I knew it for quite some months, but I was not 100 % sure if I would join until I had to pay the second half of the entrance fee this week. Yes, I was granted an entry based ‘on the discretion of the rallymaster’ aka a personal invitation for the toughest motorbike rally in the World. I was hesitating for weeks and months, but now I’m decided. I’ll be riding the mother of all long distance rallies – the Iron Butt Rally 2013 in the USA. It is an honour to be invited to this rally where the best 100 motorbikers of the world compete. On average, the task is to ride 11.000 miles in 11 days, to visit as any bonus point locations as possible, and to arrive at two checkpoints and at the finish on time. This goes beyond what I ever have experienced – I am quite used to the 24 h or 36 h rallies in Europe, but 11 days….I add some links that can explain more:
The start and finish will be in Pittsburgh, PA, 1st to 11th of July. I expect to have to visit Canada, Florida, California and many spots in between.
I was convinced to have to buy a new motorbike, I planned to get me a BMW R1200GS Adventure. But in the very last moment I changed my mind and I chose to compete in the ‘hopeless class’ – I will do it with my old, but trusted Honda XBR500. The reason for this last-minute change was that I discovered solutions to the biggest problems for this bike. The biggest drawbacks result in an action plan that I will have to tackle in the next weeks:
1. Get a decent protection from wind and weather
2. Lower the drain for the electrical system as the alternator has only a 170 W output.
3. Make the motorbike as comfortable as possible
The enormous advantage the XBR has over my BMW is the reliability: It never broke down during the last 327.000 km. Which bike can say that? During the last two big trips (Arabia, Africa), it did 22.000 km without any serious technical problems. The speed limits in the US are rather low so I expect to be sufficiently ‘competitive’ despite my tiny engine. There is only one big objective: arrive healthy at the finish. At the IBR 2011, only one traditional air-cooled motorbike made it to the finish (Boxer BMWs not included) the legendary Triumph Trident of John Young. I’ll have to find a solution for the heat problem as well.
I have already started to address action 1: I borrowed the huge Habermann fairing from Harri, the biggest solution I am aware of. I am busy with attaching the fairing properly to the bike – the pictures already give a first idea 🙂