The following updates are being relayed based on information drifting in from various sources. The information may or may not be entirely accurate, but we are posting the best information currently available to the rally staff. If it proves to be less than 100% accurate, hopefully it at least allows for some speculation…
Lionel Ramos hit a huge pothole on I-80 west of Rock Springs in Wyoming. The front rim on his BMW was damaged and would not hold air. His towing policy proved worthless. Using the vaunted BMW Anonymous Book didn’t yield any offers of help. It was Sunday and took hours, but a friend from Ogden, UT was finally able to get there and haul the bike to his home while they tried to find a solution. IBR Vet DeVern Gerber provided the contact info for the General Manager of BMW of Salt Lake. Troy Barns, the GM, was two hours away on a family camping trip and came back early to open the shop on Monday (normally closed) to help Lionel. They did not have a wheel in stock, but they did have a used BMW on the floor with a front wheel that would fit. Troy chose to step up and help a rider in need and worked out a deal on the wheel (something few shops will do). The wheel was swapped from the used bike to Lionel’s bike to get him back in the rally. Lionel referred to Troy as his “guardian angel”. Kudos to Troy and BMW of Salt Lake!
Kurt Worden tried plugging his punctured tire, but it continued leaking. He was near Jackson, Mississippi. He contacted Lisa and she posted a call for help on social media. Nate Steuben called Lisa and said he was on the way to help. Some of you may recall that Nate stepped up to assist Tim Masterson when he had a crash three years ago in Louisiana. Nate drove Tim 230 miles back to his home in Texas. This time, to help Kurt, Nate first drove 100 miles to a friend’s home to pick up the correct tire, then drove from Louisiana to Jackson, MS to meet Kurt. Nate also brought a tire changing stand and levers. The good deed was done around midnight and Kurt was back in the rally. Nate had to drive back to Louisiana and be at work that morning. Nate’s generosity saved Kurt from having to wait until the next day for a shop to open and replace the tire, saving him at least 12 hours of on-the-clock rally time…assuming the dealer even had a tire and would even schedule the work. Nate’s karma bank is well stocked at this point.
Bucky Dent was in north Texas and had a flat tire with too much damage to plug. He called Lisa and she posted a call for assistance. IBR Vet Cliff Wall stepped up to drive 3+ hours to bring the correct tire. Lisa received a contact number for assistance near Bucky. She called what turned out to be a tow truck company. That gentleman referred her to the sheriff (and he knew that number off the top of his head). The lady at the sheriff’s department referred her to the brother of someone she knew who she said would help motorcyclists. The brother said to call Jimmy John’s brother Jeremy. Jeremy called back almost immediately. Jeremy was only 12 miles away and went to get Bucky. It was nearly 100F and concerned folks were taking pity on Bucky and stopping to give him water bottles. When Cliff arrived with the tire, they all got it mounted. Bucky was back in the rally.
Howard Phelps lost his rally packet somewhere between his last bonus and a rest stop. He eventually backtracked, but could not find it. He missed the second call in bonus. He has also lost the tracking bonus due to not having his tracker on for two days. He no longer has bonus instructions to go with the locations. We are not sure how he plans to finish the rally yet he soldiers on.
Nick Byrnes called the RallyMom to announce he is withdrawing from the rally. He is OK and plans to be at the finish.
Ted Capling is the rider on the K100 BMW with the SmartCar diesel engine. When I talked to Mike Kneebone about whether it should be classified as a Hopeless Class entry, Mike said it was definitely Hopeless Class. Some of us thought it might be sorted enough to not be completely hopeless based on how clean the installation looked and mostly because the engine is pretty decent and the bike itself is reliable, but no one was sure about the fabricated connections which join the two units. However, there was some speculation about the gearing not being ideal and not much testing time was available.
Mike noted the engine was turning relatively high rpm at highway speeds, which is typically not good for diesels. Today, we learned that the engine apparently “blew up” in South Carolina, somewhere near Oak Grove. Never doubt Mike’s intuition regarding the Hopeless Class!
Our info indicates Ted has a spare engine on the way and he plans to do the swap and get back on the road. While that might sound unprecedented, engine swaps are not new to the IBR. In 2001 Paul Pelland (LonghaulPaul) had an engine swap on his Ural performed by the infamous Russian Factory Support Team and Paul Meredith swapped the engine on his 125cc two-stroke Mitas. We will report on Ted’s diesel swap status as we know more. We love his dedication.
Jim Abbott hit a huge pothole on I-80 east of Rock Springs. Both tires were flattened and both rims were bent on his ST1300. The rear wheel is in the worst condition. He is waiting for help and has removed the wheels from the bike to have it as ready as he can for replacement wheels. He is hoping to have wheels available sometime this evening, but we do not have details yet on what is happening. More as we know it.
Update: An ST-Owners’ Club member in Utah (500 miles away) is bringing two rims and a back tire. The local Honda shop manager will do what she can to get them mounted/balanced ASAP. Because the Honda shop was non-committal, the tire was mounted and balanced first, before the journey. Beth Madson, who is on vacation nearby, will help Jim get around as needed to get the bike prepped. He is still hoping to make it to the finish.
Your scribe and the rest of the rally staff fully understand that everyone following this rally wants to know what is happening with the riders on this very long Leg 3. Unfortunately, the dynamics of the rally prevent your scribe from posting details of what each rider is doing, their apparent strategy, and what we think they plan to do, simply because posting such info could affect the strategy of other riders. We will post information as it is available, but only as long as it does not compromise the integrity of the rally.