in Winnemucca, NV, headed for Wendover, NV.

6:15 a.m., Tom Skemp was at Glacier Point, headed for the Ahwahnee Hotel.

6:18 a.m., Bob Collin was in Las Vegas where he may be sleeping for about a week.

6:52 a.m., Brett Donahue was in Ballard, UT, on his way to Dinosaur Monument.

6:53 a.m., Tom and Rosie Sperry were in Lee Vining, CA, headed for Bristlecone.

7:01 a.m., Karol Patzer was in Sacramento going for a local area bonus.

7:12 a.m., Jim Owen was at Glacier Point, hopefully headed for Bristlecone.

7:14 a.m., Jim and Donna Phillips were in Livermore, CA, headed for Bristlecone.

7:15 a.m., Steve Branner was in Battle Mountain, NV, headed for Wendover.

7:15 a.m., Kevin Healey was in Bishop, CA, headed for Bristlecone.

7:18 a.m., Paul Allison was at Lake Louise headed for Bena, Minnesota.

7:20 a.m., Stephan Bolduc was in Livermore, CA, headed for Aspen, Colorado.

7:22 a.m., Bill Watt was at Lake Louise headed for Bena, MN.

7:24 a.m., Tony DeLorenzo was in Sacramento headed for a local bonus.

7:41 a.m., Gerhard Memmen-Krueger was in Tonopah, AZ headed for San Antonio, TX.

7:51 a.m., John Tomasovitch was in Hammond, CA, headed for Baker, CA.

7:51 a.m., Marty Leir was at Dinosaur headed for Split Rock Monument.

7:53 a.m., Curt Gran was in Wadsworth, NV, headed for Wendover.

7:54 a.m., Peter Leap was in Three Rivers, CA, headed for Baker, CA.

8:14 a.m., Reiner and Lisa Kappenberger were in Wells, NV, headed for Wendover.

8:25 a.m., Rebecca Vaughn was at Lake Havasu headed for Kingman, AZ.

8:25 a.m., Matt Watkins was in Wendover headed for Salt Lake City, UT.

8:54 a.m., Mark Collins was in Bismark, ND, headed for Bena, MN.

9:19 a.m., Ken Morton was in Fernley, NV, headed for Wendover.

9:26 a.m., Gregg Burger was in Wendover headed for Salt Lake City.

9:26 a.m., Glenn Pancoast was in Lusk, WY, headed for Mount Rushmore.

9:31 a.m., Paul Peloquin was in Medford, OR, headed for Bly, OR.

9:51 a.m., Art Garvin was in Battle Mountain, NV, headed for Laramie, WY.

10:06 a.m., Rick Martin was on his way from Death Valley to Las Vegas.

10:10 a.m., Kendall Anderson was in Jensen, UT, headed for Rocky Mountain Park.

10:43 a.m., Dennis Powell was in Idaho Springs, CO, headed for Rocky Mountain Park.

10:54 a.m., Richard Keegan was in Lovelock, NV, headed for Wendover.

11:15 a.m., Jack Shoalmire was in Elko, NV, headed for Wendover.

11:48 a.m., Don Catterton was in Mono Hot Springs headed for Sequoia National Park.

1:29 p.m., Chris Sakala was in Dinosaur, CO, headed for Independence Pass.

1:31 p.m., Greg Marbach was in Vernal, UT, headed for Split Rock Monument, WY.

2:06 p.m., Michael Boge was near Winnemucca, NV headed for Bayard, NE.

2:13 p.m., Rick Neeley was in Boulder City, NV, headed for Jack Rabbit Trading Post.

2:41 p.m., Jim Frens was in Grande Prairie, AB, headed for Two Harbors, MN.

2:59 p.m., Mike Getzendanner was in Beatty, NV, headed for Las Vegas.

3:04 p.m., Vicki Johnston was in Meeker, CO, headed for Independence Pass.

3:47 p.m., John Langan was in Winnemucca, NV, headed for Wendover.

3:52 p.m., Maura Gatensby was in Big Pine, CA, headed for Las Vegas.

6:04 p.m., Fred Droegemueller was in Edmonton, AB, headed for the barn.

6:07 p.m., Joe DeRyke was riding with Droegemueller.

6:15 p.m., Bob Mueller was in Rock Springs, WY, headed for Split Rock Monument.

6:29 p.m., Dick Fish was at Mount Rushmore headed for Wall Drug

7:02 p.m., Tom Melchild was Crowley, CO, and headed for Idaho Springs, CO.

7:11 p.m., Alan Barbic was riding with Melchild.

7:22 p.m., Mike Senty was in Wendover and headed for Salt Lake City.

7:23 p.m., Jim Winterer was riding with Senty and Buber.

7:23 p.m., Richard Buber was riding with Senty and Winterer.

7:24 p.m., Bob and Silvie Torter were in Billings, MT, headed for Sioux Falls, SD.

7:28 p.m., Eric Jewell was on his way to the Colorado passes from Salt Lake City.

7:37 p.m., Andy Mills was on his way to Tennesse Pass from Utah.

8:20 p.m., Lisa Stevens was in Steamboat Springs, CO, headed for Milner Pass.

8:38 p.m., Tobie Stevens was still keeping up with Lisa.

8:43 p.m., Joel Rappoport was in Scott's Bluff, NE, headed for Alliance, NE.

9:11 p.m., Mike Hutsal was in Casper, WY, headed for Bena, MN.

10:09 p.m., Mike Evans was in Las Vegas headed for a local bonus.

11:49 p.m., Doug Bailey was in Kramer Junction, CA, headed for the barn.

