Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Video Review: Hard Miles 2, The 2009 Iron Butt Rally

The Iron Butt Rally is by its very nature impossible for spectators to follow. Not even the riders know where they’re headed on each leg before the route sheets are given out, and in order to beat them there and be on hand when they arrived you’d have to be better riders than they are—and if you were, you’d be riding the Rally yourself. Hard Miles 2 gets you as close as you’re ever going to get to a front-row seat at the 2009 Iron Butt Rally.

The men and women who take part in what’s called the world’s toughest motorcycle competition come from all over the world to vie for little more than a trophy and the admiration of a small group of riders who are similarly afflicted with long-distance fever, the primary symptom of which is a compulsion to ride, on average, 1,000 miles per day for 11 days straight.

Hard Miles 2 introduces you to a cross-section of IBR riders, ranging from the Big Dogs—legends who are to the close-knit long-distance community what Rossi and Lorenzo are to MotoGP fans—to entrants in the aptly named Hopeless Class, two of whom set out on a pair of 1976 Suzuki RE5 rotaries, commemorating the RE5 that tied for first place in the first Iron Butt Rally held in 1984.

You’ll also go behind the scenes to see how the riders plan the intricate routes that take them to the greatest number of high-point bonuses in the least amount of time, a process that sometimes ends in heartbreak—imagine riding thousands of miles to reach a high-point bonus location only to arrive two minutes too late, and ride away empty-handed.

As the 2009 Iron Butt Rally reaches the final stages, Hard Miles 2 narrows its focus to the four riders with the best chance of winning. Even if you don’t fully appreciate the appeal of long-distance riding, you’ll feel the thrill of the competition as, with the clock running out after 11 days and thousands of miles, it all comes down to the last few hours.

Filmmaker Dean Tanji, himself an Iron Butt Rally veteran, solved the spectator problem by riding a camera bike, and stationing camera crews at selected bonus locations. The footage from the road, as well as rider interviews shot during the Rally, take the viewers of Hard Miles 2 where no spectator has ever gone before.

Special features include a history of the first Iron Butt Rally in 1984, and video introductions of all of the riders in the 2009 IBR. Hard Miles 2 and Hard Miles, the story of the 2007 Iron Butt Rally, are available separately or as a set here. —Jerry Smith

UPDATE from Dean Tanji:

The World Premiere of Hard Miles 2 takes place this Saturday in Santa Ana, CA. In conjunction with this event, we are producing a live webcast of the “Hard Miles 2 Red Carpet Walk and Interviews”. This will take place at 7:00 PM PST at this web address:

We will be interviewing all 2009 IBR riders who attend the Premiere. These include: Jim Owen (1), Greg Marbach (5), Mike Hutsel (6), Wendy Crockett (27), BB Neely (29), the Sperry’s (32), Dave Biasotti (42), Terry Neale (45), Jerry White (48), Winston Oxley (56), Doug Webb (63) and Tom Loftus (68). Eric Jewell (3) and Bob Lilley (8) are maybe’s.

We will also talk with Lisa Landry, Iron Butt Rally Master who will talk about the Iron Butt National Meeting and the up coming IBR5000.

Please pass this info of the live webcast info to all interested people. We want as many watching as possible.

Dean Tanji
Producer, Hard Miles 2 


  1. A family reunion prevents me from attending the premiere on Saturday. Maybe I can make it home for the webcast.

  2. I was in Spokane for the finish of the 2009 IBR. Watching Hard Miles 2 took me right back to the that September morning. Owen and Earl have ridden so hard and fought so honorably it really was a shame not to be able to declare a tie. Tanji's upped his technical game and the story is great. I'm biased, but I think this is a must see for anyone remotely interested in the inner workings of the Iron Butt Rally and its riders.