The Iron Butt 5K Rally was dedicated to the memory of Eddie James (Click) and the charities now in his name. Eddie was a long time, active member of Team Strange (Click) and the Iron Butt Association (Click) and a much loved Rally Master. Eddie lost his life (Click) in a bike/car accident in Atlanta in December, 2009. Had Eddie lived, he would have been the Rally Master for the inaugural Iron Butt 5K Rally.
This rally began in Denver, Colorado at the conclusion of the Iron Butt National Meeting. The rally took place over two legs and the average rider had to ride in excess of 5 thousand miles in 5 days to be competitive.
Kevin Pugh and I made the decision to be in Spartanburg, SC to watch the finish of The Iron Butt 5K Rally. Naturally we could not pass up an opportunity to play in the Smokies on the way to Spartanburg.
Click Photos to Enlarge.
Heintooga Ridge Road - Balsam Mountain Road ~Click~
The Blue Ridge Parkway
After riding some awesome Smokey Mountain twisties, we arrived late Friday afternoon.
Rally Central for the finish was The Marriott Hotel in downtown Spartanburg, SC.
Saturday morning we were in front of the hotel early, only to find a few bikes had already checked into the riders area.
It was not long before other riders quickly followed.
Dale "Warchild" Wilson (Click), Iron Butt Rally Chief Technical Inspector, checking in an arriving rider.
One rally bonus required the above logo to be painted on the bike by noted pin stripe artist Steve Kafkal (Click) enroute. Many color variations could be seen on the arriving bikes. I was told this logo could be easily removed later if the rider preferred.
The Rally was a great place to see interesting license plates and specialized decals.
More importantly, if you enjoy examining competitive motorcycles up close, this rally finish was the place to be. Every conceivable auxiliary fuel tank, light configuration, and latest farkle could be seen.
These motorcycles belong to some of the top long distance riders in the country. It did not take long to come away with a deep appreciation for the long hours of careful planning and meticulous work that went into the setup of these bikes.
As the 10:00 am time deadline drew closer, the parking lot filled quickly and the atmosphere took on a more intense feel.
The rider of this 400cc Yamaha Majesty Scooter lost the windshield when he grabbed it as the bike accidentally tipped over. Can you imagine finishing a five thousand mile, five day rally on an open scooter without a windshield? He certainly deserves major credit for his grit and determination!
It seems like there is always one bike showing tire cord at the finish of these long rallies. This rear tire was on a Harley Sportster.
It should also be noted that this was a very hard rally on the animals. At last count, one each, deer, elk, bear, cow, rabbit and mouse were hit during this rally.
The Rally Finishers
Saturday night the banquet was held and the riders finishing positions announced. Congratulations to all, especially to the top finishers. The finishing order and bike details can be found here. (Click) For individual rider information, click on the name.
As always, Lisa Landry (Click) and all the Iron Butt Staff did an amazing job coordinating this rally. Every detail was first class!
There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going. ~Beverly Sills~