Riders missing the second call-in bonus included George Barnes and Don Kulwicki, who are trying to make it back from Homer, AK, and Rob Nye, who called the Rallymaster to say that he has given up on trying to score enough points to finish and is headed back to Chesterfield. Vance Keeney, Mike Langford, and Peter Murray also missed it.

There will be just a short report tomorrow as we prepare to score the longest leg in the history of the Iron Butt Rally and continue to provide assistance to riders who are stranded on the road. I also hope to post some good news for my fellow BMW riders making plans to ride in 2009.

Tom Austin

August 29, 2007

Copyright (c) 2007 Iron Butt Rally, Inc., Chicago, IL

2007 Iron Butt Rally, Day 11

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The 13th running of the Iron Butt Rally isn't yet complete, but we have already gotten some good ideas for 2009. The call-in bonus is likely to be a permanent feature in future rallies; it was a great source of information. We also have plans for leveling the playing field with respect to routing assistance.

We may try to level the playing field with respect to each rider's choice of motorcycle as well by adding the following bonus:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Any BMW Dealership in North America 1,000 points Available

Up To 3 Times

Pick up a copy of the repair order for the correction of a final drive or transmission failure from any BMW dealership in North America. Your motorcycle's vehicle identification number must appear on the repair order. Have a glass of Kool-Aid while you are waiting. No documentation is required for the Kool-Aid; we already know you drink it.

1st Failure Time: ______ Odometer: _______ Code: BMW1

Approved:____________

2nd Failure Time: ______ Odometer: _______ Code: BMW2

Approved:____________

3rd Failure Time: ______ Odometer: _______ Code: BMW3

Approved:____________

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

There is a button you can pick up at your friendly, local BMW dealer that has printed on it, above a BMW logo, "I'd Rather Be Riding." That phrase has taken on a whole new meaning from the one intended by some marketing genius at BMW. During the last eleven days, there were a number of riders who would rather have been riding than sitting in BMW dealerships waiting for repairs.

My only consolation is that nobody tried to get me to wager on whether any of the all-new, never needs maintenance final drives would have failed during this rally. I would have lost my shirt. As an owner of nothing but BMW motorcycles for 32 years, I really wanted to see all of the current generation models do well. I was hoping that would have ended the BMW reliability jokes I have to listen to from those insufferable FJR and Gold Wing riders. In the last eleven days, my suffering not only continues, it has intensified.

Another One Bites the Dust

Only once before has the Iron Butt Rally had a theme song. In 2001, it was "I Can See Clearly Now." It was played at the pre-rally banquet as a clue about what was to come. This year, the theme song is the 1980 hit by the English rock band Queen: "Another One Bites the Dust"

"Are you ready, are you ready for this

Are you hanging on the edge of your seat

Out of the doorway the bullets rip

To the sound of the beat

Another one bites the dust

Another one bites the dust

And another one gone, and another one gone

Another one bites the dust"

Gerhard Memmen-Krueger has experienced a final drive failure near Oklahoma City, OK. Can you guess what he is riding? Duh! Another of the all-new, never needs maintenance BMW final drives has failed. His bike won't be fixed until after the final checkpoint closes at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.

I finally understand how Robert E. Higdon came to be widely regarded as a sarcastic, bitter old man. Covering this event 24/7, and getting to know so many of the riders personally, you learn how much it means to them to do well in this rally. They spend hundreds and hundreds of hours and thousands and thousands of dollars preparing for these eleven days. It can't help but give you a sour disposition when you watch it all go down the drain for someone like Gerhard. The only error he made was believing that BMW's reputation for building durable machines applies to recent models.

More Late Breaking News

Mike Hutsal, riding my (not so) old K1200GT, had been having a great ride until about 5:00 a.m. this morning. That's when a forest rodent crossed his path. At first it looked like it was K1200GT: 1, Bambi: 0. Mike kept the bike upright and was able to continue on. Unfortunately, there was more damage to the bike than he originally thought. The cooling system was obviously damaged in the collision; the engine overheated and quit.

Mike was intent on a top ten finish this year. With over 100,000 points on Leg 1, he demonstrated that he is a top ten-caliber rider. All that was missing was luck. If there are endurance keyboard riders out there who think a deer strike is avoidable by a prudent and competent rider, they don't have a clue. Try riding a few hundred thousand miles at night and you will learn that Lady Luck is a significant factor. Yes, you can reduce the risk by slowing way down when in deer infested areas, but most of North America is a deer infested area and traveling 10 mph under the speed limit is no guarantee that you won't eventually be run over by one of these incredibly stupid vermin.

As we suspected yesterday, Bob Collin has called it quits. After a long sleep in Las Vegas, he is headed back east, but he is no longer competing.

We got word this morning that Don Kulwicki and George Barnes were both okay and on their way back from Homer, Alaska. But Don has hit the wall and has dropped out. He needs sleep and it was obvious to him that he wasn't going to make it back in time. Homer was the wrong choice for his first rally; dropping out was the right choice at this point. Trying to make the final checkpoint would have violated the last and loudest instruction given at the riders meeting eleven days ago, "Don't do something stupid."

George Barnes was still on the road, but maybe not for long. His K1200LT has developed a vibration at cruising speed. George called his daughter to report the problem at around 4:00 p.m today. He was about 1,200 miles from the finish, something George can handle on a bike that is running properly. As this goes to press, we don't have the final word on what the source of problem is and whether George will be able to continue. It will just be the frosting on a rancid cake if George's vibration problem turns out to be the onset of yet another final drive or transmission failure.

