Iron Butt Rally 2017 – the results


The ceremony is over…as predicted, it was a very special event with many stories and stunning performances at the bottom, middle and top of the standings.

As already mentioned, I had a lot of issues and did not ride the rally in a competitive, but rather in a „holiday“ mood. I had tons of long rest breaks in nice hotels. I finished one day early and had too chose my route based on the temperature forecast. Considering all this, the 32nd place out of 87 finishers and 106 starters is a very good result. Had I not have to stop rallying so early, a finish around place 20 would have been possible. And this without pushing anything. I can be very happy about this result, it even gives me an unexpected, official „silver medal finish“.

The finisher plaque – I will get the name tag later 🙂

The link to the standings is here: http://ibr.wvi.com/ibr/_2017/finalstandings.pdf

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I’m back!


Hi everybody, I’m back at the „barn“, i.e. the rally finish. I was there 20 hours too early as the bike gave me some additional problems. I arrived basically with a dying Honda; I had to coast the last 30 miles on three cylinders and had almost no power left when I entered the parking of the hotel. After a rather „short“ route of only 9000 miles in about 10 days.

As I was still technically in the rally, the social media curfew still applied to me so I still had to remain quiet. This morning, I went to the scoring and got all my points except some 500 penalty points for a lost emergency contact tag that came off the latch of the hanger I was wearing for 11 days.

I got more that 55000 points for Leg 3 – this was the minimum points value to be a finisher of the WHOLE rally. Adding my points from Leg 1 and 2, I have about 85000 points. Considering the fact that I had a very relaxed rally in a non-competitive mood with lots of long rest breaks, a bike I had to nurse, numerous petrol stops, technical problems and a very close shave to get to the finish – this is a very good result, it should give me a mid-field result and finally the desired three-digit membership number that only IBR finishers can obtain. In about one hour from now, the banquet will start, followed by the ceremony.

Thanks for your support and your comments – I was reading them daily and they were a good read. Yesterday, I added quite some drama to the game…I left at 2 a.m. for the last 1100 km….I filled up every 90 – 100 km, but soon I realised that the stuttering was not due to the fuel pump. As it got worse and worse, it became more clear that the bike was losing one carburetor ( at least that’s how it felt). It got worse and worse and I went the last 30 miles on three cylinders only. The bike was slowly dying and had no power left. Finally, with the last power the bike had, I entered the parking of the finish and had done it! I couldn’t have done another 10 miles….this was a close shave! Maybe the E10 petrol (10% Ethanol) was killing my old carburetors? It’s a possibility…The bike was picked up already and is on the way back to Europe.

Apart from the scoring today, I basically was chatting with other riders, veterans, staff etc…there are so many stories and dramas to exchange…you’ll hear about some in the following official bulletins.

I also want to say a big THANK YOU to (quote) „this fat, balding, middle-aged, accountant from the UK“ that did a great job in entertaining you during the last days: John Young. He also helped me to stay focused on the main objective of this rally: to become a finisher. This worked almost all the time except on Wednesday when I nearly ruined the project by changing the plan and turning north into Michigan.

THANKS FOR ALL, MATE!!!

And now off to the banquet where new tales of heroism, boldness, despair and drama will be told….

So, this is me signing off ……


…… as once he’s scored Robert will be able to post on here again.

Thank you all for reading all of my „stuff“ over the past 11 days.

Thank you all of your comments and I hope you have enjoyed my (admittedly) light hearted approach to IBR reporting.

But most of all, thank you to Robert, for asking me (and giving me the privilege of ) keeping his IBR blog for him again.

Thank you my Bavarian friend …….

Day 10 – Oh no ………..


Stupid, stupid Robert ……

After all of the talking that we did yesterday, he went and ignored it all ……

In his words :

OK, here it comes:

I WAS WRONG! MEA CULPA! MEA CULPA! MEA MAXIMA CULPA!!!

You told me not to be cocky!

You told me not to do anything stupid!

And you were right!

And was does stupid Robert do?

I thought the Honda overheard our conversation, because „she“ ran very nicely afterwards. Really nice. So nice, that I started to make plans….

I could do the detour and go up to Michigan and bag a big bonus at the Lake Superior. Why being 24 h too early at the finish? The Pan was running so fine and I had so much time left …“

And guess what happened ?

He decided to try it, if the bike did not give any problems until the where he needed to turn north at about 3:30 p.m.  As he problems occurred daily always between 2 and 3 p.m. he felt that this was a good decision.

The thing is see, that after 10 days on the road, it’s very difficult to make „good decisions“.  That’s why it’s quite useful to speak frequently with people who HAVEN’T been on the road 10 days, who ARE getting plenty of rest, who ARE getting plenty of sleep and who ARE therefore capable of offering GOOD & RATIONAL advice.  Now if that person has actually ridden the IBR themselves,  then they are definitely capable of giving GOOD, RATIONAL & RELEVANT advice ……

So, everything was apparently going well and at 3.30pm he turned north.

