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.
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.”