My blog tonights was going to be about how all was going well
I received news from Robert this morning at 8.00am (midnight on Sunday in California) basically saying that in the end he had 3 hours of buffer due to my efficient rest break (finding the hotel and check in) and he also gained some time in riding. Although he was going slow at 70-75 mph (for him that is), he was constantly passed by other riders – yes, I know how he felt …..
However, he is much faster than others at the BPs !!
In Nevada it was hot (but nowhere near as hot as the Mojave is) at around 40 degrees and although the engine oil temperature was OK, no more than 110C, his knees and thighs are getting burnt.
He acknowledged after this that he had to avoid the southwest!
As he was ahead of time, he sat down and checked the computer and then put together a route that collected at the small BPs around Sacramento and he arrived 30 minutes before the cut-off.
He had a few issues at the scoring table and with a bit of gentle persuasion got the scorers to see his point of view – he can be very persuasive …..
Once he had the bonuses, his worst fears (and mine were confirmed), the rally masters were “encouraging” riders to head into Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado – basically the Mojave Desert and just where he needed to avoid.
Eventually he figured a route that would keep him out of the worst of the heat (albeit that he was probably going to need another tyre halfway through leg 3 – I was working on that one for him) and off he set …..
But not for long ….
Basically, 5th gear failed, then any downward selection failed and then when he could get selection, 5th gear no longer worked.
At that point he wisely chose to return to Sacremento as attempting the desert leg and breaking down would be dangerous. Back in 2011 when I hit the sandstorm, I was lucky in that my bike actually came to a halt at Kayenta – a (very) small town bult around a crossroads. There was though shelter and more importantly water there whilst I was trying to fix the bike. Robert might not have been that lucky.
His plan is now to try to make it to the finishing control, picking up whatever points he can on the way – call-in bonus, rest bonus etc. He already knows that even if he does make it back (and he’s now only got 4 gears working), he’ll not have enough points to be classed as a finisher.
That doesn’t stop him being a true hero though !!
Riding the IBR is tough. Riding the IBR on a Hopelessclass bike is all but impossible – that’s why they’re called the “Hoplelessclass”. I was just lucky back in 2011 that the rally format suited me and my plan. Even then though, I was the only “Hopelessclass” bike to finish. Non finished in 2009 and one, I think, finished in 2007 – or maybe it was the other way around. The point is, very, very few Hopelessclss bikes succeed.
There will be other opportunties for Robert to go back to the USA and compete in the IBR an (but on a proper bike) and show them just what a rider he really is. For now, he’s just got to limp his poorly bike all the way back across the continent ……
As news filetrs in from Robert, I’ll keep the blog updated