Carl Reese Sets Another Motorcycle World Record in Ecuador

Carl Reese and Sebastian Montero atop Chimborazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador, as they prepared to set out on their record-setting ride to the ocean. (Photos: Carl Reese)
Carl Reese and Sebastian Montero atop Chimborazo, the highest mountain in Ecuador, as they prepared to set out on their record-setting ride to the ocean. (Photos: Carl Reese)

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.

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.

This is a record that’s not likely to be repeated anytime soon; Chimborazo is off-limits to motorcycles, for good reason. In the case of a crash or breakdown, help isn’t likely to arrive anytime soon. Minister of the Interior José  Serrano granted Reese and his team special access to the mountain. The finish line was the Canoa Beach Hotel, a location in Ecuador located at sea level. The two motorcyclists achieved a gain/loss in elevation of 56,678 feet during their endeavor.

The world record attempt almost didn’t happen, as twelve hours before the planned departure, Reese became ill and severely dehydrated. Refusing to accept defeat so close to the goal, it was suggested that Montego, a local rider and businessman, ride alongside Reese to keep an eye on his condition.

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Minister of the Interior Serrano with Carl Reese as they prepare to leave on the ride.
Minister of the Interior Serrano with Carl Reese as they prepare to leave on the ride.

Before daybreak, the team gathered 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. The two 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.”

The record-setting ride was held to bring awareness to the Coalition of Hope Foundation’s efforts to rebuild Ecuador after the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake this past April. More than 650 lives were lost and 26,000 homes destroyed.

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 “invisible” 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.”

 

7 COMMENTS

  1. Am I missing something? They are NOT at the top of the mountain (which is roughly 20,594 feet – 6,260 meters tall). The parking area sign does seem to say 6,300 meters (can’t make it out), but that is saying the top of the mountain.is 6,300 meters, not the point.where the photo is taken.

    So the first question is, what is the actual elevation they ended the ride at?

    • As we understand it, they started their ride at the “top” of the mountain (likely just where the road tops out, not at the actual peak) and rode down to finish at sea level. Hence the record: “From the Closest Place on Earth to the Sun, to the Sea in a Single Day on a Motorcycle.” Quite a mouthful.

      • Thank you for the follow up. Unfortunately, this is a bit of exaggeration on their part (wait, this is a LOT of exaggeration). According to his own sat-tracking page and it looks like from the photo, they were NOT at the top of the mountain, they are at the end of the limited access road – about 5,000 feet below the top of the mountain. This is the equivalent to saying you rode to the top of Mt Saint Helens (8,366 feet) when you rode to the end of the road at Windy Ridge (about 4,000 feet).

        That then has to make you want to do the calculations to see if Khardungla Pass – 18,380 feet (which is not even the highest pass in India but the one most people ride to that is easily accessible) is equal to being at around 15,200 feet (most likely elevation he was at) at the equator. The time of year would matter, as the sun is (effectively) farther north in June, so in June it is possible those riders on Khardungla are closer to the sun then someone at the end of the road like they were in September at their actual starting location on Chimborazo. An interesting celestial calculation there.

        I know you are just rehashing a press release, but this one is a bit out there to not call them on it, certainly while claiming a record, the claim should be technically correct as they were not on top of the mountain or close to it from what the sat tracking and photos show.

        • We presented your questions to Carl, and his response is as follows:

          “Chimborazo because of its position on the equator (One degree south from the Equator) is closer to the sun than Mt. Everest or any passes in India. Chimborazo sticks more than 7,096 feet farther into space than any of the Himalayas do, since they’re located thousands of miles north of the Equator. With our bikes positioned at 15,997 ft and accounting for the equatorial bulge (+7096 ft) at Chimborazo, that roughly puts our team just 5926 ft lower than the peak of Mt. Everest in relationship to the distance from the sun.