While the Alaskan drama has been interesting, most of the top ten places are going to be determined by how well things went for riders who went to the West Coast. It was clearly possible to score more points out west for strong riders who understood the local conditions and knew how to put a route together (or who had support from someone with knowledge of the West Coast who also knows how to route).

For some of the riders who had little or no previous rally experience, just heading for the bonus-rich West Coast did not guarantee success. There have never been more difficult bonus listings to deal with in an Iron Butt Rally. To score sufficient points to be considered a finisher, you had to demonstrate that you could plan a route that would put you at various locations within a time window. Just riding a lot of miles wasn't enough. With a decent route you could never exceed the speed limit, get eight hours sleep every night, and score enough points to be a finisher.

It will be heart breaking for riders who invested so much time, money, and effort if they fail to score the minimum number of points required to be listed as a finisher. In most cases, riders in that situation will have no one to blame but themselves. All but three of the rookies took a pass on Michael Kneebone's offer to provide some basic advice to new riders at the start of Leg 2. What were the others thinking?

Tom Austin

August 30, 2007

Copyright (c) 2007 Iron Butt Rally, Inc., Chicago, IL

2007 Iron Butt Rally, The Finish

Friday, August 31, 2007

Marty Leir has won the 2007 Iron Butt Rally. He bagged a staggering 45 bonuses on the second leg to pull himself up from 6th place to 1st. Added to the 109,032 points on his first leg, his second leg score of 235,090 points gave him a total of 344,122 points. Marty was lucky enough to be riding one of the BMWs that did not suffer a catastrophic failure, an R1200GS-Adventure.

In 2nd place, 10,651 points behind Leir, was Jim Owen with 333,471 total points. The only significant problem Jim had with his R1200RT was multiple punctures in a rear tire. He had to drop several bonuses on his route plan to get an unscheduled tire change in Las Vegas. Jim estimates that the last minute routing change cost him approximately 20,000 points.

16,764 points behind Owen, was third place finisher Brett Donahue riding a Harley-Davidson Sportster. An amazing second leg ride pulled Brett up from 14th place at the end of Leg 1. His total score for both legs was 316,707 points.

Rounding out the top ten were the following riders:

4th place was Jeff Earls on a BMW K1200GT with 309,681 points.

5th place was Eric Jewell on a BMW R1150RT with 304,597 points.

6th place was Tom Melchild on a Yamaha FJR1300 with 299,729 points.

7th place was Greg Marbach on a Yamaha FJR1300 with 298,492 points.

8th place was Michael Evans on a Yamaha FJR1300 with 298,077 points.

9th place was Alan Barbic on a Yamaha FJR1300 with 294,561 points.

10th place was Peter Leap on a Honda ST1300 with 292,596 points.

The bonus locations visited by winner Marty Leir during his strong Leg 2 performance included Grand Canyon, AZ, Death Valley, CA (three), Gering, NE, Lick Observatory, Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, CA, Mancos, CO, Bena, MN, Glacier Point, CA, Colombia, MO, Mono Hot Springs, CA, Wall, SD, Salt Lake City, UT, Grass Valley, CA (twice), Bayard, NE, Yosemite Village, CA, Olathe, KS, Big Sur, CA, Leadville, CO, Sacramento, CA, Livermore, CA, Santa Cruz, CA, Sequoia National Park, CA, Dinosaur Monument, UT, Two Harbors, MN, Mt. Rushmore, SD, Alliance, NE, Shiprock, NM, Jeffrey City, WY, Idaho Springs, CO, Powder River, WY, Wamego, KS, Paradise, NV, Casper, WY, Wendover, NV, Sioux Falls, SD, and Las Vegas, NV.

Jim Frens, the only rider to make it to Homer, Alaska, and back, finished in 11th place with 288,910 points. Jim had the highest mileage for the rally, logging 12,658 miles on his Honda GL1800. He arrived at the finish line with less than 5 minutes to make his way to the check-in table before the beginning of the penalty point period. After the points for his fuel log, call-in bonuses, rest bonus, and emergency card return, Jim had time for nothing other than the 28,230 point bonus at Watson Lake in the Yukon Territories. His Leg 2 total of 196,531 points was impressive, but exceeded by a number of riders who built their routes around the Lick Observatory near San Jose, California.

I'll post an epilog providing more details later. Listed below are the final results showing, position, rider name, motorcycle model, miles ridden, and total points scored. Gold Medal finishers are those with at least 240,000 points, Silver starts at 225,000 points, Bronze at 210,000, and the "finisher" level starts at 190,000 points. Please note that the 148,232 points shown for Alexander Schmitt reflect a 50% reduction in his score for changing motorcycles 140 miles from the finish. His unadjusted score of 296,464 points determines his medal level, which is solid gold. He would have been in the top ten without the bike change.

