IBA Rally Flags 101

Rally Flag 101

Iron Butt Logo Since the Florida Mountain 1000 is using rally style documentation and we have so many riders testing the waters moving up from a traditional receipt based ride, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss the history and purpose of the rally flag.

Rally flags were created so that riders could document, with a photo instead of a receipt where none were available, for example a roadside view of the Grand Canyon, that they had reached a bonus or documentation point after a certain point in time.

Rally flags were never meant to be particuliar easy for riders to use and have become a form of entertainment for the peanut gallery with tales of flags blown away, left behind or just plain forgotten and lost (until in a panic, the rider found out it was missing 300 miles later). And that is just the start of the sad tale of the rally flag. Riders have ridden thousands of miles and forgotten to put it in the photo, not noticed the wind caught it and folded it over erasing the identifying marks or missed the shot was so out of focus that you could not see the unique number assigned to you. And then there is the danger of putting your flag on private property - never do that - they have gotten seized and stories of riders begging for their flag back are legendary.

The idea is to NOT let any of that happen to you

The Florida Mountain 1000 flags are 16" wide by 14" tall with 4 grommets at the corners. The grommets are there so you can secure the lightweight (that is the key here, they weigh almost nothing) and take the required photo. It is both a pain in the butt and a test of your patience!

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Don't let this happen to you!

The first thing you need to do after reading this is to go buy a set of at least 8 mini bungee cords so that you can secure your flag to your motorcycle as needed to take photos. There are other methods, weights, clips, wire and rope, but for the Florida Mountain 1000 a set of bungee cords will do.

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Cletha Walstrand uses sturdy plastic clips you can add two bungee cords as needed for windy days.

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John Tubb's set up, when he opens his trunk the flag pops up, he grabs the picture and runs!

Before you leave a documentation stop or bonus, you need to reread the requirement to document the stop before you leave! For example:

#3 - Beatty, Nevada N36 56.389 W116 43.447

Take a picture of the abandoned plane.

You could try to mount your flag on the plane, but that is always a bad idea, it is private property, instead, your motorcycle can serve as a good place to hold your flag and the more you use it, the more you will get good at creative ways to mount it.

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This photo meets all the requirements of the bonus, we can see your flag number (1200), enough of the flag graphic to know it is an IBA flag for this event, and the bonus in the background.

Rally flags really are a fun challenge and make a great keepsake that will last many years and hopefully be the center of many great stories for years to come. But keep in mind these few simple steps. And on the Florida Mountain 1000, the good news is if you lose yours, you can stand in front of the documentation point and have someone take your picture.


© 2011, Iron Butt Association, Chicago, Illinois

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