Report: Magic 12 Belgium Rally 2019

I guess the Iron Butt Association (or IBA) doesn’t need a big introduction? Their most talked-about long-distance rally is the Iron Butt Rally in the States (11 days long!) but also elsewhere rallies are being organized regularly since you can find IBA’s in South Africa, India, Brazil and Australia and Germany. And it’s the latter who organized the Magic 12 Belgium Rally on a Saturday this September.

The format of a Magic 12 Rally: collect as many points as possible in a maximum of 12 hours by visiting predefined locations. The Germans wanted to do something exotic and decided to do a rally in Belgium. Even as an IBA rookie I thought: home match! On top of that BMW lent me a 1250 RT (my opinion about it at the bottom of this article), so 12 hours of riding shouldn’t be a big issue.

The preparation

Five days before the start, each participant received a file with all locations (77 in total) and the rallybook. In addition to some explanation about the rally, the rallybook contained more information about the locations.

It was impossible to visit all 77 locations in 12 hours, so you had to plan a route. A route that got you a high score preferably.

Every location had a certain amount of points (from 190 to 3,450 points) and a photo assignment. Because of course you had to prove that you had actually been on the claimed locations.

Usually the photo assignment was something like: take a picture of this building or that view, but there were also some special assignments. For example, to claim the 3,450 points location, you had to walk to a statue and take a photo. A 3.4 km walk to be precise!

Also an obligatory element in every picture: the rally flag (which you could print at home) with your starting number (which you only got the evening before the start).

In addition to the points per location, you could score extra points by collecting combos. A number of locations where grouped thematically, for example Statues, Beer and Borders. The more locations of a combo you visited, the higher your extra score.

Feeling a bit stressed when you hear you should plot a route with all that info? Grab a stress ball, ‘cause there’s more! Three days before departure we received the “minimum requirements” in our mailbox: six groups of 24 locations in total. Per group you had to visit at least one location of your choice. Again there was a theme: Flanders, Wallonia, Brussels, Dutch-speaking, French-speaking and German-speaking. Skipping one group would result in 5,000 penalty points. If you missed two, you were disqualified, or DNF (did not finish) in IBA jargon.

With all that info, I could start setting up a route. The Street Art combo drew my attention: this combo had the most locations but also the highest score. If I did all ten locations, I’d receive a bonus of 12,000 points.

So I loaded the locations into MyRouteApp: visiting all ten street art locations in 12 hours wouldn’t be Continue reading