Aim­ing to ride fur­ther than McKelvey in a day

The Witness - Wheels - - BIKING - LOZ BLAIN

IN a week and a half’s time, Amer­i­can Carl Reese will at­tempt to break the record held by Pi­eter­mar­itzburg’s Matthew “Bushy” McKelvey, who in 2013 rode 3 256,5 km in 24 hours around Phak­isa at an av­er­age speed of 136,8 km/h.

To go 3 545 km in the same time on his BMW K1600GT, around an oval track in 24 hours, Reece will not have time to dis­mount to an­swer calls of na­ture, other than the siren call of cof­fee, and he will ride with catheter like en­durance riders do.

A builder by day, Reese spends his spare time and money plan­ning and ex­e­cut­ing en­durance driv­ing and rid­ing feats.

He’s the cur­rent un­of­fi­cial holder of one of the most sto­ried records in Amer­i­can his­tory — the solo mo­tor­cy­cle “can­non­ball” record from LA to New York City — a 38-hour, 49-minute, com­pletely il­le­gal dash that the Guin­ness Book of World Records hasn’t touched since 1966.

With his fi­ancée Deena Mas­tracci, Reese has also set sev­eral elec­tric ve­hi­cle records, in­clud­ing an au­ton­o­mous can­non­ball run in which his Tesla P85D did some 96,1% of the to­tal driv­ing, and an­other odd­ity just to get him­self into the Guin­ness book — the short­est non-driv­ing time to cross the United States in an elec­tric ve­hi­cle. There are plenty of oth­ers.

But Reese sees this as the great­est chal­lenge he’s ever faced. The solo mo­tor­cy­cle 24hour dis­tance record is an­other kind of beast al­to­gether. Rid­ing around a mo­not­o­nous 13,7 km track with noth­ing but mile­long straights and gen­tle, banked cor­ners for an en­tire day will re­quire su­per­hu­man phys­i­cal en­durance and men­tal clar­ity. There’s no traf­fic, po­lice or toll bridges to slow him down or break his stride. And to knock the record off, he’ll need to main­tain an av­er­age speed, even in­clud­ing fuel stops and tyre changes.

We spoke to Reese 11 days out from his record at­tempt, which will go down on Satur­day, Fe­bru­ary 25.

So what speed are you go­ing to sit on?

My bike runs real com­fort­able at 204 km/h. It be­haves re­ally well, and I don’t get a lot of buf­fet­ing on my hel­met at those speeds.

I’ve had it up to 155 [km/h], and it’ll float there just fine, but it’s a bat­tle. You get this neg­a­tive pres­sure be­hind your head, and you get a speed wob­ble in your head. It’s just not a com­fort­able speed over a long ride.

So I’m shoot­ing for around the 133 km/h mark.

I just want to give my­self a lit­tle bit of room in case we need to work on the bike, but I think that’s where I’ll keep it.

My bike’s get­ting a lit­tle old now, I think it’s got about 27 000 miles [43 452 km] on it, so I don’t want to push it too hard, ei­ther. If BMW wants to spon­sor me with a new bike, I’ll gladly go break it in be­fore the run!

What tyres are you us­ing for some­thing like this?

I’m us­ing Con­ti­nen­tal Road At­tack 2s, EVO GT, be­cause they re­cently won an award for wet trac­tion.

There’s a 30% chance of overnight rain and 39° F [4° C] is the weather pre­dic­tion as it stands now for Satur­day night. I’ve got to be ready for some slick sur­faces.

One of the things I found out by go­ing down there was that it’s very coarse.

The track is a very aged sur­face.

It may be on pur­pose, so Con­ti­nen­tal can scrub tyres and see how they’re gonna wear, and what kind of longevity they can get out of them.

But that’s one thing that’s not go­ing to ben­e­fit me, be­cause it’s go­ing to re­quire that I do a cou­ple of tyre changes to deal with that tex­ture.

What sort of tank range will have?

About 644 km at triple digit speeds. As for his own tank, Reese will snack on a hand­fuls of peanuts, and has purged his body of caf­feine in the lead-up to the ride so that half a cup of Java will recharge him when fa­tigue sets in af­ter about the 16- or 17-hour mark. — New At­las.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Amer­i­can Carl Reese (left) will at­tempt to break the long dis­tance rid­ing record in 24 hours, cur­rently held by Pi­eter­mar­itzburg’s Bushy McKelvey (right).

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