The 2021 Iron Butt Rally is underway, now in its final leg. At this point, Mike Brooke leads the standings, but James Owen is very close behind.
What’s the Iron Butt Rally?
The Iron Butt Rally is a long-distance motorcycle challenge that runs every two years, with riders heading to various locations across North America to collect points. The rally covers approximately 11,000 miles in 11 days, in all weather—it is not for the faint-of-heart. The riders collect points by visiting required checkpoints, and adding bonus checkpoints whenever possible (frequently, these bonuses require a photograph or other task to be fulfilled).
Usually, there’s some sort of theme that ties all the bonuses and checkpoints together as well (this year, maybe it’s Dodging COVID-19?).
Wendy Crockett is the reigning Iron Butt Rally champ; in 2019, she was the first female rider to win the challenge.
This year’s rally
This year’s rally kicked off on June 21, with riders departing from Provo, Utah (the rally also ends there). So far we’ve had Leg 1 (with James Owen first, Mike Brooke second) and Leg 2 (Mike Brooke taking the lead, James Owen second). At time of writing this article, Spotwalla shows the riders spread over the US midwest and southeast … but given the distance these motorcyclists travel, they all might be much further west by the time you read this. Remember, they’re traveling a thousand miles a day.
This year’s rally shows the usual mix of Yamaha FJR1300s, BMW RTs and GSs of various vintages, Honda Gold Wings, and several different Harley-Davidson touring models scattered farther back in the pack.
Taking a scan towards the tail end of the standings, you can see some … bold bike choices. Bill Norris is riding a Kawasaki Vulcan 500 LTD. Kurt Worden is on a Kawasaki Versys-X 300 (and in a very respectable 37th overall, too, far ahead of many riders on bigger bikes!). Wayyyy back in 67th, Michael Boge is flogging a KTM 300 XCW-TPI—surely that’s the Hopeless class. He’s the only two-stroke this year, as the perennial Suzuki GT750 entry is not around.
The riders will wrap up this year’s event on July 2. We’ll try to share some details once it’s all zippered up, but until then, keep an eye on Spotwalla to track the riders’ movements, as well as the Daily Reports found here.