1 Martin Leir, BMW R1200GSA, 12,460, 344,122

2 Jim Owen, BMW R1200RT, 11,137, 333,471

3 Brett Donahue, H-D XLH1200R, 11,283, 316,707

4 Jeff Earls, BMW K1200GT, 11,059, 309,681

5 Eric Jewell, BMW R1150RT, 10,873, 304,597

6 Tom Melchild, Yamaha FJR1300, 10,025, 299,729

7 Greg Marbach, Yamaha FJR1300, 10,323, 298,492

8 Michael Evans, Yamaha FJR1300, 10,921, 298,077

9 Alan Barbic, Yamaha FJR1300, 9,832, 294,561

10 Peter Leap, Honda ST1300, 10,910, 292,596

11 Jim Frens, Honda GL1800, 12,658, 288,910

12 John Tomasovitch, BMW K1200RS, 10,874, 285,875

13 Curt Gran, Honda ST1300, 11,090, 285,512

14 Vicki Johnston, BMW F650GS, 9,868, 284,724

15 Andrew Mills, Victory Vision, 10,552, 283,621

16 John Langan, Honda GL1800, 10,096, 279,770

17 Matt Watkins, Yamaha FJR1300, 9,857, 272,054

18 Paul Peloquin, Yamaha FJR1300, 10,001, 270,097

19 Gregg Burger, BMW R1150GSA, 10,626, 261,475

20 Brian Roberts, Suzuki DL1000, 9,758, 253,273

21 Dick Peek, Yamaha FJR1300, 10,531, 251,924

22 Michael Boge, BMW R1200RT, 8,924, 250,985

23 Reiner & Lisa Kappenberger, Honda GL1800, 9,849, 250,236

24 Carl Stark, Honda GL1800, 8,644, 246,335

25 Art Garvin, Honda GL1800, 8,826, 245,768

26 Mike Langford, BMW K1200LT, 9,349, 242,524

27 Rick Miller, Honda GL1800 9,026, 242,060

28 Vance Keeney, BMW K1200GT, 9,392, 239,863

29 Terry & Lynda Lahman, Honda GL1800, 9,397, 235,736

30 Jack B. Shoalmire, BMW R1200RT, 9,306, 235,156

31 Jim and Donna Phillips, Honda GL1800, 10,022, 233,202

32 Richard Buber, BMW R1150RT, 10,180, 228,077

33 Kendall J. Anderson, Suzuki DL1000, 9,522, 227,164

34 Tom Skemp, Honda GL1500, 8,669, 225,515

35 Kevin J. Healey, Triumph Trophy 1200, 9,407, 225,439

36 Jim Bain, BMW K1200LT, 8,899, 223,659

37 Steve Branner, BMW R1200RT, 9,723, 223,595

38 Rebecca Vaughn, BMW R1100RS, 9,998, 222,607

39 Jim Winterer, Suzuki DL650, 10,209, 219,488

40 Mike Senty, BMW BMW R1150RT, 10,121, 218,975

41 Bill Watt, Honda GL1800, 10,603, 217,078

42 Doug Bailey, BMW R1150GS, 10,353, 215,467

43 Paul Allison, Honda GL1800, 10,207, 214,733

44 Dennis Powell, Honda GL1800, 8,624, 213,250

45 Ken Morton, Honda GL1800, 10,271, 213,101

46 Tony DeLorenzo, BMW R1200GS-ADV, 8,521 208,659

47 Tom and Rosie Sperry, BMW K1200LT, 9,603 206,879

48 Charles "Tobie" Stevens, Yamaha FJR1300, 8,711 206,332

49 Lisa Stevens, Yamaha FJR1300, 8,719, 206,332

50 Don Catterton, BMW K1200GT, 10,218, 205,393

51 Bill Thweatt, Honda ST1300, 9,999, 205,319

52 Stephan Bolduc, Yamaha FJR1300, 9,897, 203,572

53 Chris Cimino, Kawasaki Concours 14, 7,915, 203,427

54 Karol Patzer, BMW K75C, 8,386, 201,741,

55 Rick Neeley, BMW R1200GSA, 9,354, 200,120

56 Peter Murray, BMW K1200LT, 10,255, 199,693

57 Bob Mueller, Suzuki DL1000, 10,272, 199,263

58 Richard Keegan, Honda GL1800, 8,906, 194,071

59 Fred Droegemueller, Honda GL1800, 10,124, 193,096

60 Dick Fish, Buell Ulysses, 9,900, 191,546

61 Joe DeRyke, Suzuki DL650, 10,095, 191,346

62 Rick Martin, Yamaha FJR1300, 9,595, 191,040

63 Robert & Sylvie Torter, BMW K1200GT, 9,318, 190,964

64 David Bourdeaux, Honda GL1800, 8,570, 187,222

65 Jim Simonet, BMW K1200LT, 10,987, 187,035

66 Chris McGaffin, Kawasaki Concours, 8,690, 176,784

67 Joel Rappoport, BMW R60/6, 8,885, 175,945

68 Bob Collin, BMW R1200RT, 9,050, 157,920

69 Jim Mulcahy, BMW K1200RS, 8,833, 150,023

70 Alexander Schmitt, Honda ST1100, 10,584, 148,232

71 Mark W. Collins, H-D Electra Glide, 7,869, 147,905

72 Maura Gatensby, Honda ST1300, 9,117, 147,868

DNF Glenn K. Pancoast, BMW R1200GSA, 8,981 173,779

DNF David Derrick, BMW R1100RT, 5,399, 112,249

DNF Chris Sakala, BMW R1150GS-ADV, 4,874, 108,861

DNF Mike Hutsal, BMW K1200GT, 4,501, 100,160

DNF Rob Nye, BMW R1200RTP, 4,492, 100,100

DNF Homer L. Krout, BMW R1200GS, 4,278, 83,758

DNF George Barnes, BMW K1200LT, 5,198, 79,131

DNF Gerhard Memmen-Krueger, BMW R1200GSA, 3,995, 77,872

DNF Doug Chapman, Yamaha FJR1300, 4,007, 76,026

DNF Norm Grills, BMW K1100LT, 3,852, 75,998

DNF Donald A. Jones, Honda GL1000, 3,475, 75,782

DNF Robert Joers, Honda GL1800, 3,758, 63,261

DNF Mike Getzendanner, Honda GL1500, 3,884, 60,489

DNF Steve Broadhead, Honda ST1300, 3,337, 60,123

DNF Alan Bennett, Kawasaki Ninja 250, 2,919, 53,225

DNF Arlen Brunsvold, Jr., H-D Road Glide, 4,202, 52,669

DNF Arlen Brunsvold, Sr., BMW R1200RT, 3,849, 51,155

DNF Don Kulwicki, Honda GL1800, 3,462, 50,691

DNF David Hinks, Yamaha FJR1300, 3,594, 45,903

DNF Hans Karlsson, Honda GL1800, 0, 0

DNF Don Wescott, BMW K1200GT, 0, 0

DNF Robert St.George, Yamaha FJR1300, 0, 0

DNF Charles "Chip" Hyde, Honda GL1800, 0, 0

DNF Bill Wade, BMW R1200RT, 0, 0

DNF Tom Loftus, Honda ST1300, 0, 0

Tom Austin

August 31, 2007, Copyright (c) 2007 Iron Butt Rally, Inc., Chicago, IL

2007 Iron Butt Rally, Epilog

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Council of God meets once every two years on the Friday afternoon of the last day of the Iron Butt Rally. Most of the members are rally veterans; all have worked their butts off for the Association and the Rally. They have been hand-picked by Michael Kneebone to assist in performing one very important function: protecting top finishers from the embarrassment associated with a post-rally determination that they didn't earn their finishing position.

