Motorcycling is a minority pursuit; touring motorcyclists are a minority within motorcycling; and long-distance riding is often seen as being very particular even within the motorcycling fraternity.
Run every two years by the Iron Butt Association (www.ironbutt.org), the Iron Butt Rally is regarded as the Olympics of long-distance motorcycle-riding. Riders are given a long list of bonus locations and they have to decide which ones they can get to while still making it back to St Louis within a strict time-frame. Points are awarded for each bonus location ‘captured’, with higher points for more difficult / distant locations. Capturing the location usually consists of photographing a personal Rally flag at the location and recording certain details such as odometer reading and time. More points are awarded for keeping detailed fuel logs and taking defined rest-periods. A rider must achieve 190,000 points over the two legs of the Rally to be classified as a finisher. No consideration is given for bad weather or poor road conditions.
Riders in the Rally are selected from thousands of applicants from all over the world. A rider needs to be able to show a record of long-distance riding before being considered for a place on the start-line. On 20 August 2007, Richard Keegan was on the start-line in St Louis, Missouri, a rider from the island of Ireland. Eleven days and 8,906 miles later, with 194,071 points, Richard was placed 58th out of 64 finishers, from 97 starters.
This is his story of the Iron Butt Rally.