Apr 29, 2001
It has been a while, but it seems like yesterday.

Day 1, 2000 miles to go. Vegas to Mesquite, this was supposed to be the easiest day. At the start see 2 Kia's entered, one has a pair of skis on top, and a guy with a 2 foot tall pink mo-hawk driving ( understand he is a very well known extreme skier). I have no clue how he got the helmet on. About 50 miles out our bike (KX-500) quits. Rider changes plug, and all is ok. The plug gap is smashed shut? Show the Kawasaki guys, they shrug their shoulders. Pull the seat and check airfilter, bolt fell off and washer is gone. Kawasaki factory guys jump into action. Tear down top end, find half of a washer sheared by piston, in power valve. We change tires, and bleed brakes, and it takes then 30 min to rebuild our topend. These guys are great. In impound 5 min early, time for the hotel. Hotel has only one room for 8 of us (the guy who planned this was too cheap to get 2 rooms). Lucky me, I have his credit card and get us 2 more rooms. Oh yeah, in first place in our class.

Day 2 Mesquite to Ely. Bike runs great, pretty uneventful day. Still in first after day 2. Still have only one hotel room booked, and this time it has only 1 king bed. Check in time, the guy is clearly flustered. He asks the race team name, and can not find our reservation. He asks me how many rooms we had booked, I say 2. He asks about beds, I say doubles. He gives us keys and sends us on our way.

Day 3 Ely to Elko. Pretty tired this morning, only about 8 hours sleep in the last 3 days. At the first pit the team in second comes in before us, they are in first now. 5 min later an ironman expert comes in and lets us know our rider is hurt bad. News is he could not start the bike or pull the clutch. This great guy started it, set him back on it, pulled in the clutch, and ran along side so our guy could get moving. 5 more min and here he comes. We get him off and a new rider on, and find a medic. Diagnosis broken ribs...I take him back 100 miles to ELY to a hospital. New diagnosis, Cracked sternum, broken clavical, broken ribs, punctured lungs (yes both lungs). Lungs collapsing, possible hole in heart. Okay, this is looking pretty bad. A flight team is summoned from Salt Lake City. It did not really hit me until they cut him for the chest tube. After the air escaped from his chest, the blood came. Shooting out like a bad horror flick. Not to worry, that is why nurses have fingers, she shoved it in to the 2nd nuckle. A lot af screaming by my buddy was the result, I'll bet that hurt. He is on his way to SLC, and I'm going on to Elko. The day started at 4am, I arrive in Elko at 8pm. Down 1 rider, and 2 pit support people ahad to go home. Now there are 2 riders and 3 pit people (and Kawasaki factory support, these guys were great).

Day4, Elko to Reno. My day started off with a 6 hour drive to my first pit. Lucky for me I am 2 hours early and get a nap. Today our race went pretty good, just taking it easy and trying to finish. Winning is no longer in our vocabulary, just finish. Kawasaki has a bad day, Destry gets lost. Apparentlly while leading the event overall, The king of the Desert Destry Abbott crashes very hard. In second place is the undisputed king of Baja (undisputed because Kawasaki doesn't race there any more), Johnny Campbell. Johnny passes the crashed Destry without stopping, a big no no. You have to see if the downed rider is okay, even if you are big red JC. The downed rider was not okay, and was apparently lost in the desert for quite some time. He supposedly got back on the bike, with a major concussion and rode off the trail to places unknown. Thank god the big truck teams have helecopters. The mood with team green is now very somber. We finish the day still in second, 15 or 20 min back. The good news, there is a swingers convention at the Reno Hilton, where we were staying. Swinger guys still look like Larry on threes company, but swinger women WOW. They were naked all over the hotel, but we need our sleep, time to head back south tomorrow.

Day 5. Reno to Tonopah. Spirits are up on our team, we are almost home. Still riding with 2 riders, taking it easy just want to finish. I go to the third pit. We are supposed to change riders here later in the day. Unfortunattly the rider does not make it in time, and the guy on the bike must continue. I think I saw a tear in his eye when I told him. He was beat, for the team 20 min in front of us had a flat tire 10 or 15 miles back. They were limping the bike through the rocks, and would have to change the tire. We finish in front of them, but do not know the time diff. Only one day to go, we are gonna finish. Me and one of the riders decide we don't need sleep near as much as we need the overall times. Are we still in second, how much time did they lose with the flat. At midnight we get the results. After 5 days and about 1750 miles of desert we are tied to the second with the other contender in our class. Good news we have 2 hours to sleep.
BTW, Tonopah has the prettiest waitresses i have ever seen, even after the scene at the Hilton I was impressed.

Day 6 Tonopah to Parumph. Win is now the only word in our vocabulary. Last night I finally spoke with our fallen comrad in SLC. No hole in heart, and only 1 punctured lung...good news, he will live. He will even make it back to Vegas for the trophy ceremony. This is supposed to be the nastiest rock day yet. We decide on two rider changes, as the guy who starts the day is the one who will ride across the finish. 20 miles from the end we set up in a pit to do the change. Good news we are in front of out competition, but strange where are the riders visor and goggles, and what is with the 100ft piece of roll off film wrapped around the bike.. Apparentlly he crashed in one of those mesmorized moments that happen at 75mph in the rocks. He crashed so hard he lost which direction he was supposed to be going. Dust on the horizon showed him the way. And how did it all come out.......

We won our class, 30+ amature. Also the first Kawasaki across the line.

This was truley the adventure of a lifetime, and I will never forget it.

Steve (our rider) recovered fully from his injuries, and also can boast the worst injury of the race.

Destry recovered from his injuries, and JC is still a squid for not stopping.

Team Green will always be my heros, especially that big tall guy who started our KX-500, while it was on the stand. He was standing on the right side of the bike facing back and just kicked it and it started.

To all of the racers who participated, wow what a great time. We were all one big family (squids like JC not included). Anybody needed anything, and everyone helped. It was all about getting the family (everyone racing) to the finish. I hope BITD does this again someday.

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