MAD BASTARD SCOOTER RALLY 2007 – WEEKEND REPORT
The 2007 Mad Bastard Scooter Rally is now done and dusted! Fifty-seven participants signed up, fifty-four showed up, and of those two failed to get to the starting line-up, with another three breaking down on the way and four not finishing within the allotted time.
That makes 42 out of 57 participants who actually completed the rally. Hmhh, seems about right …
That also makes for the biggest Mad Bastard Scooter Rally to date and, in line with our expectations and hopes, and some of the maddest entries we’ve seen to date. For example, how about a pair of Vikings – in full Viking riding gear with matching scoots to boot? Then there was the Space Oddity – a Honda CH80 covered in tinfoil and “accessorized” to make it look like some kind of fecked up space ship.
And then, who’d have thunk that Elvis was alive and well and doing the rounds on a scooter? There were also dancing fairies, public nudity, a kilted American, a pastor and a team of prison suit wearing Go-Go boys.
Yes, the 2007 MBSR was a screaming success (if success can indeed scream of course). But I’m getting ahead of myself here, just what did someone have to do in order to complete the 2007 rally?
THE MADNESS OF THE RALLY
This year’s route ran a total of 660 km, with an optional 140 km bonus loop at the end to take it up to 800 kms. All along the way we’d set up “Mad Points” where the rider had to either stop and find the answer to a question (“when was so and so fort built?” etc.) or take a photo of something rather odd (“kissing the wait staff at a restaurant stop”, “doing something mad outside the Prime Minister’s residence” and "documenting various ways of eating Timbits after 730 km in the saddle" all added to the madness.).
Each task was awarded a set number of points with additional points for rider and scooter attire as well as the ages of both (the older, the harder the endurance aspect of the rally, and so the greater number of points awarded). In total 800 points were up for grabs for the oldest, most odd-looking and maddest-behaving bastard out there.
Oh, and each scooter was assigned a class dependent on its cc, each class with a set amount of time to complete the whole thing in. Arrive even one minute late for your class and you were deemed to have not finished the rally. Harsh but fair. Sorta.
The HQ for this year’s rally was based at the Ramada Inn in Belleville and at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 23rd (sunrise .. ish) riders were sent out into the darkness at two-minute intervals, destination … Belleville (it’s a loop you see). Actually, I guess that would be Belleville, to Belleville to Belleville if you do the final bonus loop too, but more on that later.
After a brief tour of Prince Edward County the route veered north, meandering through the Lanark Highlands and up to Calabogie. From there it veered east and into Ottawa (via the slow and uncongested parkways), before shooting south to Morrisburg on the St Lawrence. Then it was a straight shot back to Belleville – southwest along Highway 2.
The idea of such routing was to make the first half the most interesting, scenic and challenging – while the riders had their wits about them. After they got through Ottawa it was pretty flat and about as simple as possible with only two highways to take them all the way home.
That way any fatigue that might set in was not compounded by technical routing and the need to keep your eyes peeled for Mad Point stops. Okay, we threw in one last Mad Point at Fort Wellington on Hwy 2 just because we could ... but it was a really easy one.
However, let’s not forget that this is primarily an endurance rally, and with the main loop only taking up 660 km, we decided to add an optional leg at the end to take the total tally up to the 800 km mark.
Hmhh, how best to do that? It’s obvious really – simply shoot them 70 km further down Hwy 2 to Cobourg, get them to buy some Timbits (receipt required for proof of completion, with the option to submit a photo of how to best eat said Timbits for additional Mad Points) and then come straight back.
Sounds easy enough eh? Well, since most of the 50 cc “Straight Jacket” class took about 19 to 20 hours to complete the main 660 km loop, it was no surprise that only three of them opted to get the bonus loop (generally the ones that completed the main loop in under 18 hours).
With an additional 200 or so points up for grabs if you did do the bonus loop, anyone that chose not to obviously put themselves out of the top spots.
But what about a blow-by-blow account of the weekend’s festivities? Good question and who am I to deny the whim of CMG readership …?
Like so many CMG-generated ideas, some things tend to get left a bit to the last minute, nay, seconds. So it was no great surprise when the MBSR coordinators (Courtney Hay and myself) arrived at the Ramada Inn in Belleville Friday afternoon with rider packs still to pack, the evening’s presentation still to put together and no finalized plan of how to actually get 50-odd riders out of a parking lot and onto Ontario roads at 4:30 in the morning.
The Ramada Inn was kind enough to set us up with a suite (aptly entitled the “war room”) as Rally HQ and it was quickly turned into just such, spewing out various printed docs as a ragtag team of volunteers presented themselves and were quickly assigned to various tasks.
Despite my worries, the evening actually ended up going rather smoothly, save for a bit of a delay in getting the riders registered and seated. I even managed to cobble together a half decent presentation, with lots of questions asked ... and most of them answered.
Good then, the riders know all the ins and outs of the route, what the schedule is for the weekend and most importantly how to get maximum Mad Points in order to have a chance at winning the new KYMCO Vitality scoot.
A brief walk about the parking lot around midnight saw the usual last minute tinkering as well as the desperate last minute strip downs. Yes, two this year: one Team Wheel Easy's (but not diseasy) TNG Milano and the other Team Go-Go boys Honda Ruckus (which was the only scooter they had left, the other two members opting to ride the MBSR on a CBR125R after various disasters that took out their scoots just before the rally weekend).
