I had three goals at this year’s Mad Bastard Scooter Rally. The first was to finish without crashing in a groggy stupor. The second was to complete the bonus loop. The third was to avoid arrest for public outrage.
I only accomplished two of these goals, but we’ll get into that later.
I showed up at the Belleville Travelodge on Friday to find a stressed-out Editor ‘Arris working feverishly with the Kymco team to prepare for the evening’s presentation.
After raiding the fridge and making sure there was nothing I could to do help (and there wasn’t – they were far, far beyond help – talk about a case of the inmates running the asylum), I hit the pool with my wife, wondering just how she was going to react when the hotel started to fill up with costumed madmen.
As I sat at the supper table, I scanned my surroundings and noted:
1). A squad of riders dressed as tacos, including a member who had transformed his helmet into a replica fish’s head.
2). The return of the Go-Go Boys, who’d spruced up the previous rally’s costumes by adding sherriff’s badges and toy machine guns and dubbing themselves “Team Go-Go Zombie Killiers.”
3). A husband and wife dressed as bride and groom – except the wife had the tux and the husband had the wedding dress
4). A rider dressed as the Flash, complete with customized helmet.
5). The return of Scooterman, this time dressed as some sort of medieval knight.
It’s then that I realized my own costume, consisting of some camo face paint and an army surplus jacket, wasn’t going to garner me any serious points in this crowd.
My teammate, Kanishka Sonnadara, and I were entered in the media class as Team Going Commando. Unfortunately, I forgot to zip-tie a pair of undies to my scooter as I left at first light on Saturday morning, so there was no way of proving my claim. We did, however, pick up a third rider on the way out, Hobie Post, who was also running in the media class.
During Friday’s supper, I’d seen Hobie and Kanishka carefully making notes on the route map, while I hadn’t bothered. Consequently, I hinted as we left the hotel that maybe one of them should navigate. But somehow I ended up in front, eyes jumping back and forth between the road and my scooter’s new aftermarket navigation system.
Thankfully, I’d gotten enough practice at on-the-fly map-reading during my cross-the-US trip that we never got very far off track.
Hobie had had the foresight to actually bring a road map of the region (I’d been unable to find one), which saved our butts on a couple occasions.
As we rolled along, we started to encounter the rally’s early casualties including poorly-running vintage Vespas and Honda trail scooters, their owners crouched beside them in costume, grimly fiddling with parts in an attempt to make them run.
At the start of the day, Team Going Commando was taking it easy; Kanishka was riding a 500, I was on a 300, and Hobie was on a 200 (all generously supplied by Kymco), so we figured we’d have no problem making the 16-hour deadline. We would play games of back-and-forth passing with scooters we met en-route; depending on who figured out the clue first, one group of scooters would take off, only to passed after they got bogged down at the next clue.
And that’s how the rest of the morning went. Rain started spitting, but not enough to require a stop to don waterproofs. Besides, we were too busy looking for clues off the sheet. Some, like the Brass Point Bridge speed limit, were fairly easy, while others, like the well-hidden Red Brick School, were pretty elusive. A passer-by would have been very curious to know why a dozen scooterists, dressed as everything from Australian cowherders to Viking berserkers, were milling about in a roadside graveyard, looking for a tombstone that was actually in the next graveyard down the road …
We had a bit of a scare late-morning when Team Going Commando rounded a corner and saw a swarm of police and ambulance workers attending to a scooter rider. Apparently her front tire had somehow blown out on her as she navigated a curb, sending her somersaulting into a ditch. Thankfully, she landed sans injury into a marsh, which is probably the closest thing to an air fence that you’ll find on the highway.
And then, we came to The Maples Restaurant in Sharbot Lake. This was the maddest clue of all – ‘Arris had promised up to 100 points for a photo, if a rally member swam out to the raft in the middle of the lake behind the restaurant. Knowing some of the Mad Bastards’ proclivity for streaking, I knew I wouldn’t be the only scooterist who’d take the plunge for points, but I didn’t expect to see a parking lot full of wet riders re-donning their costumes – which is exactly what I saw when we rolled in.
No worries! I politely waited for the family dining lake-side to finish their dinner and leave (there was no need to spoil their appetite with the upcoming spectacle), then stripped down to my boxers and swam out the raft for the photo, hoping the police wouldn’t arrive and question why I was swimming in my underwear offshore from a park.
Safely back at the scooter, and back in my costume, I hung my wet undies off the rear-view mirror and headed down the route again, boxers flapping in the breeze. Team Going Commando had finally earned its name.
Then, the rain started. The air had felt like it was running about 110 per cent humidity, and the skies had been dark all day, so it was no surprise, but I’d hoped we could dodge it all the same. No such luck!
Thankfully, Team Going Commando was spared the downpour that other teams saw, and we’d all brought rain gear, so the worst effect of the rain was that it slowed us down a bit at the start of the lovely curvy roads around Calabogie.
Speaking of which – we knew we’d found the scene of the infamous ‘Kiss’ photo-op (where riders need photographic evidence of kissing something at a restaurant) when we rounded a corner in Calabogie and saw the parking lot at Polly’s Lil Shanty full of scooters.
Inside, there wasn’t a free table, and the waittresses were madly running about with orders of food and fielding requests for kisses left, right and center. We grabbed a quick smooch with a waittress who likely hadn’t seen such a romantic afternoon in years, and hit the road again.
I’d enjoyed the roads before Calabogie, but I thought the roads after were even better. As our team was all mounted on fairly fast scooters, we were able to maintain a fairly hot pace through the turns en route to Combermere.