          The summit of the Chimborazo is the fixed point on Earth that has the utmost distance from the center – because of the oblate spheroid shape of the planet Earth, which is “thicker” around the Equator than measured around the poles. Everest (29,029 ft) above sea level, nearly 27.6° north, with sea level also elevated. Despite being (8,481 ft) lower in elevation above sea level, it is (3,967.1 mi) from the Earth’s center, (7,096 ft) farther than the summit of Everest (3,965.8 mi) from the Earth’s center. Because of it’s unique positioning it makes it the prime place to put an adventure motorcycle the closest distance from the sun here on earth. Our team road higher up Chimborazo that anyone in history, and subsequently closer to to the sun then to the sea level in a single day. Our record claimed is “Closest to point on Earth to the Sun then to the Sea in a single day on Motorcycle”. For now, We hold that record. Our data has been submitted to Guinness Book of World Record and they will put to rest any doubts you may have.

          Note: Chimborazo is off limits to motorcycles and special access was granted from the Minister of the Interior. The reason access was granted was to help our team to bring awareness Coalition of Hope’s efforts for the Earthquake Victims of Ecuador and the Motorcycle Relief Project that helps combat veterans with PSTD. Donations for these cause can be made here: http://www.motorelief.org/make-a-donation and here http://www.therideofmylife.net/ecuador-earthquake-relief/

          I have made further inquiries as to where exactly they started, but at the moment it would appear that they will hold the record if their data is accepted by Guinness. I think the only question will be how easy (or not) it will be to surpass it!

  2. Carl, thank you for the response. The issue here is the wording on the claim, I found your press release that I assume Rider based their article on, it says, “Professional endurance driver Carl Reese of Santa Clarita, California and Sebastián Montero of Quito, Ecuador set a new world record for riding on motorcycles from the closest point on Earth to the sun….”

    The point I made is that you were NOT at the top of the mountain. You were several thousand feet lower at the end of a limited access road. So while the mountain top may be the closest to the sun, you were not “atop” the mountain. So you could not “set a new world record for riding on motorcycles from the closest point on Earth to the sun” as your press release states as you were never at the top of the mountain or even close to it.

    You might be able to say, “Professional endurance driver Carl Reese of Santa Clarita, California and Sebastián Montero of Quito, Ecuador set a new world record for riding on motorcycles from the highest road in the world in relation to the center of the earth, the end point of this road, at 15,997 feet, on the side of Chimborazo, whose peak is closest to the sun.”

    What is the difference? Because the press is going to reprint your press release and even worse, if Guinness does not catch it (and all they really do in general is reprint press releases and make them into records – so then it becomes further entrenched as a fact, even though it never happened).

    The reason I said you might be able to say that is that while your drawing is interesting, it does not account for the tilt of the earth. While the top of Chimborazo varies slightly in relation to the center of the earth to the sun (as it is near the equator), as the earth tilts toward the sun in June, the relationship of the top of those Indian passes is closer to the sun. However, and in your favor here, in June when northern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun (and coincidentally Everest is pointed directly at the sun on June 21st) , the earth itself is close to being the farthest from the sun vs its position in December which would favor the top of Chimborazo. So the question then is those riders that routinely visit the 18,000 foot passes in India in June – does the tilt of the earth make up the elevation advantage of you 15,997 feet at the end of the road on Chimborazo in September. That is all math that is not even that important as the first, and most important, correction is you did not start your ride “from the closest point on Earth to the sun.”

    It is a great idea and a great ride, but you need to be technically correct when making a claim of this type.

  3. I used to run Motorcycle Tours in Ecuador and we would frequently ride up to the Chimborazo.
    I have personally ridden a KTM520 EXC dirtbike to the Whymper refuge at 5,000 m (16,400 ft.).
    Never saw a sign prohibiting motorcycles but of course that was 15 years ago.
    I feel that I could have easily made the trip to the coast in under 8 hours. I rode from Mt Chimborazo to the Hakuna Matata lodge in the Amazon region in about 10 hours and that was while on a tour and stopping for a leisurely lunch in Banos.

    We would stay sometimes at the Estrella del Chimborazo a place that was founded by the premier Mountian Climber of Ecuador.

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