A Brit on a 1969 Triumph Trident with a 1974 Windjammer visits 48 states in 11 days in the 2011 Iron Butt Rally

Monday, June 20, 2011, 9:30 AM, Seattle, Washington: Minutes before departure, John seems to be wondering what he is getting himself into.
John Young likes his old Triumph Triples
Willie-Dog-Vetter provided security.
John Young is very much involved with Triumph Triples in the UK
John has the Son of Sam
Now John is riding his 1969 Triumph T150 with a 1974 Vetter Windjammer III fairing in the BIG Iron Butt Rally across the USA.

48 states in 11 days. 11,000 miles. Sonia, John's wife, takes pictures. Event organizer, Mike Kneebone smiles.

John had the only "kick start" motorcycle there and drew a crowd to see how it was done. Two kicks and it fired.

He has a factory Triple Road racer and he has a Hurricane.

John Young was in first place for about 5 minutes
John on his 42 year old Triumph was the first rider out - on a trip that will take him from Seattle to Buffalo to Jacksonville to Ontario, CA.
Friday, June 24: John completed his first leg from Seattle to Buffalo, arriving inside his alloted time window. It seems that his biggest problem has been that he lost his big yellow UK license plate somewhere in Missouri when his chain let go and tore it off... in the rain... in the dark. This caused some delays from interested state troopers.

Sunday night, June 26: Carol reported to friends waiting to help in Jacksonville: "He is stopping for the night in Savannah. He is exhausted. His plan is to be at the hotel in Jacksonville by 8:30 a.m. Apparently he cannot leave the bike when it is being worked on. He can have help (that's you) but he needs to be there, so he is going to just nap on the ground while you all do what you do. Sonia says he does this all the time....

Oh and he hopes you found the right oil..... silly man"

John arriving at the Jacksonville Florida checkpoint

First words out of John's mouth: "This was a mistake"

Monday, June 27: "I think he's lost weight" (first words from his wife's mouth)

"The Windjammer looks good" (first words out of my mouth)

Left: Chris Alley, Wiz of Mercedes-Benz (ret) and long-time motorcyclist, knows everything about working on bikes and cars. Brought all tools in his van, including tire changing equipment.

Right: Val Horton, Experienced and skilled engineer, racer and wrench. From South Africa, so he speaks British!

Bill Robinson of Jacksonville, ( "B7" to his friends ) says: "Craig, these are two of the finest and most dependable guys I know, and I am confident that John will be in very good hands. I'll get down to the Ramada Inn as soon as I can to see if John needs anything else." "Our guys will take good care of him."

"Our guys" it turns out, are the organizers of the fabulous Riding Into History Charity and Concours held in Jacksonville.

Setting up Shop at the Ramada Inn

Hatching a plan
Look at all the tools they brought!
Val reported that they changed his tire, changed his chain and gapped his new plugs at .025". They changed his oil, and then proceeded to tell us all about it. In Val's own words:

"The prudent choice of 20W-50 Semi-Synthetic oil by John was drained and visually & physically examined .. it was slightly brown tinged by normal piston/ring blow-by of carbon soot and other post-combustion products that was limited and controlled by good piston & bore fit & assembly and original good quality component/s selection.
Normal low oxidation with this type of semi-syn oil was evidenced but generally the drained oil was in excellent shape and relatively clean with NO ferrous, non-ferrous or other deposits and good for another 3,000 miles plus no problem in my opinion - crankcase ventilation and +/- pressure control was excellent."

They found loose bolts and screws everywhere and re-torqued them all. They replaced broken sprocket bolts. These guys are good!

Val continued: "I have met John's relentless, never-quit hard driving spirit & un-assuming attitude on the MX Race Track and Rugby Field . Come Hell or High Water John will succeed without any sweat."

June 28, 9:PM: As I write - 8 days into the trip - John is in Arkansas, heading for California!

July 1, Friday, 3:30 AM: Ontario, California: He made it!

What are these people doing up at 3:30 in the morning?
They are welcoming the arriving Iron Butt Rally Riders, of course. One by one, exhausted riders straggle in. John had arrived!

Sonia and Carol are so relieved. This has been hard on them, too.

Does this give you an idea of how he felt? We are all so proud of John!
July 1, 2011: After a restful one-hour sleep, John was ready for visitors. Don Emde and Rob North were among the first to stop by to congratulate him.
Don and Rob attended the Beezumph 1971 Trans-Atlantic Match Reunion in 2009
July 1, 6 PM: The big Awards Banquet began:
Right off, Bob Higdon, Brilliant Butt Spokesman introduced himself as Sally. Seems that at the beginning of the Rally in Seattle, he was heard to say:

"If that bike makes it out of the parking lot, you can call me Sally"

Sally - back to us in the grey - and and Lisa on stage present John with his awards.

The prize: Obtainable only by madness... the Iron Butt Rally License Plate Holder.

The extra-ordinarily generous James Phillips donated this 1974 Windjammer III, serial number 09-119311, from his collection of Vetter fairings. John simply could not find a Windjammer in the UK. Notice the opaque windshield. It started out clear but got this way between Kayenta and Flagstaff, AZ in some of the worst sand storms people could remember. John will be shipping his Iron Butt Rally bike home to England where it will be parked and retired alongside his other Triumph Triples. He wants to leave it "as it was" in the USA.

Evolution of the Vetter Fairing: 1973 to 2011

That old Windjammer III did its job. Maybe the Iron Butt Rally of 2013 will award points for consuming less fuel. Maybe we will be there with a purpose-designed Challenger.

August 11, 2011: They have come to take it home. I made it very clear that nobody was to touch this bike or wipe it off. Every bug had a story. The amazing thing is that it did not leak oil while it was parked at my shop!
Uh oh... John tells us that he will be back in 2013 to ride the American Iron Butt again.
Posted June 23, 2011

Updated Dec 25, 2011