This year, the Council was in a bad mood after reading the disclosure forms that each rider was required to fill out before being scored for the final leg. The form required the name of each person who had provided the rider material assistance during the course of the rally and an indication of the type of assistance received. One of the categories was "routing."

With the sole exception of Bob Higdon, the Council members were all surprised and disappointed at the level of outside assistance that many riders had received. Higdon didn't like it either but he fully expected it. The rest of the members were naïve enough to think that the comments from on high made at the 2006 National Meet would have been sufficient. But many riders didn't get the message that the level of outside assistance during the 2005 rally was considered excessive.

Instead of a return to greater focus on individual achievement, the level of outside assistance that occurred in this year's rally escalated. The number of complaints received from both riders and veterans who weren't riding was overwhelming. However, serving as defense counsel for all of the riders that used significant outside routing assistance, Higdon pointed out that the rules don't clearly prohibit such assistance. In fact, the following language in the rules suggesting outside routing assistance is acceptable:

"If you feel as though you need a computer but cannot afford a laptop or do not want the hassles of carrying one, we recommend that you have telephone access to a trusted friend with a computer and mapping software. You can call that person after you receive your bonus listing and have mileage tables produced for you."

During this year's rally, "a trusted friend with a computer" was the loophole through which teams of veteran riders providing assistance squeezed through. "You can call that person" was the language cited to cover certain riders receiving information by telephone more than a hundred times during the course of the rally.

But some of the outside assistance received this year was even too much for Bob Higdon. The straw that broke the camel's back was the revelation that some riders had been led to several bonus locations in a congested metropolitan area by a local resident that one of the riders had arranged to meet.

Riders who had stretched the definition of "undue assistance" to the breaking point were asked to contemplate the possibility of trying to rationalize their actions in front of everyone attending the banquet. This will be the last year that riders are given the opportunity to withdraw their request for bonus points associated with assistance they were too embarrassed to talk about.

Although most of the assistance riders received was determined to have been acceptable under the rules, much of it went beyond what any of the Council members or, more importantly, Michael Kneebone want to see. A number of riders have already gotten the word. Others will soon.

Let the Word Go Forth

The changes being implemented to bring the Iron Butt Rally back to an event more focused on individual achievement are still under development. In fact, all of the changes may not become apparent until the 2009 Rally is underway. But the concept can be communicated now: If you use outside assistance to plan your route, you will be at a severe disadvantage, if not disqualified. If you plan to route and ride with one or more other riders, you may not have the same advantage as in previous years.

One indication of the changes that are afoot should have been apparent to those who attended the post-rally banquet. Before the final standings were announced, Michael Kneebone asked everyone to stand who had just ridden the rally. He congratulated them all for the effort they had made and they received applause from the audience.

Next, Kneebone asked everyone to stand who had planned their own route. The applause was louder. Finally, he asked four individuals to stand who had planned their own routes and finished near the top of the pack: Jim Owen, Jeff Earls, Eric Jewell, and Mike Evans. They received still louder applause.

Riding Smarter, Not Harder Was the Key

As Rallymaster Lisa Landry and IBA President Michael Kneebone read off the names of the finishers, it became clear that the "ride harder, not smarter" strategy didn't work this year.

The biggest bonuses on the 2007 Rally were in Goose Bay, Prudhoe Bay, and Homer, Alaska. On Leg 1, a successful ride to Goose Bay and back would have been enough to put a rider in first place with just a few other bonuses that were almost right on the route to Goose Bay. But, as Chip Hyde found out, the road to Goose Bay is a nightmare. It was not the smartest choice. Almost as many points were available for a much less risky route built around either Perce Rock on the Gaspe Peninsula or Key West, Florida.

On Leg 2, Prudhoe Bay in combination with Watson Lake might have been enough to win, assuming anyone was actually capable of averaging 1,350 miles per day over a route that included 800 miles of the Haul Road. The 161,014 points for Prudhoe Bay and the 28,230 points for Watson Lake, along with the fuel log, the call-in bonuses, the rest bonus, and the return of the ID card, was good for 215,044 points on Leg 2. As it turns out, even that wasn't enough to have the top score on Leg 2. Top three finishers Marty Leir, Jim Owen, and Brett Donahue scored more points by heading to the West Coast.

