I spent this weekend helping to marshal the Royal British Legion Riders branch 1000 mile SaddleSore event, the fourth time it's been run raising funds for the British Legion's Poppy Appeal.
The idea is that motorcycle riders, mostly but not exclusively members of the RBLR branch of the British Legion, ride one of two designated 1000 mile routes within Great Britain (either clockwise or anticlockwise, so four possible routes) within a maximum of 36 hours to gain an RBLR1000 certificate or within a maximum of 24 hours to gain both an RBLR1000 certificate and an Iron Butt Association SaddleSore certificate.
The event starts and finishes at Squires Cafe Bar in North Yorkshire and the photo above shows the group of about 100 ready for the off at 0500 Saturday The other half left at staggered times up to 0800 Saturday. Us marshals then went back to our tents to sleep for a bit followed by breakfast in the cafe or the other way round.
The fastest allowable completion time was 17 hours and the first rider duly appeared at 2201 Saturday night - President of IBA UK, Phil Weston - and the riders continued to arrive throughout the night and Sunday morning.
The weather in Kingsley was not typical of conditions elsewhere in the country; Cornwall, northwest England, Scotland and northeast England were virtually underwater for most of the time the riders were out. They were possibly the worst conditions in which Iron Butt rides have ever been completed; one of the riders left this comment in the discussion forum "I had some new experiences I'd like to share: 1) Buffalo waterproof gloves do what they say, they did not lose one drop of the approx 1.5ltrs of water trapped within each of them. 2) Cool crisp Scottish rain trickling down your crotch combined with 100mph wind chill factor, becomes so much less pleasant after 13 hours, more so than one would ever imagine. 3) I have NEVER felt rain on my arms through a thick HG jacket, two jumpers and vest. 4) I have never had a bike aqua plane with both wheels at the same time. 5) I have never had water knock my feet of bike pegs."but he summarised it as "Awesome, loved it!"
More than 130 of the riders gained IBA certificates by completing the ride within 24 hours. Total funds raised won't be known for a while yet but last year it raised more than £32,000 and this year is expected to raise considerably more.