Carl Reese, Sebastian Montero set record in Ecuador
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Posted by: Carl Reese (press release)
Professional endurance driver Carl Reese of Santa Clarita, California and Sebastian Montero of Quito, Ecuador set a new world record for riding on motorcycles from the closest point on Earth to the sun to an elevation at sea-level in a single day. After President of Ecuador Rafael Correa and Minister of the Interior of Ecuador José Serrano tweeted about Reese’s eighth world record attempt, the tweets became the top tweets in South America.
Ecuador is the only place on Earth where Reese and Montero’s world record can be accomplished, as the country is home to Chimborazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador. While Chimborazo (20,548 ft) is not the highest mountain by elevation above sea-level, its location along the equatorial bulge makes its summit the closest point on Earth’s surface to the sun. Soft-spoken, self-effacing yet utterly focused, 47 year old Reese took his quest to the highest echelons of the Ecuadorian Government to gain permission to scale Chimborazo, on two wheels.
A record that's not likely to be repeated anytime soon; Chimborazo, the highest mountain in the country, is off-limits to motorcycles. Quite rightly so, in case of a crash or break down help isn't likely to arrive anytime soon.
Minister Serrano granted Reese and his team special access to Chimborazo and the duo travelled from the closest point on Earth to the sun to the finish line at Canoa Beach Hotel, a location in Ecuador located at sea-level. The two motorcyclist reached a gain/loss in elevation of 56,678 feet during their endeavor.
Before daybreak, the record-setting team rallied at Gas Motors in Cumbayá (Quito) where Minister Serrano presided over the world record attempt’s opening ceremonies. With the street lined for two blocks with uniformed officers, a marching band played as Reese and Montero were led by a national police motorcade to the starting line atop Chimborazo. Twelve hours before the planned departure, disaster struck. Reese became ill and severely dehydrated. Refusing to accept defeat so close to the goal, it was suggested that Montero ride alongside Reese to keep an eye on his condition. Due to the extremely high elevation the air is very thin.
Multiply fatigue by illness, then subtract oxygen equals an incredible feat of stamina and determination. The two became fast friends as they maneuvered their motorcycles along jagged cloud-forest peaks and hairpin bends, traveling from the snow-capped Andes through a lush, green, tropical landscape to the finish line near the Pacific Ocean. Although the day was fraught with challenges, the men formed a tight team and faced each problem head-on. Despite obstacles, delays and the great distance to the finish line, the men completed their journey in just 17 hours, finishing at 10:22 pm – only two hours later than expected.
“Turning back was not an option, if I can stand I will ride” said Reese. “I would have pushed the motorcycle the last 85 miles if I needed to.”
Reese and Montero embarked on this record-setting ride to bring awareness to the Coalition of Hope Foundation’s efforts to rebuild Ecuador after the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake this past April. On a tour, led by Minister Serrano’s staff, Reese witnessed and learned about the heart breaking aftermath of the earthquake, including the loss of over 650 lives and 26,000 homes.
“Seeing the destruction that the earthquake caused was an emotionally overwhelming experience,” says Reese. “The challenge of setting endurance records is nothing compared to what the people of this region have had to endure during this rebuilding process. All the people from Ecuador who I have talked to have managed to stay positive despite the grief surrounding them and that is truly inspiring.”
In addition to bringing attention to the Ecuadorian earthquake victims in need, this record attempt was an effort to increase awareness of the Motorcycle Relief Project, a 501.3 (c) charity that provides relief to combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and other injuries. Reese and his fiancée, Deena Mastracci, have set multiple transcontinental records to bring awareness to the Motorcycle Relief Project.
As in his previous world record attempts, Reese carried an American flag gifted to him by retired veteran and friend, SFC Rod Hawk, for good luck. The flag originally flew in Iraq and was presented to Hawk for his accomplishments during the war. Reese, who has also served in the army, said “I carry the flag as a reminder of the Motorcycle Relief Project, a major reason why I set these endurance records.”
The trip was captured on film by Brad Barker, of Epic Nomad Productions, and will be featured on Barker’s YouTube channel, “The Ride of My Life.” Barker is an Emmy Award-winning producer based in southern California who has worked on Discovery®, History Channel® and several documentaries. Barker was instrumental in putting this project together.
The 2016 BMW 1200 GS that Reese rode was on loan from a member of Brosters Group – BMW Motorrad Club Ecuador, Dr. Sergio Vallejo Rojas. Though relatively new, the bike had been involved in a low speed crash weeks before the record attempt which left Reese with a bike that had not been fully repaired. Brosters Group - BMW Motorrad Club Ecuador, provided pre-trip logistics coordination and on-road support for the team throughout the day.