Carl Reese's world record attempt for the furthest distance covered in 24 hours came to a screeching halt after just 22 hours, 52 minutes when his mechanic Jay Carlson looked at his shagged rear tire and told him "you're done."
Reese had expected the abrasive surface of the Continental Tire Proving Grounds in Uvalde, Texas, to be tough on rubber, but he didn't expect the road to destroy his full stock of tires – two fronts and four rears, all Continental Road Attack 2 EVO GTs.
But that's what you get with a rough surface, combined with high speeds on a powerful, heavy motorcycle like the BMW K1600GT.
So, with an hour and a bit left on the clock, Reese was forced to pull the pin on his record attempt … And only smash the existing record by a whopping 93 miles.
Sitting on an average speed around 90 miles per hour, and peaking at 141 mph, Reese covered an astonishing 2,119 miles (3,410 km) with an hour to spare. He has now written himself into the Guinness Book of Records, after a long after-hours career setting Cannonball-style road distance records that organizations like Guinness won't touch.
Evidently, the painstaking preparations Reese undertook in the lead-up to the attempt paid off. Sitting relatively still on a fast-moving motorcycle for 23 hours, without so much as a decent corner to turn on the slightly banked, 8.5-mile track, is not only incredibly boring and repetitive, but physically painful and dangerous.
We caught up with Carl to chat about the attempt:
How'd it go? Anything unexpected happen?
Well, during a 3am practice run the day before a 125-pound wild pig ran out in front of me at 150 mph! I pulled over into the pit and changed my "drawers," haha! The track has fencing but it doesn't keep out pigs, rabbits, bobcats or raccoons. I avoided what I could, but 3 rabbits... They weren't so lucky.
Then, the day of the attempt I blew thru four rear and two front Continental tires. The track surface is designed for wearing tires out, not racing. It's decomposed asphalt and it's as coarse as 20 grit sand paper.
Any memorable moments?
A couple things stand out. During the event I was testing a prototype suit for First Gear USA; I can't remember ever being so comfortable in a wide range of weather.
But after a complete day of doing 100 mph in a circle, the fatigue started to really hit me at the 19-20 hour mark. It took extreme concentration to filter out the pareidolia. When your mind gets this tired, you look at things like fog and perceive it to be a concrete wall.
Endurance drivers refer to it as "seeing dragons." Mind you other than two cups of coffee, I didn't have any stimulants. This is a natural phenomenon when the brain is tired. These are the hours you focus on the task and nothing else.
How many people were on your team, and how did they help out?
We had a remarkable team of ten volunteers. Deena Mastracci, Glenn Stasky, Ryan Sorensen, Jay Carson, Darlene Stasky, Dan Clark, William Rugemick, Hank Arriazola, Thomas Fisher and Steven Brown. These volunteers worked through the event helping with everything including pitstops.
Most had never met each other. Dan Clark and Steven Brown, both veterans, I'd only met through Facebook. But both worked on the pit crew as if we'd known each other for years.
How'd you go with tyres?
Twenty-two hours into the record attempt ride, Jay Carson, my mechanic, inspected my last tire and told me unequivocally "you're done!" He made it very clear through the tone in his voice he was willing to punch me in the face if I tried to go back out there on a smoked tire.
I begged to do two more laps at the speed limit. The team agreed to let me have my victory laps, with an hour and 18 minutes to go on the clock. I pulled out of the pits with Glenn shouting "at California speed limits, not Texas limits!"
Did you expect to break the record by such a huge margin?
Honestly, I really wanted to break 2800 miles in 24 hours. I think we can do it. However our small budget didn't allow additional tires. I think I maxed out every credit card I have on this one. If a bike manufacturer ever wants to sponsor me, our team could really lay down some records for for them. Harley Davidson, Lightning Motorcycles, Motus, Honda... Call me!
How'd you feel physically after you got done?
I was wiped out. I barely remember the drive back to the hotel. I crawled into bed and slept for 4 hours before driving back to the track to clean up, load the bike and drive the 17 hours back home to Los Angeles. I had to be at work Tuesday, so I drove the rented van straight thru solo.
You're mad. What's next?
I've really got to pay down the credit cards, so I'm looking to sell the record setting bike. I'm seeking a manufacturer that wants to set some records. As I said, I'd love to crush 2800 miles in 24 hours. It may have to wait.
I have something planned for this fall. I can't talk about it yet, but we'll probably use the same Continental proving ground track down in Texas.
I can't believe you'd ever want to do another lap of that thing!
Though this run was difficult, with the dietary restrictions, planning, practice, sleep deprivation, wild animals and other dangers of running 100 mph for nearly 24 hours, honestly it was nothing compared to the dangers our veterans and the sacrifices their families endure.
The whole reason I set these records is to bring awareness to combat veterans charity "Motorcycle Relief Project" 501.3 (c) that helps vets that struggle with PTSD and other injuries. Fine organizations like this have great programs to let our veterans know we appreciate those sacrifices, and we all care! Hopefully through this Guinness record coverage, vets will learn of the program and sign up!
More information: Carl Reese