Saturday October 9, 2011. At the awards ceremony organized at Chester’s Harley-Davidson in Mesa, Arizona, Hoka Hey organizer Jim Durham declared that none of the top 11 riders who finished within the allotted time would receive any money! Will Barclay was again on August 5th, like in 2010, the first one to cross the finish line of the Hoka Hey 2011, and was considered until 2 days ago the repeat winner of the riding challenge event. He was supposed to receive $250,000 with the following 24 winners also sharing another $250,000. But rules of the Hoka Hey requires that the winner(s) goes for post winning testings. Among others: a check of the motorcycle(s ) for mechanical fitness (what does it mean?), a drug screening test to detect any use of illegal performance enhancements, a lie detector polygraph test, etc.
In Arizona at the awards ceremony, Jim Durham stated. “Because of the fact that the 2010 event did not utilize US Fleet Tracking to obtain information about the rider’s speeds and location, the Organizers had to rely on local law enforcement as the primary mean of enforcing speeding violations. This year, the Hoka Hey went high tech and utilized GPS tracking devices to monitor the riders to insure compliance with the prescribed route of navigation and speed. In this 2011 event, the specific information provided by US Fleet Tracking about the 11 contenders could not be ignored by the Organizers of the Challenge. After the final validation had been completed, even though the 11 riders who finished within the allotted time frame have accomplished something that no other rider on earth has done, they could not be awarded prize money.”
Well, Jim Durham would have proof that all 11 riders would have sped. By the GPS tracking device? Possible, but something that some riders seem to be ready to challenge. A question is also raised: is it possible to anyone, not speeding, to finish the challenge in the allotted time? And the one question that many ask since Hoka Hey’s 1st edition. Is this kind of event very dangerous, an illegal road race because for money gain riders will always have a strong tendency to speed and to push themselves, without enough sleep, beyond their physical abilities? I also hear, although I could not get direct confirmation from Will Barclay himself (his website email doesn’t seem to work), that Jim Durham would now think that Will Barclay not only cheated in 2011 but also in 2010, and may seek remedy by asking a refund of the $500,000 prize money the winner would have received at the 2010 awards ceremony. The top 11 finishers also wonder why they were asked by Jim Durham to travel to Arizona to what they thought was an award ceremony for them when the organizer knew in advance that he would declare them all disqualified!
As you all know, the 2010 Hoka Hey Challenge was extremely controversial with participants being killed and injured, promises not kept, rules changed during and after the event, public contradictary statements by organizer Jim Durham, etc . The 2011 edition was a very different event, with rules changed several times before the event got started and until Harley-Davidson eventually became a sponsor, taking only for responsibility to give awards (in exchange with getting from the organization each stage stop at one of its dealerships), but declining any liability related to the riding challenge. No doubt that the controversy about the Hoka Hey event, its principle, its organizer, its rules and regulations and the way they are applied, is going to continue. By the way, who keeps the non-distributed awards money? I am pretty sure that Jim durham will promise to add it to the 2012 challenge awards… (to follow)