This morning, I had a light breakfast and started my day of registration. I got me my registration papers that should lead me throughout the day. My first stop was a video recording of my statement that I understood all the risks of the rally and was aware of all the liability issues. Second stop was at technical inspection of the bike. Apart from some comments about loose cables (that have no function) my bike was approved, also my insurance and bike documentation. Good! I am getting a lot of positive reactions about the selection of my bike, the Americans can hardly imagine you can do long distance riding with a bike with less than 1000cc. My next stop was at the camera station, my memory cards and the settings of the camera were checked. Next was the odometer check. We had to ride a 50 km route on the highway to calculate a calibration factor. During the ride, the bike went perfect. I had received a lot of friendly offers for help with the carburetor, but at the moment, there is no problem anymore. One reason more to be relaxed. I removed the fuel tube and cleaned it, just in case. Finally it was time for the compulsory rookies meeting. We made aware what is ahead of us. This will be nothing we have ever experienced before. It is challenge to ride 1 to 2-day rallies, but no comparison to 11 continuous days of about 18-20 hours riding per day. This really serious. We were presented the statistics of rookies in the last years: DNFs (did not finish), accident, hospital stays….to remind us this is no piece of cake and that the most important task is to return safely to the finish here in Pittsburgh. Anything else is less important.
In the end I had to pass the final station with some of the most important guys. My emergency information sheet was not there and also my notarised liability waver. I sent it by e-mail, but apparently they had waited for the originals. Finally, this was accepted. I sorted the issue about my Spotwalla track with Mike Kneebone, the IBA president and thanked him for his invitation in person. I had to answer final questions by Ira Agins and after asking, he told me that I was granted the status of being in the “hopeless class”. Yes! My first achievement! I will start the rally on Monday morning!
I didn’t have time to get to the Walmart again, so tomorrow it has to be. I attended a reception for all riders plus the subsequent dinner. I was with the other riders of “Team Europe” and had many chat. Tomorrow is supposed to be a relaxing day, however, I’ll be busy with the visit to Walmart, preparing my gear, my luggage that I will take with me, the luggage I will leave here…and at 4 p.m. there’s already the rider’s meeting!
It is a very warm welcome here, people are impressed that riders from other continents show up here, despite all hurdles. And a 500cc thumper get’s some extra attention, of course 😀 .