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Celtic 12hr Rally

4th May 2024, Rally HQ - Dundee, Scotland

The Rally Master is Chris McGaffin – Yes, he is back at it again.
Past Brit Butt, European Tour and Wolfhound Rally Master and now 3 times IBR Finisher.

It is hoped that the Celtic 12hr will become an annual peripatetic event, rotating through the Celtic Nations, with Wales next year and then Ireland the following year, etc.

Riders will receive the bonus book and GPX files via email, 36 hours prior to the start. Riders will receive details of the Rally hotel to be used for finish and awards ceremony on payment of the entry fee.
Rally Start Dundee - 0700 hrs 4th of May 2024
Rally Finish Dundee - 1900 hrs 4th of May 2024

We are keeping this event as simple as possible – both for Rider and the Organisers. You can book a room at the finish hotel or one nearby if you wish, but it will be your responsibility to do so. You can stay anywhere you want on the previous evening (even at home); the only stipulation is that you must be at the disclosed start location in Dundee at 0700 hrs on the 4th of May.

Food and drink will be up to you. We are not providing any! There will be no rally swag either. You want a rally t-shirt? Print it yourself!

Scoring will be conducted face to face. Simply hand in your score sheet and show us your photos – either on a Mobile phone or Digital camera. There WILL be a minimum points level to be designated as a finisher.

Rally is restricted to 30 riders.
Rally entry fee is £30.* - this fee is only refundable if WE cancel the event.

To enter, send an email to with “Celtic Rally 2024” in the subject line and state:

  • Your name,

  • Physical mailing address,

  • Contact phone number.

If your application is successful, you will receive a PayPal Invoice, which must be be paid within 7 days.

Remember, this event is restricted to 30 riders.


Celtic Rally Rules.

  1. The Motorcycle and Rider must be road legal.

  2. The rally is intended to be a test of rider, machine and your route planning powers, using some or none of the following:

    1. Pencil, paper and calculator,

    2. Garmin BaseCamp,

    3. MyRouteApp,

    4. Via Michelin,

    5. Google Maps,

    6. Guesswork or "Pin the Tail on the Donkey".

  3. We don’t care what machine you start or finish on. If you break down, borrow another bike by all means, but the entire ride must be conducted on two wheels.

  4. Failure to arrive at the start or finish on time will result in a “Did Not Finish” (DNF) result.

  5. Auxiliary fuel systems are not necessary. However, you may carry extra fuel if you wish. If you choose to carry extra fuel, you are responsible for your own safety. The organisers will not examine any auxiliary fuel system or carrying container on your bike.

  6. Riders are expected to always act in a sporting fashion.

  7. Any attempt at cheating will result in instant disqualification and a lifetime ban for future events.

  8. Once the rally starts, riders must not receive assistance from anyone not riding in the rally. This includes attempting to get others to take photos on your behalf. This rule does not prevent you from asking directions from a stranger once you are in the vicinity of a bonus location.

  9. Riders are responsible for their own health and safety during the event. This includes taking adequate rest periods. Some of the IBA Long Distance Riding Tips may be applicable.

  10. In order to claim points for a location, a rider must actually ride to the location. In addition, riders must follow any specific instructions for that location.

  11. Riders must start the rally from the stated start location at the specified time. If you are not at the start position at the specified time, you will not be permitted to start the rally, and classified as a “Did Not Start” (DNS).

  12. A score sheet will be provided to each rider. An entry must appear on this sheet for each and every bonus you are claiming and must be presented at the scoring table. Any Photo bonuses not shown on your scoring sheet AND your camera device will not be awarded. If no score sheet is presented at the finish, you will be classed as a DNF.

  13. Riders will be issued with a GPX file and Bonus Book by email on the 2nd of May 2024 at 1800 hours. This will be sent to the email address supplied. You must notify us by 2100 hrs on that date if you have not received it.

  14. You are responsible for ensuring that you are proficient in the use, transfer of and processing of the supplied GPX files. You should be satisfied that you can work with GPX files before entering this event. No refunds will be given because of data processing issue on your part.

  15. You are responsible for ensuring your submitted photos comply with the requirements of that particular location. Be disappointed of course, but do not be offended if your attempt to claim a bonus location is turned down. The reason for doing so will be explained. The Rally Master’s decision is final and he won’t give a %@+* if you don’t agree.


Is this a Race?

No. The rally can be very competitive among the leading players but they are definitely not races. Races depend on the use of high speed and daring; IBA rallies depend on planning and resilience.

