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