Oh dear, only five hours 'til the start boys …
At these kinds of events inevitably no one really gets much sleep. If you’re partaking in the rally you’re either late doing last minute stuff or lying awake full of worries of what’s about to happen next. If you’re organizing the whole thing, then you’re likely suffering from both, so it was with dreary eyes and much ass-dragging that we amassed in the hotel lobby, stuffed down a few pastries and made our way out into a dark parking lot.
The send-off ideas had finally been sussed out the previous night and involved sending off the riders as per their class. The 50 cc Straight Jacket class was first up, with each rider sent off at two-minute intervals so as to ensure we could register their clock-out time and odometer reading as well as award points for attire and scooter madness.
We used the KYMCO and CMG tents as a makeshift starting block and sent off one volunteer into the mass of gathered scoots to find the next few up on the list and get them ready for send off. It’s at this point that I knew that we’d done it. There were plenty of ingenious and hilarious outfits, the mood was festive and even the Ruckus that had been in bits the night before showed up ready to go (unfortunately, Paul’s Milano did not).
The job was done by 6:30 and all that was left to do was go back to bed.
The first distress call came in around 10:00 – a punctured tire. In the next few hours two more calls came in (including a bent crank on an Aprilia!), all requiring the kindly-provided KYMCO sweep truck to stop by and pick ‘em up. About that time two riders on Vespas came back in, having hobbled back after one of the scoots started chewing into its front tire thanks to a badly fitted aftermarket shock. Hmhh, Shelby, me thinks that borrowing a friend’s bike the day before the rally might not be a good idea in future …
Surprisingly, that was about that for breakdowns and shortly after the reception for retuning riders opened at 6:00 p.m., they starting to come back in.
Now it was all a matter of getting the logistics right, as each rider had to submit their best picture for each photo class and the answers to all the Mad Points that they managed to find along the way. Oh, and we gave them a nice cold beer once they’d done all this.
This, I thought, was a job best left to Roxanne and Courtney who seemed to have a handle on it, and besides, I’d taken the night shift and so needed to get some sleep if I was to stand a chance at tallying all the points and coming up with a winner and a suitable presentation for the Sunday banquet.
As if by magic, by the time I awoke at 4:00 a.m. the last riders were checking in, the girls had tallied up all the clue points and downloaded all the pics, and all the riders had been accounted for. Well done gals, now get to bed and we’ll see you in six hours.
With the presentation due for noon, it was a flurry of activity in the war room as pictures were compared to each other and points allotted for various degrees of madness. Some riders had taken a quick snapshot to show themselves at the required location, some had been so tired that they hadn’t even bothered to download their pics and some had gone all out and submitted a story of madness, sadness and sometimes depravity of the previous day’s events. Excellent.
Having to come up with the presentation was unexpectedly easy. After picking out a “best of” selection of photos and rearranging them into the correct order of events, the captions wrote themselves. Deciding on a winner was likewise easy as after all the points were awarded all I had to do was sort the database in order of points and tada … a winner!
The Sunday Awards Banquet went off sans hitches, with the overall winner being Doug Wright of Team Wheel Easy (but not diseasy) – one of the Viking brothers – who amassed a healthy 649 points out of the potential 800. Second (and by a mere 10 points) was Donny Orr of the Go-Go Boys, and whose Ruckus it was that was in a million pieces only the night before! In third came veteran MBS Rally rider Bobb Todd, who had ridden the route solo on his 1981 Honda C70!
Other honourable mentions include Costa Mouzouris (editor of Cycle Canada) who finished 14th and had completed the rally on a 1970 Motobecane moped, and Blaine McKibbin, finishing 15th on his 1986 “Space Oddity” Honda CH 80. Oh, and Mark Richardson (editor of the Toronto Star Wheels section), who had managed to arrange a few laps at the Calabogie racetrack on his Yamaha B-Whizz – that’s fecked up.
There are many others who went that extra mile in embracing the spirit of the rally and everyone who took part deserves a certificate of madness … which of course we gave them at the Awards Banquet.
By 4:00 p.m. the parking lot was empty, the rally done and Courtney and myself loaded up the rental car and headed back to Montreal for a well deserved rest. The question is, should there be a Mad Bastard Rally 2008? Well, we’re quite happy with the once every odd year format (making it once every two years for the hard of logic), but then with the ballooning success of this event it would almost seem mad not to do something in ’08.
I think a few weeks rest is in order first …
There are a lot of pictures that were both taken by us and submitted by the riders themselves. We're working our way through them and will put a slide show together next week – stay tuned!
This year’s rally was positively bristling with journalists, all of whom are going to write up their accounts of the day. Hopefully we’ll be able to get copy of each write-up to post up on CMG, but if you want to read more keep an eye out for the following publications:
Things like the Mad Bastard Scooter Rally would not happen if we didn't get the support from various parties. Below is the list of those that we could not have done without ...
KYMCO Canada – for stepping up to the plate
and not only sponsoring the event, providing the Vitality scooter as
the grand prize, but also getting a large team of riders to take part
in the rally.