Billings, Mont., Sept. 19—The first day after the only day of rest for the group brought long miles, cooler weather, and an upset in standings. Most riders spent the day off the road wrenching and prepping for higher elevations and more grueling miles, so there was no rest for the already weary travelers as they journeyed across Wyoming and Montana’s Big Horn Mountains and past the Custer Battlefield National Monument before arriving at Beartooth Harley-Davidson for an evening dinner in the parking lot in Billings, Montana. The group will spend the next two days traveling across the Big Sky State.
The day’s big news was that Chris Tribbey’s little Excelsior “that could” decided to take a break by throwing an exhaust valve early in the day and finished with 149 miles out of the 299 routed. First-time competitor Chris Tribbey has slipped to 66th place, leaving Dean Bordigioni, a four-time racer, as the only Century-old classification, Class 1 rider with a perfect score. Also moving up in rank is Byrne Bramwell in second, Fred Wacker in third, and the always-smiling Andrea Labarbara in fourth place. It is, of course, still anybody’s game since things change quickly along the back roads and there’s no predicting what might happen. Other riders who suffered engine catastrophes are #22, Jeff Lauritsen, who is on his second engine and wrenching to get back on the road after 130, #20 from Connecticut, Denis Sharon, who held a perfect score until the engine of his 1016 H-D seized after 129 miles, and everyone’s favorite Georgia rider, Doug Jones, who came off the road after 137. We’ll keep an eye out for them all at the green flag as riders head out for Stage 11.
Also being watched closely will be rider #15, Mike Carson. After he and his son Buck were involved in a crash back in Indiana, Carson has been nursing several broken ribs, a broken clavicle and is in need of surgery. Early on he announced that he would ride again after the day of rest, despite doctors’ orders, and the news that he was out of the race was published here. That was proven quite wrong during Stage 10 after Carson arrived at the finish line with a perfect score of all 299 miles. Never say never.
Stage 11 is predicted to be cold and wet and will involve 248 miles before riders pull into Big Sky Harley-Davidson in Great Falls for a hosted dinner, so come on out and cheer the road warriors on. Who knows what the day will bring!