The Hopeless Rally • 2002


Compiled by Greg Roberts, Hopeless Rally Volunteer.

(Sat 12:24 pm)

The Rally has begun;

Promptly at 7 am this morning the signal was given and the competitors in the Hopeless Rally were off like a herd of turtles.

The base route has the riders going from Madison, AL to meet with Duke Colley in New Orleans, then to visit with Art Holland in West Memphis, AR before returning to the Motel 6 in Madison, roughly 1045 miles on the most direct route.

For those wanting a few more points and miles, bonuses are available in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Kentucky. Also available is a progressive series of bonuses, awarding 100 points for gas reciepts from 6 states up to 1000 points for making 10 states.

Rolling out this morning were 8 bikes, including two Buell Blasts (one with just 176 miles on the odo!), a Kawasaki Vulcan, and a Suzuki GS500. By far the most popular choice of mount was the Kawasaki EX-250 Ninja, with four riders two with greater-than-stock fuel capacity).

They should have a chilly ride, as the temps this morning were in the low 40s, with similar lows expected again tonight. And several of the riders didn't have hookups for electric clothing, primarily because of the generally very small alternators on these bikes.

Five hours into the rally we haven't had any calls from the riders, a good sign. More news later.


(Saturday 8:20PM)

Duke Colley has just called in to Hopeless HQ with the news that all eight riders have made it to the first checkpoint safely and are continuing with the rally.

One rider, on a 2002 Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD, has had the battery fail on his machine. He called AAA for a jump-start when the battery first failed and had to wait for three hours before they arrived. He is now being accompanied by another rider and they are on their way directly to the West Memphis checkpoint. These two riders made it to the New Orleans Checkpoint just minutes before the checkpoint closed, the others have been long gone on their way north.


(Sunday 5:40 AM)

It is now 5:30 on Sunday morning. The finish window for the Hopeless Rally opened 30 minutes ago. Other than the FZ1 and K75, both owned by Rally Staff members, there are no bikes in the parking lot.

Yes, that's correct, as of right now there are NO finishers of the Hopeless Rally. Of the eight starters, four have withdrawn overnight, failing to reach the West Memphis, AR checkpoint before the 2 am close time.

Still in the running are one of the two Buell Blast and three of the four Kawasaki 250 Ninja machines.

The 2002 Kawasaki Vulcan is out due to a failed battery.

The Suzuki GS 500 didn't make the Memphis checkpoint due to running out of gas just outside of New Orleans. The rider had to push the bike 3/4 of a mile to get fuel, and trying to make up the lost time caused the bike to use a (relatively) lot of gas, forcing the miss in Memphis.

The Buell rider who is out stopped for a nap, set his Screaming Meanie and it failed to wake him up. So he slept through the Memphis time window.

The Ninja rider who is out left out of New Orleans as soon as that checkpoint was opened, heading for Hope, Arkansas. He missed that (timed) bonus location, and was unable to get to Memphis within the window.

So, we have two EX-250 riders who were planning very aggressive routes still in the running. One EX rider who had a fairly conservative route planned, and the remaining Buell rider, who left out yesterday morning with strict intentions of making a base-route run.


(Sunday 8:13AM)

We did have finishers! Four, in fact.

Fourth place went to Daniel Blackmon on his Buell Blast, who rode the straight base route to complete his first Saddlesore 1000. He had a few minutes to spare, but not many. His 1143 (uncorrected) miles is an excellent ride for a person who's previous personal best was a 400 mile day. Daniel didn't claim any bonuses, but accomplished exactly what he set out to do.

Third place went to Duke Dunsford on his EX-250. Riding 1207 miles he accumulated 2009 points with 5 bonus locations, another very good ride. Duke finished the ride at 6 am and was the first rider to return to the Motel 6.

Second place trophy went to Andrew Duthie on his bright red EX-250. Andrew managed to claim 10 bonuses for 2322 points while riding 1399 miles. A very good ride.

The winner, receiving the first place trophy and a bypass entry to the 2003 Iron Butt Rally, was Leon Begemon. Leon was also on an EX-250, though a heavily modified bike that has a range of over 400 miles. Leon, like Andrew, claimed 10 bonuses. The big difference was that Leon's bonuses included the progressive 10 state bonus, requiring him to ride 1538 miles. This is Leon's third Bun Burner Gold, and all of them have been on 250 cc machines.

Reynaldo Garcia, after suffering battery problems earlier in the rally, did return to the Motel 6 before the 7 am rally end time, but was not an official finisher as he missed the West Memphis checkpoint time window.

Three other riders also missed the West Memphis checkpoint. All are accounted for, having called in to say they were withdrawing from the rally and getting a motel room where they were.

Thanks to those who helped put the Rally on, including Bob Ray (Rallymaster), his wife Julie, Donna and Jim Fousek, Bubba Kolb, David Bankhead, Duke Colley, and Art Holland.

Greg Roberts
Hopeless Rally
Rally Tally Man


Comment by Bob Ray, Hopeless Rally Rallymaster in response to Leon's rally report;

I'm still stunned by your ride, Leon. Incredible, just incredible. In fact, I don't recall ANY rider of ANY 24 hour Ironbutt-format rally EVER racking up as many miles as you did. On your ninjetta.

In your case, it truly is the rider. Very well done.

Bob Ray

(Note - It's since been noted that others have travelled as far in rallies, but none on such a limited bike)


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Last modified: Auguest 17 2011 11:45:00 / -0600 GMT