Rider meetings at 4:00am are always interesting. Sometimes they are rote, with the handing out of the next leg bonus list and coordinates being the main focus, along with posting the standings from the just-completed leg.

Sometimes, riders are reminded in no uncertain terms that what the staff has been seeing or what has been reported is unacceptable behavior on this rally. The rider meeting at Checkpoint 1 was one of those where riders are admonished and reminded of the consequences. Riders heard some strong admonitions from Lisa and Jeff during the riders’ meeting that started the clock on Leg 2.

Rally Flag 101 instructions were reiterated. Wow.

Having respect for the rally and for property was also reiterated. WTH? Apparently, during Leg 1, someone rode their bike THROUGH the cornfield bonus instead of parking and walking to get the bonus photo.

It did not take some of the riders very long to find a route they liked for Leg 2. Several riders began departing the Checkpoint 1 hotel in Tulsa very soon after receiving their rally packets and coordinates at 4:00am.

Mike Brooke 4:48am
Keith Underhall 4:50am
Dan Stephens II 4:52
Scott Eve 5:06
Reef AsSadiq 5:10am
John Andrews 5:11am
James Owen 5:14 return 5:20 depart 5:24
Ben Ernst 5:16am
Bob Lilley 5:18am
Mike Heitkamp 5:21am
Eric Buskell 5:24am
Mark Beaulac 5:30am

We will know soon if they should have taken more time to plan their routes, or if their apparent “see it and go for it” strategy was the right choice. We are guessing that some will go North, some south, some east, and some west. Which route will work best for each rider? Are they so similar that it will come down to which rider can stay focused and ride their plan, or will some riders overlook options due to not taking enough time to think things through? It can be challenging to know when it is time to fish or time to cut more bait.

It was interesting to see the level of involvement of the pillion riders of the two-up teams. Most of them appear enthusiastic, willing to help with loading the bike, doing some routing, and helping the rider go through checklists. Jon Kerr and daughter Caleigh have a particularly methodical and efficient system of loading the bike, getting set, high fiving each other, and rolling out quickly.

John Harrison
IBR Scribe
Iron Butt Rally

Photos by John Harrison and Tobie Stevens