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  #1  
Old 2 Mar 2009
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Question World Record Questioned

I've read recently about Benka Pulko's circumnavigation being a semi-hoax, with the discrepancies being that it wasn't continuous, it wasn't solo, and that she routinely engaged in fraud and deception regarding her accomplishment and to gain both financing and supplies. Obviously, these are serious allegations, and I've only found a single source thus far (Benka Truth Pages). Does anyone have any further info regarding this? My inquiry is not meant to be defamatory or accusatory in any way - just trolling for information. Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 2 Mar 2009
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I remember the ride. The promotion struck me as heavy handed, basically saying "give me money and I'll ride round the world". Call me what you like, but if I had cash to ride RTW I'd go myself, it's not as if it hasn't been done before. There was no hint at any dishonesty, no charities mentioned or promisses of promotion the way I remember it, just a belief that other people would want to give her cash for the ride. Her technical knowledge struck me as rather limited, so I could believe she got help with tyres. Her English wasn't perfect, so I can well believe there could have been misnderstandings at least where US suppliers were concerned and any articles would suffer accordingly. There are cultural differences between how such "promotions" work in Southern Europe and the US, US suppliers see it as an advertising deal, not just a way to get the local riders to think they are nice guys and the tax man to give a few quid back.

The article you linked to seemed rather short of stated facts, no names or dates. Ramblings about Calamity Jane didn't help and in places were close to being libelous. Is that the work of a serious writer?

It's old history now. My own impression was that Benka was litterally looking for a free ride and I lost interest accordingly.

All this came via Chaingang website (F650.com) contacts. I'm sure there'd be more people there with info.

Andy

Edit to add: The incident with the child on the bicycle was a source of a lot of ill feeling on the chain gang message board and didn't increase Benkas popularity. It was literally a case of one description of the incident (hers; and I got the impression she'd initially expected sympathy and was a bit shocked when people took the opposite view) and a lot of second hand comment about how people should behave.

Last edited by Threewheelbonnie; 2 Mar 2009 at 10:31. Reason: more info
  #3  
Old 2 Mar 2009
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totally untrustworthy

Not one single source, person, date mentioned.

That an anonymous man "didn't believe a word" doesn't prove a thing.

And who is the author? Even he/she is anonymous.

PS: Never heard of benka before now.
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  #4  
Old 2 Mar 2009
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I totally agree that if the author of the "Benka Truth Pages" wanted to maintain serious credability, sources should be named and references given. I also haven't been able to find the "Calamity Jane" article mentioned anywhere else online, which in this day and age seems highly unlikely.

The Guinness folks have her listed as the first person to complete a continuous solo circumnavigation riding on all seven continents (I'm paraphrasing, of course). However, assording to our own Grant Johnson (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...ntarctica-1852), she never actually rode in Antarctica, just unloaded the bike and took a picture. She may have been able to ride had she gone to McMurdo Station, where motorized vehicles are used on a daily basis. But, since McMurdo is a US station, and the only way to get there (other than by supply ship) is by US Air National Guard military transport, she may have deliberately bypassed it if she knew she had legal troubles in the US. Unfortunately, this is just conjecture at this point.

I'm sure the real truth is out there, and I'd really like to know if this actually qualifies as the World Record it's purported to be. It just brings to mind the recent stories of the woman who greatly misrepresented her "swim" across the Atlantic. I'm certainly not suggesting Benka didn't put a ton of miles down, and I know that Greg Frazier ran into her at least once during her trip(s). I'd just like to know if we're dealing with facts or exageration.
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Old 3 Mar 2009
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I find most modern "records" uninteresting because they are so specialized, to be able to claim another record:

First bhutanese onelegged female, with a moustache, to cross Tower Bridge on her hands, wearing a neoprene diving suit
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  #6  
Old 3 Mar 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbekkerh View Post
First bhutanese onelegged female, with a moustache, to cross Tower Bridge on her hands, wearing a neoprene diving suit
Bugger, you mean it's been done?
I'll have to think of something else.
  #7  
Old 3 Mar 2009
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benka

Hello Hubb visitors,

I have met Benka on the road, we travelled together and became good friends. I have read this Truth page, and I know who wrote it. But it is like pbekkerhtotally untrustworthy
put it. The author did not even have the guts to sign with his own name, so ignore it.