The Rally can be best thought of as an exercise in solving the well-known "Travelling Salesman Problem" as solved by multi-drop van drivers every working day. You are given a selection of possible locations to visit and photograph, scattered right across the rally's territory and you must choose which to visit, in which order, building a points score within the Effective Riding Time (ERT) of the rally.


What’s this about minimum points?

A minimum points value will be set to ensure that riders must reach a certain level of performance to be classed as a finisher. This is to protect the value of being classed a finisher of our event – you had to reach a certain level of performance, not just roll out at the start and roll back again with 100 miles on the clock and 50 points in the bag. The points level will be determined by the rallymaster and published in the bonus book.

I can't ride all day long!

You don't need to. In a 12 hour rally the ERT is quite a bit less than 12 hours: you need to stop for fuel, for food and drink, to visit bonus locations and to complete the paperwork within the 12 hours so you might be actually riding for ten or eleven hours, in some cases even less.

This rally does not include minimum miles so you can ride as much or as little as your comfort zone permits, however there will be a minimum points requirement to qualify as a finisher.

Safety is our prime concern.

Why should I enter this rally?

First and foremost because it’s fun.

Secondly because it will help you develop your skills at riding, route planning, navigation and body management.

Thirdly you'll ride to places you'd never otherwise visit, also you'll ride roads known only to a few.

Finally you'll meet like-minded souls and enjoy telling about the "ones that got away".


Go on, you know you want to ...



Mid-Summer Newsletter

The Summer Riding season is going well, with a good number of rides certified, participation in the Iron Butt Rally in the USA and several Ride to Eats.


There has been a healthy number of newly certified members and existing members taking on more challenging rides, including:

  • 33 rides certified in the last 12 months which is nearly back to pre-covid levels.

  • 11 new members, one who is 76 (an outstanding result, and a fine example to younger riders), one group of four friends and one of three which undertook the SS1000 to raise money for the “Fields of Life” and have to date raised in the region of £2700.

  • One Compass Gold,

  • One 32 County Challenge (with another one in planning),

  • One Government Saddle Sore 1000 (awaiting verification).



The Iron Butt Rally is normally held every two years in North America, and is the Olympics of long distance endurance riding, it is held over 11 days and the riders will usually ride around 1,000 miles a day, notwithstanding the size of the USA the participants must collect bonus points with  photographs of Rally Flags at designated locations (some of which are well off the beaten track), the winning rider this year was on a BMW R1250RT and clocked 14,138miles.

The 2023 IBR was undertaken in June with some very interesting information on the Forum.


Two of the top IBA Ireland riders took part this year:

Chris McGaffin was riding pillion with Kisten Talken-Spaulding on a BMW R1200T, they were the highest placed two up team and earned Chris a Gold award to go with his previous Silver and Bronze as well as a Saddle Sore 11,000 certificate. His post “A pillion point of View” is worth reading.

Joe Fisher was sadly unable to complete the rally as his usually uber reliable Yamaha FJR1300 let him down on the last few days, otherwise he was in the running for a respectable finish; he has written a very interesting account of the issues on the IBA Ireland Forum, he had 6,089 miles recorded before his Did Not Finish (DNF), which will likely qualify him for a Saddle Sore 6,000 Certificate.

You should be aware that any rider who finishes an IBR, gets a new Membership Number issued, the first 1,000 numbers have been reserved for a successful IBR completion.

If any IBR Ireland riders are thinking about possibly taking part in the IBR, a few ideas as follows:

  1. Chat with Chris and Joe (they usually attend the RTEs).

  2. Take part in a few “Scatter Rallies” e.g., the IBA UK series of rallies:

  3. Undertake some mile building using, Gold/Insanity level rides:


Ireland RTE No 3.

The 3rd Ireland RTE of 2023 was at the Top of Coom and was very well attended, thanks to the eight riders from IBA (UK) who travelled over.



Ireland RTE at 26th IRON ORE RALLY

The Iron Ore Rally is held annually in Egremont, Cumbria on the Fri – Sun of week 31, is a good old fashioned bike rally, with good, music, fine beer, lots of camping space, hot showers and the option to see some fine machines and talk bollox, this was the second year of IBA Ireland “calling” an RTE in GB and was great craic.



Ireland RTE No 4 – Saturday 16th September 12 noon

Only few weeks to our next Ride to Eat at the Brú na Bóinne/Newgrange Visitors Centre, west of Drogheda.


For those who have not visited Newgrange and or Knowth, it is worth taking some extra time (2hrs for Newgrange and 3hrs for Newgrange and Knowth, prebooking required) an extra  to explore these magnificent prehistoric constructions that are older that Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids of Egypt at over 5,000 years old; there are several other historically important venues nearby, including:

  • Hill of Tara – Seat of the High Kings of Ireland.

