Joka Hey? The Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge Controversy
"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." It was a revelation that shocked the followers of the 2011 Hoka Hey
Motorcycle Challenge. The statement was released on Sunday, October 9, 2011 on the
Hoka Hey Challenge website and told to the spectators of the awards ceremony that same
weekend in Mesa, Arizona and sparked a fiery conversation in the motorcycle world.
Boasting the celebration of "all that is good, pure and powerful in the warrior spirit," the
Hoka Hey Challenge is a race over 10,000 miles, through 48 states and two Canadian
providences, while under a time limit. With strict speeding rules and a follow up
polygraph test, the 2010 Hoka Hey organizers were forced to rely on local law
enforcement to catch any riders who may be cheating by speeding. This year, however,
the organizers of the race took the rules to a whole new level by installing GPS tracking
units on each of the bikes that could not only track the riders' routes but could track their
speeds as well.
It's the GPS units that have stirred the Hoka Hey pot once again. The organizers of the
race are claiming that every one of the top 11 riders to finish did indeed go at least one
mph over the speed limits at one point and time therefore breaking the rules of the race.
This, therefore, disqualifies them from receiving the $250,000 in prize money. They
were, however, acknowledged as the winners and celebrated at the awards ceremony.
They may not have received their $250,000 but they were "recognized as the greatest
riders in the world" with concerts and a poker run.
All the while, behind closed doors a contenders' meeting was held in order to help
contain the flames that must have been fuming with the winners. Afterward, each of the
riders walked out of the meeting with a $10,000 check to cover the expenses incurred
during the race and their mandatory trip to the Arizona Award Ceremony and polygraph
test. But $10,000 is a great deal less than $250,000 and it has left motorcycle enthusiasts
with a whole slew of burning questions.
The biggest question that people seem to be raising concerns the remaining reward
money. Because contenders were charged an entrance fee with the promise of the chance
to win it back, a large sum of money was supposedly set aside for the winners' prizes.
But if the winners do not receive that money, who does?
And the speculation continues as people question the reliability of the GPS units as well
as those who were in charge of monitoring them. After all, how could the organizers
know the marked speed limit of every mile of what turned out to be a 1,400 mile trip
especially when there had been errors about the route provided by the organizers
themselves? And do they really expect every rider to go every mile without even the
smallest of mistakes? Some people even wonder if the race can be won if following all of
the rules laid out especially after the directions given by the organizers was said to lead
the competitors off course.
The history of the Hoka Hey challenge doesn't lend it a great deal of reliability. After two
deaths linked to the 2010 race, many people were left wondering about the safety and
legality of the road race. With motorcyclists already questioning the respectability of the
race after the 2010 event, this new evolution of the disqualification of all 11 top finishers
doesn't surprise some.
Still, the Hoka Hey Organizers seem to have released no information about the remaining
prize money nor the validity of the GPS tracking. And while questions still hang in the
air, the top 11 finishers have not yet come forward to directly share their thoughts on the
matter, which leaves speculators wondering if the $10,000 that they received behind
closed doors was a check to keep them out of the press and court rooms. As of now, the
Hoka Hey Challenge website still claims to be planning a 2012 race and makes no
reference to the controversy currently brewing. Is all of this just a case of unanswered
questions and bad PR, or is the Hoka Hey Challenge one that should be looked at a little
more closely before more money goes missing and more people get hurt?
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