The Iron Butt Rally is held in the United States every two years. Although we have looked into moving the rally to other countries, only Australia offers the wide-open spaces without international borders for the running of this 11 day, 11,000 mile plus marathon.
To completely describe the Iron Butt Rally would take an entire book. In fact, one of the best sources for information is Iron Butt competitor Ron Ayres's book, "Against the Wind" available from the Iron Butt Association. For a more interactive experience with a wide range of comptetitors, there are two full length DVD's about the rally Hard Miles and Hard Miles 2 that tell the IBR story from many different riders prespectives.
Many other unique stories have been written about the rally and some of the best ones are available right here on our web site and can be viewed by scrolling through the Iron Butt Stories sub-menu above.
The Iron Butt first ran in 1984. In 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987 the rally started from Montgomeryville Cycle Center near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States. The Iron Butt was not held again until 1991 when it came under the management of the Iron Butt Association. While the basic format of the original rally remained, two important things have changed; to insure the quality of the event, the rally is run every other year and the starting and ending points are rotated to different sections of the United States.
The Iron Butt Rally Concept
The Iron Butt is a fairly simple concept. The rally consists of checkpoints located around the United States. In order to be considered a finisher of the event, riders must be present at each of these checkpoints within a two hour window.
No consideration is given for bad weather (during the running of the Iron Butt, riders can expect to ride through rain, sleet, snow, severe thunderstorms, hurricanes and the occasional tornado). Temperature extremes routinely run 125 degrees or more in the desert Southwest in fact, in living up to the name, "World's Toughest Motorcycle Competition", event organizers intentionally route the rally through such places as Death Valley or the Mojave Desert during the hottest part of the day, to extreme cold at the top of mountains like Pike's Peak in Colorado where competitors may have to struggle up a muddy road to reach the peak's 14,110 foot summit.
Riders have the option of boosting their standings in an attempt to win a Gold, Silver or Bronze Medal by visiting optional bonus destinations located around the United States and Canada. "Bonus Hunting" as it is called, can be both fun and mentally devastating. Where else in the world do riders have to ride 11,000 miles in 11 days, while trying to find odd places like the remains of the Branch Dividian Compound, or stop by the Los Angeles County morgue to purchase a toe tag or take a hike in Lava Tube or perhaps visit the enchanted Guru Lane in the Black Rock desert in a remote section of Nevada?
Only on the Iron Butt!!
Rally supporters are encouraged to visit checkpoints. The best time to visit a checkpoint is approximately two hours before riders are due until about 45 minutes after riders may leave. If your time is limited, we recommend stopping by twenty minutes before riders leave the checkpoint. At that time, riders are eagerly awaiting the next leg's bonus listing. When it is handed out, watch maps fly open as competitors determine which route and what bonuses to attempt while still praying to make it to the next checkpoint in time.