Jim Frens put in a very impressive ride to Homer, Alaska and back, averaging 1,300 miles per day. But, since Homer was worth 18,513 points less than Prudhoe Bay, several other riders were able to do better than Jim with a West Coast route. The three other riders that set their sights on Homer - George Barnes, Don Kulwicki, and Rob Nye - were DNFs.

Not surprisingly, both first place finisher Marty Leir and second place finisher Jim Owen scored the 54,739 points available from the five bonuses available in the Sierra Nevada Mountains: Sequoia National Park (8,704), Mono Hot Springs (12,667), Glacier Point in Yosemite (10,234), the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Village (4,567), and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest (18,567). The key to the success of the top riders was having the ability to include other big point bonuses along with those for Lick Observatory and the Sierra Nevadas.

Besides the 24,057 points for Lick Observatory and the high value bonuses in the Sierras, the 5-figure bonuses outside of Alaska were Two Harbors, MN (18,674), Cape Royal, AZ (on the rim of the Grand Canyon) (12,978), Vancouver Island, BC (12,234), and Mt. St. Helens National Monument, WA (10,878). Leir got both the Grand Canyon and Two Harbors, MN. Owen got Mt. St. Helens but had to bail out on the Grand Canyon because of the need for an unscheduled tire replacement.

One indication of the number and complexity of the bonus locations this year was the average mileage. Only six riders logged 11,000 or more miles: Marty Leir, Jim Owen, Brett Donahue, Jeff Earls, Jim Frens, and Curt Gran. Not surprisingly, Jim Frens had the highest accumulated mileage (12,658) as a result of his Leg 2 ride to Homer and back.

The most amazing mileage total is that recorded by Marty Leir. Marty rode 12,460 miles over a much more complicated route than Frens ran. In contrast, Jim Owen ran 1,323 fewer miles while scoring just 10,651 fewer points. Owen's efficiency was approximately 30 points per mile, the same as 6th and 9th place finishers Tom Melchild and Alan Barbic. Owen, Melchild, and Barbic scored more points per mile than any other riders, but all of the top ten riders were above average in points per mile.

It was the second top ten finish for 4th place finisher Jeff Earls and it was the fourth top ten finish for 5th place finisher Eric Jewell. The other veteran rider in the top ten was 10th place finisher Peter Leap. Peter finished 12th in 2005.

There were 38 "rookies" who became first time finishers of the Iron Butt Rally. Two of them finished in the top ten: 7th place finisher Greg Marbach and 8th place finisher Michael Evans. Alexander Schmitt would have been the third rookie in the top ten were it not for breaking a wheel 140 miles from the finish line. Alex borrowed a motorcycle from a total stranger to make it to the finish line in time.

Rookies finishing in the top twenty included John Tomasovitch in 12th place, Curt Gran in 13th place, Andy Mills in 15th place, Matt Watkins in 17th place, Paul Peloquin in 18th place, Gregg Burger in 19th place, and Brian Roberts in 20th place.

Besides Jim Frens in 11th place, other veterans in the top 20 were Vicki Johnston in 14th place and John Langan in 16th place.

At the back of the pack, a record breaking 33 riders were in the "Did Not Finish" (DNF) category this year. Some dropped out when it became obvious that they were too far behind the pace required to be listed as a "finisher." Nine made it back to the finish line, but with insufficient points. Others didn't make it back to the finish line because of mechanical failures. One rider, Leg 1 leader David Derrick, was still hospitalized from his accident on Interstate 80. We are all hoping for David's speedy and complete recovery.

The Tarnished Blue and White Roundel

A disproportionate number of the DNFs fall on the shoulders of BMW. BMW failed several riders, demonstrating that they are no longer capable of building motorcycles that can run 11,000 miles in 11 days without a significant fraction experiencing a catastrophic drivetrain failure of some sort. BMW of North America has requested contact information for the riders who experienced failures. The riders BMW should be more concerned about are the thousands of unsuspecting souls who will breakdown in the future because the company has lost its previous ability to either design durable drivetrain components or (more likely) adequately monitor production and assembly quality. It's way, way past time for BMW to fix its drivetrain reliability problems. A good start might be to acknowledge that there is a problem.

Hopeless is as Hopeless Does

All four of the Hopeless Class entries were DNFs. However, they outperformed the late model BMWs as far as mechanical reliability is concerned.

Mark Collins' 1972 Harley-Davidson was sidelined for a day with a broken rim. The failure was the result of a nasty pothole, not a design or quality problem with the bike itself. The time spent waiting for repairs cost Mark finisher status. Mark limped back to the finish nursing a leaking cylinder base gasket and a blown head gasket. On Saturday morning, after the finish, he was doing the repairs himself in the middle of the Doubletree Hotel parking lot. This guy deserves another shot in 2009 if he hasn't had his fill of the Iron Butt Rally.

The 1978 Honda GL1000 ridden by Donald Jones suffered a broken side stand, but it was still rideable until Don called it quits. The 1976 BMW R60/6 ridden by Joel Rappoport also performed well; it was Joel that sputtered a bit and didn't quite bag enough points for finisher status. Rider performance also sidelined the 250cc Kawasaki ridden by Alan Bennett.

The "Finisher" Benchmark

It was a bitter disappointment for nine riders that made it back to the finish with insufficient points to be finishers. In some cases the problem was mechanical failure, in other cases it was poor routing.

In past years, when checkpoints were located near each of the country's four corners, riders had to make it to each checkpoint to be listed as a finisher. The number of bonus points scored was not a factor. But when the rally format involves having riders return to the same location from which they started, just making it to each checkpoint on time is meaningless. It takes a minimum number of bonus points to be considered a finisher.