  • Mellifont Abbey – dates from 1152 and was the first Cistercian Abbey in Ireland, and the model for many that followed.

  • Important Battle Site of the Nine Years War, which modern historians now regard as the first world-wide war, with France pitted against The Holy Roman Empire (Pope Alexander VIII), The Dutch Republic, England, Spain, Portugal and Spain.

There will be an opportunity to acquire some IBA Ireland Branded Clothing from the “Del Boy” trailer at the RTEs.





We currently have the following in stock (mainly 2XL, and either black or dark green):

T-Shirts £12 (€15), V-Neck T-Shirts £12 (€15), Polo Shirts £15 (€18), Singlets £10 (€12), Woolen Beenie £9 (€10),

Body Warmers £45 (€50),


IBA Ireland Flag  £10 (€11),

IBA Ireland metal pin £4 (€5), Compass Gold cloth £4 (€5)

It is hoped to have additional items for the RTE in September with Caps, fleece gilets and a wider range of T Shirts with Saddle Sore 1000 badges and Compass Gold Badges.

IBA Europe Ride to Eat (ER2E)

Each year there are several ER2Es, across Europe, which have a different theme each year (see IBA Ireland website for more background information). They are a great excuse for some mile building.

This year the theme is previous Olympic Games venues, with the last one in 2023 visiting Paris on Saturday 21st October, their format differs slightly with a 4-5-7 format, where riders gather at the designated photo spot at 4.00pm, first beer (other drinks are available) at 5.00pm and dinner at 7.00pm; some riders just come for the photo.

There will hopefully be a few from IBA Ireland riding to Paris.

I set off for the one in Barcelona earlier in the year but had to abort after discovering on the Belfast to Liverpool ferry that I had forgotten my passport.


Ireland RTE No 5

Saturday 18th November at 1200, meal at 1230

The Roost, Maynooth, there is a good carpark 150m away at 21 Leinster Street




Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM)

The FIM has a very active Touring Section, which is usually well subsidised and give you an excuse to visit countries that you might not have thought of; the host motorcycle clubs usually provide excellent ride outs and wonderful local culture, cuisine and beverages.

The three main events are:

  • FIM Rally, next year in Tuscany, Italy.

  • Moto Camp.

  • Moto Tour of Nations

A Ride You'll Never Forget. An FIM Moto Tour of Nations is a four-day travelling event that has a limited number of participants. The riders stay in good quality hotels each night and travel each day on guided, scenic touristic roads, visiting local culture and tasting local gastronomy. Food and accommodation are always provided by organizers.”

The 2023 Moto Tour is in Tunisia, there are two IBA Ireland Riders planning to attend, myself and another County Antrim rider.





The riding year is full steam ahead, a number of riders successfully completed the new Celtic Themed Rides including Imbolc 1000, St Patrick’s Day 1000 and Beltane 1000; looking forward to Lughnasadh and Samhain, later in the year.

There will hopefully be a small contingent heading to the FIM Moto Tour of Nations in Tunisia in October.

The first two Rides to Eat were most enjoyable with the next one at Top of Coom (highest pub in Ireland) just over a month away, for those who attend there will be the chance to avail yourselves of more of the new IBA Ireland branded merchandise. The pub’s website ( is interesting with typical Weekend’s Specials listed to go with the Barfood Menu, there are also some great photos on Google Maps, please make your own reservation(s) for a seat or table on (064)6685373.

Looking forward to seeing some of you there and/or later in the year.


The bi-annual Iron Butt Rally (  is currently taking place in North America with our very own Chris McGaffin and Joe Fisher taking part, with Chris riding pillion with a lady from the East Coast on a BMW RT and Joe on one of his FJR1300s, we wish them a safe ride and look forward to hearing many stories on their return.

The public Spotwalla link is (, which will let you see where the 100+ riders get too in their 11 days extravaganza; the most miles achieved previously was 14,000+ on a GL1800 Goldwing.

Keep safe and happy (s)miles.


IBA (Ireland) Newsletter Meetings and Merchandise

  1. The 2023 RTE season is upon us.

    The first one is just under a fortnight away at 12am on Sunday 26th March, meet at The Beach Bar, Aughris Head, Sligo F91YE98. This was the RTE that was supposed to happen in March 2020 before the Pandemic Lockdowns kicked in. All attendees will receive a free IBA Ireland Sticker.


