English couple claim biking world record

Published: 23 September 2003

Kevin and Julia Sanders, have successfully claimed a new unofficial record for riding the Trans Americas, completing their journey in 35 days.

The couple rode from Prudhoe Bay on the Northern tip of Alaska to Ushuaia in Argentina, covering almost 16,000 miles and 14 countries.

The pair beat the previous record by 12 and a half days, coincidentally the same amount by which they broke the Around The World record in 2002. This was despite setbacks including lost spokes from the rear wheel, floods, forest fires, and rider Kevin Sanders suffering from severe food poisoning towards the end of the trip.

The last update left them in Santiago in Chile, getting their BMW R1150GS serviced for the final leg. Leaving Santiago they met with a local couple on a Yamaha Virago, who led them to a town called Las Grutas rather than their scheduled stop at San Antonio. This put them ahead of schedule in a town with better hotels, a bike meeting and a dodgy meal for Kevin Sanders, leaving him too weak to make the 6am start for the next day.

With the couple needing to cover between 300-1000 miles each day, illness couldn’t be allowed to stop them.

" The wind was freezing and I was very worried, " said Julia. " Kev’s hands were numb and every so often they fell from the throttle. He knew no one else could get us to our destination and we had to carry on. When we reached Comodoro Rividavia, he fell off the bike when his whole body went into spasm. "

Despite a night in the best hotel in town, the Sanders decide to take it easy and cover just 300 miles, but still a day ahead of schedule when they reach Rio Grande.

Fortunately the weather improved from there, and the penultimate day saw better health and blue skies.

The final day was 80 miles of dirt track, and when the couple reached Ushuaia they couldn’t celebrate until they had got proof of the final stage with photos by the town sign and their witness book signed by the local police and tourist office.

This evidence was needed for the record to be verified by the Guinnes World records and two independent witnesses back in the U.K.

" We were left in the middle of a bustling street, looking at each other and feeling a little lost, said Julia. " There was no big ceremony, no one opening champagne. It was just another overland bike that made it to Ushuaia and only we knew what we had done. "

Read the previous Trans America reports by following the links on the right. To send your congratulations to the couple, email mcn.online@emap.com with Trans Americas in the subject line and we’ll forward them to Kevin and Julia on their return to the UK.