For this rally, 190,000 points were required to be considered a "finisher." The target levels were 70,000 points for Leg 1 and 120,000 points for Leg 2. Using the Leg 2 target as an example, it could be achieved by a rider who planned a route based around Lick Observatory near San Jose, kept an accurate gas log, did the call-in bonuses properly, did not lose their ID card, rode at the speed limit, and stopped for 8 hours of sleep every night. In addition to making Lick Observatory during the time window, it was necessary for a finisher to get to a number of additional bonuses along the route, but it was not necessary to score difficult bonuses like the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. One of many options to achieve finisher status would have included the following:

Milner Pass, in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 6,320

Dinosaur National Monument, Utah, 9,102

New York, New York Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, 3,112

Scotty's Castle, Death Valley, California, 4,996

Glacier Point in Yosemite Park, California 10,234

Ahwahnee Hotel, Yosemite, California, 4,567

Fire Station #6, Livermore, California, 3,123

Lick Observatory at Mt. Hamilton, California, 24,057

Sutro Baths, San Francisco, California, 3,345

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, 2,453

Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, California, 2,452

Lombard Street, San Francisco, California, 4,109

Christopher Columbus Statue, San Francisco, California, 2,567

Cupid's Arrow Sculpture, San Francisco, California, 1,415

Kneebone Cemetery, Grass Valley, California, 2,786

Bridgeport Covered Bridge, Grass Valley, California, 3,314

Doobie Lane, Gerlach, NV, 6,321 points

Garmin International, Olathe, Kansas, 3,189

Turn In Emergency Contact Information Card, 4,000

All of the time windows could have been met and 101,462 points could have been scored. Adding the gas log, call-in bonuses, and rest bonus, brings the total points to 123,262, which leaves some margin for mistakes on the gas log. It's a 4,750 mile ride; an average of about 770 miles per day. Based on a popular mapping program, it requires about 94 hours of riding time at an average speed of 51 mph, leaving over 8 hours per day off of the bike. That's based on "default" speed values which account for typical levels of traffic congestion and strict adherence to the speed limits.

A Leg 1 total of 70,000 was needed for finisher status if a rider scored exactly 120,000 points on Leg 2. That was available with a loop based around either Perce Rock on the Gaspe Peninsula or Key West, Florida. For riders concerned about traveling in Canada and hitting the window for low tide, a 70,000 point route based around Key West was not that difficult.

It took an additional 20,000 points for a Bronze Medal. That required adding one big bonus (like Bristlecone Pine) and one medium size bonus to the route. Alternatively, a rider could add several medium size bonuses or a larger number of smaller bonuses.

The Gold Medal level required 50,000 points more than the "finisher" level. That could have been accomplished by adding about four high point bonuses to a route based around Lick Observatory. For example, adding Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest (18,567), Cape Royal, AZ (on the rim of the Grand Canyon) (12,978), and Mono Hot Springs, CA (12,667), would get you most of the way there. The Silver Medal was set in between Bronze and Gold at 225,000 total points for both legs.

Listed below are the final results showing, position, rider name, motorcycle model, miles ridden, and total points scored. Please note that the 148,232 points shown for last place finisher Alexander Schmitt reflect a 50% reduction in his score for changing motorcycles 140 miles from the finish. His unadjusted score of 296,464 points determines his medal level.

