Update …..

As Robert has got into the cooler air of Colorado, the bike is not misbehaving quite so much.

I’ve spent most of this months profit for my firm in telephone conversations with him today ….. but I am now trying to get him some technical help at the checkpoint.

The plan is, if possible, to rest during the heat of the day and ride through the (relative) cool of the night, get the bike back to the checkpoint and see what can be done …

Bloody Hondas !!!!




Day 4 – quick update ….

Robert is very tired after the first day of leg 2

His ride was good, but the bike continues to give problems.  The engine has now started cutting out in the cold as well as in the heat

At one stage whilst crossing the Texas Panhandle. he had to push the bike 400 metres to the nearest tree – the only shade around.  In the heat that Robert will be riding through, you cannot imagine how energy sapping that can be.

Purging the fuel pump helps in the heat, but not in the cold.

At the start of the day, everything went well but as the bike began to give problems, Robert began to suffer and worse still, he still does not have any idea of what is causing the problem – there’s just no clear picture

He is struggling but somehow he needs to get through this leg, score as well as he can and give himself as much time as possible once back at the checkpoint to try to solve the issue.  Leg 3 will have very big points value and as long as he is still in the rally and assuming he can get his bike running correctly, he WILL be able to score the necessary points to get a finish by the end of the 11 days, of that I am sure.

BUT – he has to get to the end of this leg, score as much as he can and get to the checkpoint so that he can sort this problem

This is a low point for Robert – he’s tired and probably a little bit angry with both himself and with his bike.  If necessary, he can probably sacrifice any great plans for  „leg 2“ and just get to the sanctuary of the checkpoint.  The longer he leaves himself to sort the problem, the better.

He can still get that finish – but, he has to get the bike working properly ……



One last thing ….

I know that Robert reads this blog each night.  (He doesn’t want his mobile filling up with messages – that is for emergencies only)

Give him all the encouragement that you can.

It might not seem like it to you, but when you are on your own, riding in the IBR, supportive messages really do help – even from 7000 miles or so away …..

So any „lurkers“, hit the key board for him ….

Leg 2 – a few thoughts from Robert and a few comments from John …..

So, lets just review where we are …..

Most of you will by now know that Robert is in 11th place after Leg 1

The moment I found this out, I was on the phone to him, stressing that under no circumstances must he try to either hold or better that position.

It is great that he has had such a good first let, but ONLY because it will relieve some of the pressure on legs 2 and 3.  No-one ever asks WHERE you finished in the IBR, they just ask IF you finished the IBR.  Whether Robert finishes 11th or 111th, IT DOES NOT MATTER.

I know that I am beginning to sound like an old woman here, but I suspect, that no-one currently reading this has ever ridden the IBR.  Most of you will never have ridden a multi-day rally.  A few of you may have ridden a 36 hour rally and some of you will have ridden a 24 hour rally ……

Robert is ONLY 3 days into an 11 day rally. He still has one and a half IBA European Tours to do, he still has five Brit Butt Rallies to do or, he still has eight German Butt Rallies to do …….. Think about that …….Then imagine at the start of one and a half  ET’s or five BBR’s or eight GBR’s you are sitting on a bike that is not running 100% ………

That is the position Robert finds himself in ……



Right …… so these are Roberts (very sensible) thoughts ……

He knows that this is a very tricky leg to plan.

Key West is massive in points, but also crazy – it’s 1000 miles down and 1000 miles back ….in heat, in traffic, very few places to overtake, lots of cops …….

So he’s not going there.  Instead he’s heading west to Colorado, again planning to have an easy ride with lots of rest breaks.  (Let the rest of the fools burn themselves out)

He does have to go across the pan handle of Texas where he will experience temperatures well into the forties, but it’s going to be hot everywhere in the south and once he’s through that, he can escape some of the worst of the heat in the Colorado mountains

Day one of leg 2 is a very unpressured day for him – just in case (actually probably when) the bike gives problems

He’ll be returning back to the end of leg two on a more northerly (cooler) route

The points values are ramped up for this leg – if four points categories of 4 subsequent BPs are different, the fourth one counts triple …. a tricky calculation to make


Back to me again …..

Earlier, I mentioned that I spoke to Robert once I’d found out that he was sitting in 11th place.  After we’d had a chat, I tried to think of what sound advice and great wisdom I could offer him and leave him with.  I decided on this …..

DO NOT F*CK THIS UP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Day 3 update – First leg success !!

Well, leg 1 is done and dusted.

Robert arrived at the checkpoint well before the cut off point

He lost no points at the scoring and got what he feel is a good score given that he had a relaxing ride – bike issues apart.  The scores will no doubt be announced in due course on the IBA IBR pages and it would be wrong of me to post them here, but you may be surprised at some of the people who have not scored as well as him …..

Over the course of the first 3 days he’s managed to take almost 15 hours of  rest breaks and tells me that he feels good and not too tired – unlike many of the other riders ……

The day 3 ride itself was good – perfect weather and the bike initially ran fine.  As those of you who have his Spot link will know, he passed through those famous „country music cities“ Nashville, Jackson and Memphis and he says that he needs to come back some day (well, Mr Koeber – extend your break next year and you could ride to them with me !!!!!!)

He even managed to pick up BP’s that he hadn’t originally planned to do

But, the „bad“ news is that the bike has again given problems – I knew he should have used a Triumph …….

As he crossed the MIssissippi and the bike cut out – again.  He was already riding with the tank filler cap open in case it was an air lock but the bike wouldn’t start

He got himself off the highway, and a friendly Harley rider (is there such a thing ? I thought all Harley riders were „bad-ass mutha-f*ckers“ Lol !!) stopped to help.   Whilst he was unable to help, he at least directed Robert to the next gas station.  Robert has noticed that the problem doesn’t happen if the tank is full ….

At the road side, he gave the bike a quick check :

  1. Checked the fuel pump – working
  2. Disconnected the automatic fuel tap – no change
  3. Disconnected the fuel filter – bike started !!

He filled up quite close by was on his way but didn’t use the auxiliary for the remainder of the day

As the main tank capacity dropped to 1/3 full, the bike sputtered again – so he now fills up every 160 miles to keep the bike running

Given the temperatures (32C) – which actually is not that hot given what he’s about to experience – he has concluded that the problem is probably vapour-lock, due to the heat.  There’s little he can do about it, other than try to find „cooler“ routes.  If the aux tank works, then he can switch to putting petrol at 450 km instead of 600km which is the only thing that helps.  He has also discovered that the flow from the auxiliary  tank was obstructed which was probably soft tubes due to the heat, but he has managed to get it flowing again

Given the huge range of BP’s available, he should be able to re-plan a route to keep him out of the real heat of either the Mojave to the west or the deep south to the east of Texas – but that obviously isn’t good for scoring – HOWEVER, THAT IS UNIMPORTANT.  THE SOLE OBJECTIVE IS TO FINISH AND ANYTHING ELSE IS A BONUS.   If Robert finishes in last place (and he won’t), then this rally is a success.  Nothing matters other than to come back to Europe with his 3-digit number.  There will be other opportunities to show the USA what he is capable of …..

This next leg may present a few challenges with the bike – it will be the hottest of the 3 legs and so ALL Robert needs to achieve this leg is to score enough points to still be on target for a finish and most importantly, still be in the rally by the end of the leg ……

So, let’s leave on a positive note …….

Robert says that the Pan is so much more comfy to ride than the XBR – not shit, Sherlock !!!