There was a fairly straight section of road after, and we started to catch up with some of the Heavily Medicated class riders here; soon, Super Dave and the rest of his 70 cc crew were eating our dust as we laid the hammer down on the return section of the route. In fact, I started to worriedly look at my speedometer and wonder how accurate it was – apparently, a 300 cc scooter can put you in lose-your-license territory, at least in Ontario. Madness indeed!
The Lower Faraday road provided the day’s last set of twisties; this tight country road was fantastic fun, but we had to be super careful; it wouldn’t have been surprising to see an oncoming car drift into our lane on this back road (the odds of hitting a rally member running down the road pants-free for a photo-opp were also fairly high).
But Team Going Commando managed to stay out of trouble, and even show up a few loud-piped cruiser riders we encountered, when our made-in-Taiwan mounts proved their muscular V-twins’ equals in the curves. Of course, we weren’t providing a selfless civic service like they were (loud pipes save lives, remember), so maybe they took solace in that thought.
We grabbed the elusive final clue in Havelock, navigated our way through the farmland around Stirling, and headed back to HQ. We had a few moments of panic when the road signs didn’t match up with our rally map, but we figured out we were on-route … and almost out of time.
The last few miles of panicky, throttle-open action through Belleville were justified; after almost 16 hours on the road, we made our destination with only three minutes to spare. No bonus loop for us …
I was a little disappointed I couldn’t do the extra 180 kms to prove my commitment to madness, and I was a little more disappointed in my 39th place finish (mid-pack, I reckon, but at least I beat my team-mates!), but over-all, I had a great time at this year’s MBSR. Now, I’ve just got to finish planning the 2013 Dawn to Dusk …
THE RALLY OVERVIEW
by Editor ‘Arris
Wow, what a Mad Bastard Rally! The 2013 saw us sell out our maximum of 99 slots on what was likely the toughest rally to date.
With 674 kms of twisty and somewhat hilly terrain and then an additional 180 km Bonus Loop that also required riders to stop at all six Tim Hortons en route to pick up a Timbit (getting all six gave them a potentially rally-winning 160 points), it was asking a lot to be the maddest bastard of them all.
But in true fashion the Bastards did not disappoint. To be honest, I didn’t expect anyone to actually strip off and swim out to a floating platform at Sharbot Lake, so I gave it a massive 100 points (total points up for grabs is 1000) and many bastards duly did the deed.
Also, after such a long day which included a goodly amount of downpours, I was equally surprised by the amount of Bastards that shunned the warmth of the hotel to check in and leave once again for another 18o kms in the pitch black for the bonus loop.
But the title of Maddest Bastard of the them all should not go to the sane and I take my tinfoil hat off to not just those that did all the challenges I put in their way, but to anyone who pulled up under the starting tent in the AM darkness of Saturday morning to attempt and embrace the Madness that comes but once every two years. Bastards, I salute you.
THE RALLY STATS
This year 99 riders not only signed up but also started the rally (though one failed to show and another showed up on spec in case there was a slot). Of these 99, 76 actually finished the rally, as in rode back to base after completing the course (with receipt proof) and within the allotted time for their class. Eleven mad souls actually did the Bonus Loop too.
Unfortunately, of the 23 that DNF’d, two were crashes; one who hit a deer and another who had a front tire blow out and dumped them into a ditch. Thankfully both riders were okay, though their scoots were a little worse for wear.
To our embarrassment, we had a few computer glitches year and in the chaos that is the returning rider registration, a couple of riders that came in over their class allowed time limit were not flagged as DNF (Did Not Finish).
To add insult to injury one of these riders, Andrew McCready, also attained the most points in his class (Therapy Required) and so was declared the winner! As Rally Master I have to take responsibility for this error and make the dreaded phone call to Andrew to let him know.
Apologies to Andrew and everyone else for this oversight – we’ll be revamping the registration system for the 2015 rally to ensure this does not happen again and offering Andrew a free entry to try and recompense him for our sins.
Of course, new class winner Chris Couture was an easier call to make. We’ll have to charge him double for the 2015 rally to even up the Yin and Yang.
Oh yes, and one other issue that of course affected another class winner. John Seesink of Team MMM had submitted his pics by mistake to teammate Tom Woo (they were emailed in as we couldn’t download them directly from his iphone), who got the extra points and was awarded the win for the Day Release class as a result.
John and Tom approached us right after the awards and since both parties were happy to switch the points we agreed to switch the class win.
So, to the winners (a full list will be posted on the MBSR website shortly, as well as a complete photo gallery):
- Maddest Bastard of them all: Todd McAlary (beating out the 2013 winner Scooterman by a mere 13 points!)
- Straitjacket class winner: Todd McAlary
- Heavily Medicated class winner: Mario Seguin
- Therapy Required class winner (corrected): Chris Couture
- Day Release class winner (corrected): John Seesink
- Media class winner: Dan Durston
- Team class winner: The Fish Tacos
Events like these take a lot of work and planning to carry off. They also need the supports of sponsors to make them financially feasible and any organization that not just throws their support behind such an event but especially one that calls itself the Mad Bastard Scooter Rally should be hoisted up on straitjacketed shoulders and credited for it.
This year, as with most years that proceeded it, KYMCO Canada take top honours as not just the main sponsor but also a big help when it comes to getting involved with the detailed planning. Without support like this the Mad Bastard simply would not be what it is today.
Other much needed support came from Yamaha Canada who supplied the sweep truck that was especially busy this year (thanks Andrew) and BMW Canada, who experienced the madness for the first time thanks to their new C650/600 scoots.
And of course, a big thank you to all the Mad Bastards who rode the thing. We’ll hopefully see you all again in 2015.
Check out all the pics that go with this story! Click on the main sized pic to transition to the next or just press play to show in a slideshow.