1 Martin Leir, BMW R1200GSA, 12,460, 344,122

2 Jim Owen, BMW R1200RT, 11,137, 333,471

3 Brett Donahue, H-D XLH1200R, 11,283, 316,707

4 Jeff Earls, BMW K1200GT, 11,059, 309,681

5 Eric Jewell, BMW R1150RT, 10,873, 304,597

6 Tom Melchild, Yamaha FJR1300, 10,025, 299,729

7 Greg Marbach, Yamaha FJR1300, 10,323, 298,492

8 Michael Evans, Yamaha FJR1300, 10,921, 298,077

9 Alan Barbic, Yamaha FJR1300, 9,832, 294,561

10 Peter Leap, Honda ST1300, 10,910, 292,596

11 Jim Frens, Honda GL1800, 12,658, 288,910

12 John Tomasovitch, BMW K1200RS, 10,874, 285,875

13 Curt Gran, Honda ST1300, 11,090, 285,512

14 Vicki Johnston, BMW F650GS, 9,868, 284,724

15 Andrew Mills, Victory Vision, 10,552, 283,621

16 John Langan, Honda GL1800, 10,096, 279,770

17 Matt Watkins, Yamaha FJR1300, 9,857, 272,054

18 Paul Peloquin, Yamaha FJR1300, 10,001, 270,097

19 Gregg Burger, BMW R1150GSA, 10,626, 261,475

20 Brian Roberts, Suzuki DL1000, 9,758, 253,273

21 Dick Peek, Yamaha FJR1300, 10,531, 251,924

22 Michael Boge, BMW R1200RT, 8,924, 250,985

23 Reiner & Lisa Kappenberger, Honda GL1800, 9,849, 250,236

24 Carl Stark, Honda GL1800, 8,644, 246,335

25 Art Garvin, Honda GL1800, 8,826, 245,768

26 Mike Langford, BMW K1200LT, 9,349, 242,524

27 Rick Miller, Honda GL1800 9,026, 242,060

28 Vance Keeney, BMW K1200GT, 9,392, 239,863

29 Terry & Lynda Lahman, Honda GL1800, 9,397, 235,736

30 Jack B. Shoalmire, BMW R1200RT, 9,306, 235,156

31 Jim and Donna Phillips, Honda GL1800, 10,022, 233,202

32 Richard Buber, BMW R1150RT, 10,180, 228,077

33 Kendall J. Anderson, Suzuki DL1000, 9,522, 227,164

34 Tom Skemp, Honda GL1500, 8,669, 225,515

35 Kevin J. Healey, Triumph Trophy 1200, 9,407, 225,439

36 Jim Bain, BMW K1200LT, 8,899, 223,659

37 Steve Branner, BMW R1200RT, 9,723, 223,595

38 Rebecca Vaughn, BMW R1100RS, 9,998, 222,607

39 Jim Winterer, Suzuki DL650, 10,209, 219,488

40 Mike Senty, BMW R1150RT, 10,121, 218,975

41 Bill Watt, Honda GL1800, 10,603, 217,078

42 Doug Bailey, BMW R1150GS, 10,353, 215,467

43 Paul Allison, Honda GL1800, 10,207, 214,733

44 Dennis Powell, Honda GL1800, 8,624, 213,250

45 Ken Morton, Honda GL1800, 10,271, 213,101

46 Tony DeLorenzo, BMW R1200GS-ADV, 8,521 208,659

47 Tom and Rosie Sperry, BMW K1200LT, 9,603 206,879

48 Charles "Tobie" Stevens, Yamaha FJR1300, 8,711 206,332

49 Lisa Stevens, Yamaha FJR1300, 8,719, 206,332

50 Don Catterton, BMW K1200GT, 10,218, 205,393

51 Bill Thweatt, Honda ST1300, 9,999, 205,319

52 Stephan Bolduc, Yamaha FJR1300, 9,897, 203,572

53 Chris Cimino, Kawasaki Concours 14, 7,915, 203,427

54 Karol Patzer, BMW K75C, 8,386, 201,741,

55 Rick Neeley, BMW R1200GSA, 9,354, 200,120

56 Peter Murray, BMW K1200LT, 10,255, 199,693

57 Bob Mueller, Suzuki DL1000, 10,272, 199,263

58 Richard Keegan, Honda GL1800, 8,906, 194,071

59 Fred Droegemueller, Honda GL1800, 10,124, 193,096

60 Dick Fish, Buell Ulysses, 9,900, 191,546

61 Joe DeRyke, Suzuki DL650, 10,095, 191,346

62 Rick Martin, Yamaha FJR1300, 9,595, 191,040

63 Robert & Sylvie Torter, BMW K1200GT, 9,318, 190,964

64 Alexander Schmitt, Honda ST1100, 10,584, 148,232

DNF David Bourdeaux, Honda GL1800, 8,570, 187,222

DNF Jim Simonet, BMW K1200LT, 10,987, 187,035

DNF Chris McGaffin, Kawasaki Concours, 8,690, 176,784

DNF Joel Rappoport, BMW R60/6, 8,885, 175,945

DNF Glenn K. Pancoast, BMW R1200GSA, 8,981 173,779

DNF Bob Collin, BMW R1200RT, 9,050, 157,920

DNF Jim Mulcahy, BMW K1200RS, 8,833, 150,023

DNF Mark W. Collins, H-D Electra Glide, 7,869, 147,905

DNF Maura Gatensby, Honda ST1300, 9,117, 147,868

DNF David Derrick, BMW R1100RT, 5,399, 112,249

DNF Chris Sakala, BMW R1150GS-ADV, 4,874, 108,861

DNF Mike Hutsal, BMW K1200GT, 4,501, 100,160

DNF Rob Nye, BMW R1200RTP, 4,492, 100,100

DNF Homer L. Krout, BMW R1200GS, 4,278, 83,758

DNF George Barnes, BMW K1200LT, 5,198, 79,131

DNF Gerhard Memmen-Krueger, BMW R1200GSA, 3,995, 77,872

DNF Doug Chapman, Yamaha FJR1300, 4,007, 76,026

DNF Norm Grills, BMW K1100LT, 3,852, 75,998

DNF Donald A. Jones, Honda GL1000, 3,475, 75,782

DNF Robert Joers, Honda GL1800, 3,758, 63,261

DNF Mike Getzendanner, Honda GL1500, 3,884, 60,489

DNF Steve Broadhead, Honda ST1300, 3,337, 60,123

DNF Alan Bennett, Kawasaki Ninja 250, 2,919, 53,225

DNF Arlen Brunsvold, Jr., H-D Road Glide, 4,202, 52,669

DNF Arlen Brunsvold, Sr., BMW R1200RT, 3,849, 51,155

DNF Don Kulwicki, Honda GL1800, 3,462, 50,691

DNF David Hinks, Yamaha FJR1300, 3,594, 45,903

DNF Hans Karlsson, Honda GL1800, 0, 0

DNF Don Wescott, BMW K1200GT, 0, 0

DNF Robert St.George, Yamaha FJR1300, 0, 0

DNF Charles "Chip" Hyde, Honda GL1800, 0, 0

DNF Bill Wade, BMW R1200RT, 0, 0

DNF Tom Loftus, Honda ST1300, 0, 0

Many Stories are Yet to Be Told

There are 97 stories from the 2007 Iron Butt Rally that only the individual riders know enough about to write. The snippets of information available to me can't possibly do justice to the experiences the riders have had. Hopefully, many of them will take the time to memorialize their ride in a trip report. Riders can send reports to [email protected] I will get them posted on the IBA website after they are reviewed and edited as necessary to remove objectionable references to things that shouldn't be in print, like disparaging comments about my daily reports.

Tom Austin

September 3, 2007

Copyright © 2007 Iron Butt Rally, Inc., Chicago, IL

_____________________

Please respect our intellectual property rights.

Do not distribute this document, or portions therein,

without the written permission of the Iron Butt

Association.