Benka traveled the world on her F650 and she traveled in places where most of the people on the Hubb would not go alone. I dont know if she rode the bike in Anctarctica, and I dont think this is important. She managed to get the bike there and she has done a fantastic journey. She has met a lot of people and with many she left a good and inspiring impession.

I am proud to call her a friend.

So, guys, dont judge anybody because of a Truth page, that is not even signed.

Greetings from South Africa

Mika Kuhn (RTW 1999-2005)
  #8  
Old 3 Mar 2009
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Please see: Chapter 27 The Big Trip and scroll down to the bottom of the page. My record is unofficial, of course.

I also hold another record: The first person to ride a GS into the ground, literally: Chapter 26 The Big Trip

cheers
2 records BrightSh*te
  #9  
Old 3 Mar 2009
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Possibility: the more important issue here may not be with Benka, but with the level of research and verification performed by the modern Guinness organization. As pbekkerh put it (hilariously, by the way), they'll dole out records for just about anything these days. In that type of environment, one can pretty much say they did just about anything, as long as it's not in the book yet, and Guinness will bestow record status upon it, even if the attempt was decidedly half-assed.

What do you guys think; is the issue more with any alleged degree of misrepresentation of Benka's ride, or the degree of validation and scrutiny to which Guinness subjects record claims?
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Old 3 Mar 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildcat92 View Post
What do you guys think; is the issue more with any alleged degree of misrepresentation of Benka's ride, or the degree of validation and scrutiny to which Guinness subjects record claims?
The Guinnes book has an issue with cost. They used to sell millions and the kids that got them every Christmas had to make 'em last until Easter or a Birthday or longer. The kids are now all too busy on play stations and facebook and the book people therefore have a more limited budget. If you looked in the 2009 book and the list of motorcycle records were the same as 2008, would you buy one in 2010? There are fewer Bleriots, Shackeltons and Hillary's, so they promote the one-legged-female-mongolian bridge hopper, longest habitation of a bath of custard and so on. IMHO and without disrespect to anyone who's done something worthwhile that's been noted in the book, it's become a bit of a freak show as a result of them looking for cheap to verify new records.

To validate a RTW ride to the level our rather easily discredited anti-Benka writer seems to desire would sort of limit you to having the Guiness guy along for the ride. The records would then be limited to "First Actors Special Friend to do a pointless wheelie on three continents" (sorry to start that one again, it's only an example) type thing. Any RTW is defined as (I believe) starting going in one direction, travelling in roughly the same direction until you get back to where you started and crossing the equator twice in the process. Benka met that criteria and must have had documented proof to the levels other people attempting the same would have had to meet.

My own preference is for people who set out to do something and maybe do something new or better as a result. Setting off to break a record for the only purpose of getting you name in the guiness books seems rather pointless and simply self promotion. I'm guessing the sort fo people who used to sit in baths of custard are now more likely to sign up for Big Brother, and I can't say that raises my opinion of them, but if they enjoy it and other people want to see the pictures why not.

Andy
  #11  
Old 3 Mar 2009
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If I was interested in world records, I'd be interested in the truth (or otherwise) of this story. But I'm not.

The comments about her personal life seemed unnecessary and irrelevant to the issue.

It's very intriguing for a first post from Wildcat..

I did find Chris Bright's experiences interesting however...and not a Guinness book in sight.
  #12  
Old 3 Mar 2009
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What can I say, I'm inquisitive.

This is why I joined this board - the posters here almost always have a very high level of wisdom, knowledge, and humor. It'll be great to meet as many of you as I can in the future travels I hope to take.

Andy - I really think you've hit the nail on the head. It seems that the Guinness people, in their efforts to continue selling the hardcopy book, have let technology leave them behind. Thier website is really nothing special, there's not much info, and no real substance. In an age when so many other publishers are shifting their efforts more and more toward e-books and e-zines as a way to cut costs, increase circulation, decrease subscription price, etc., they seem to be clinging to the idea that folks will shell out better than $100.00 for their volume annually. That's a tough sell these days.

"...longest habitation of a bath of custard..." Brilliant!!
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Old 4 Mar 2009
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I forgot to say to Wildcat
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Old 5 Mar 2009
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Forgetting my manners there: Welcome to the nut house mate

Andy
  #15  
Old 20 Apr 2009
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Another web page...

Funny, but Wildcat92 somehow overlooked this link during his seach for information on Benka. Maybe sheds a little light on the "truth" behind the "truth page"?

WIPO Domain Name Decision: D2006-0099
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