Two hours later, the bike started to misfire badly.

This time filling up didn’t help …..  This time a damp shirt over the tank didn’t help ….. This time even a bag of ice on the tank didn’t help ……

He gave up on the idea of „one last big bonus“ and headed west – at 55mph flat out with a badly misfiring bike

He reached the town of  Durand and luckily, Quality Inn had a room. The idea was to continue after 3 a.m. after the rest break.

As it was still early,  he wanted to check plan B – connecting the aux tank directly and let it feed by gravity.  He finally did manage to connect it (leaving a big petrol mess on the car park), but a test ride revealed that the height difference is too small so there is too little pressure. This won’t work …….

He connected the tank and the fuel pump again, rode a short distance and it seemed back to normal simply because it had cooled down for about an hour.

Roberts words again ……

„When you’re riding, you think it’s warm, but not THAT hot. But it is still over 30C. When I touch the motor, you feel how many energy is stored in there. It seems that it’s not the daytime, but the operation hours (8 to 9 hours) that triggers the problems. After that time, the tank (where the pump is located, that’s the problem) is heated up so much that the fuel pressure falls below a critical point.“

So, because of his stupidity, he lost 200kms today and whilst the problem would have still occurred, he would have been 2 hours and 200kms closer to the finish.

He has to be back at 8 a.m. at the finish on Friday. Considering the time difference, he still has more than 29 hours to do the 1100 km, and taking the two penalty hours into accounts, he has actually 31 hours before DNF „ing“.

However, he has wasted the last 17 hours to effectively cover 400kms …….

Oh and he left his „toilet bag“ at the last hotel – no great drama, but this just goes to demonstrate how muddled your mind gets after 10 hard riding days

Right, for 10 days I have been nice.  For 10 days, I have been supportive.  For 10 days, I have said nothing offensive towards (or about) Robert – other than in jest.

That now changes …..

Being „Mr Nice Guy“ hasn’t worked.  It’s time for some hard cold truths …….

Robert, you spent a lot of money in 2013 for nothing more than a failure.  Glorious as it may have been and „dress“ it up however you want, you still failed ……

You have spent another huge amount of money in 2017 to enter the rally again and at the moment, there are lots and lots of people willing you to succeed.  You appear to be doing your very f*cking best to disappoint them !!!!!

GET TO THE FINISH.  IF THE BIKE STARTS TO PLAY UP AFTER 6 HOURS, THEN ONLY RIDE FOR 5 HOURS BEFORE LETTING THE BIKE COOL DOWN.

DO NOTHING THAT PUTS THE BIKE UNDER ANY MORE STRESS THAN IT NEEDS TO BE.

YOU HAVE 29 HOURS TO COVER 1100 KMS.  THAT IS AN AVERAGE OF LESS THAN 40KPH.  IF YOU GET TO THE FINAL CONTROL WITH 1 MINUTE TO SPARE, IT DOES NOT MATTER.  JUST GET THERE ……

 

Okay, one very last piece of „encouragement“.

You see, at the moment, there’s this fat, balding, middle-aged, accountant from the UK who’s typing these reports.  He’s already ridden the rally and he’s already got his 3-digit number and at the moment he’s laughing at the stupidity of this German guy he knows.

He’s laughing not because he wants this German guy to fail but because this German guy is riding a Honda and this German guy rode a Honda last time too – and he failed then as well ……

This accountant fella, thinks that Hondas are shite and to prove it, when he rode the rally in 2011 he rode his 50 year old Triumph to a finish ……

Robert – please, please, please, wipe the grin of this guys face and get to the finish ……..

Start of Day 10 Update …..


I spoke to Robert at 10.00am (his time) on Day 10.

He has exactly 48 hours to get to the finish control before he is classed as DNF.  His Garmin is showing that 1500kms (950 miles) stand between him and his 3-digit IBA membership number.

He tells me that my advice „DO NOT FUCK THIS UP“, is the only thing in his mind.

There will be no more bonus collecting (other than the sleep bonus this evening), there will be no more detours, there will be no more chances taken.

A nice straight forward 1500kms ride over 2 days to glory …….

He is nearly there …..

BUT – he has been on the road for 9 days and he has had constant issues.  950 miles over 48 hours is normally „a walk in the park“ for IBA riders and for Robert in particular.  This will be the most difficult and fraught 1500kms he has ever ridden.

In 2011, I was 600 miles from the finish.  I had 30 hours to do it.  I could already „see“ the „ticker-tape“ parade awaiting me ……

Then I ran into the worst sand storms Arizona had witnessed for 50 years and my world collapsed around me.  Fortunately, I managed to get my bike going and limped over the finishing line with around 4 hours to spare ….

And that is what the IBR does to you.  Like some beautiful siren, it suckers you in.  It lets you believe that you have the measure of it …….

THEN IT KICKS YOU FAIRLY AND SQUARELY IN THE BALLS !!!!!!!!!

So, wish him luck and keep posting those comments (he reads them all)