  2. IBA(I) are now able to provide a limited range of branded Merchandise, Charlie McCrea (aka Splitter 142) will be coordinating the various clothing, stickers etc, which will initially comprise the following:

    1. Flags,

    2. Caps,

    3. Soft shell jackets,

    4. Body warmers/Gilets,

    5. Stickers,

    6. Compass Gold Patches.

    Further details will be detailed on the Forum and Website later in the month.


IBA (Ireland) Newsletter Spring 2023

The 2023 IBA Ireland Photo Rally is now LIVE.


2023 Changes:

1. There will be NO Rider table, nor links to individuals albums displayed on the website. Riders will receive their upload link as per normal. The only people able to view the album is the rider ,ourselves and anyone the rider chooses to share the viewing link with.

2. The web page will show an up to date total number of riders currently entered in the event. No individual names will be listed

3. The minimum number of locations to be uploaded to receive a "bronze" certificate has been increased to 10.

​4. We have decided to discontinue the monthly " brief" location.

5. The €10 entry fee has been switched to £10 GBP entry fee. This is due to banking fees being incurred through paypal which we can no longer sustain and a general increase in costs such as website, postage and location research costs.  At current exchange rates, It is a very modest increase in the entry fee which has not increased in over ten years. Switching to Sterling avoids a larger Euro increase and rip off Paypal banking charges.

6. READ the PDF file download . It contains IMPORTANT information

7. There is a location this year that requires TWO photos to successfully achieve it.

8. We don't care what motorcycles you use.

Home from the Sea

This years Photo Rally are almost all RNLI Lifeboat stations with the exception of Arranmore Island , whose station is currently being rebuilt!.


We hope to see as many of you taking part in our little adventure again, or if you haven't taken part before - what are you waiting for.





Graeme Ferguson





IBA (Ireland) Newsletter Christmas 2022.

Wishing all the members of the Iron Butt Association Ireland a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, with safe riding wherever you are or are going.

I would like to thank Chris McGaffin for the honour of being asked to take over from him; he and Joe Fisher have always been very supportive of my Iron Butt related Long-Distance Riding progress.

Chris has not gone away; he is providing sound advice and he will continue to be our Rally-Master, he is working hard on next years Wolfhound Photographic Rally and has a few other cunning ideas up his sleeve.

Joe Fisher is helping me with ideas to improve the riding opportunities and to simplify the ride certification process.

Charlie McCrea (aka Splitter 142) is also assisting and is most knowledgeable on Social Media matters.


I have already posted several events on the Iron Butt Ireland Facebook page, with the European Rides to Eat and the major FIM Touring Section events in Europe and North Africa, which if you are not familiar with, are great craic and usually very good value; We will re-start the Ireland based RTEs which were stopped by COVID19, with the following:

  • Sunday 26th March 2023 at 1200 – The Beach Bar, Cartronofarry East, Templeboy, Co. Sligo, F91 YE98; This was the RTE that was scheduled for late March 2020 until the pandemic restrictions kicked in.


  • Sunday 21st May 2023 at 1200 – Sean’s Bar, Athlone; is the oldest bar in Ireland, Europe and possibly the world: there have been previous RTEs in the Highest pubs in Leinster (Johnnie Fox’s, 910ft above sea level) and Ulster (The Ponderosa, 946ft above sea level).


  • Sunday 16th July 2023 at 1200 – Top of Coom,  is Ireland’s Official Highest Pub (OSI verified) at over 1045ft above sea level, located in Kilgarvan, just a short, scenic drive from Killarney, Kenmare and Macroom.


I have been in contact with our Galactic President (Mike Kneebone), who has provisionally sanctioned some additional Irish themed certificated rides (artwork and ride rules are in progress) including:

  • A Saint Patrick’s Day Saddle Sore or Bun Burner.


There will be an overarching Certificate for completing all four Pagan Days, like the Four Seasons Rides.


I will hopefully be adding these to the IBA Ireland Forum and to our website in the near future (when I get the hang of all this electronic wizardry), in addition to refreshing the website.


There are some ideas for 2024 being worked on.



Have a great Festive Season and Safe Riding, I look forward to meeting you in the future.


Graeme Ferguson




Since 2008, Chris McGaffin has been "President" of IBA Ireland. After 14 years , Chris has decided to take a step back ( but not away). As of 15th October 2022, Graeme Ferguson is the new head of the  Iron Butt Association in Ireland.  Chris intends to continue  playing a part in the organisation.


Chris said - " It has been a hell of a ride since 2008 - Certifications, development of new rides ,running 24 Hour competitive rallies, creating and hosting special one off events ( Isle of Man, Iceland & Sicily SS1000s) and running the Annual Photo rally in various guises . Now it's time for change and some fresh input".

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