Marathon men: extremely frequent drivers

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Marathon men: extremely frequent drivers


Marathon men: extremely frequent drivers

Marathon men: extremely frequent drivers
The trip to the moon and back

Thomas Schmieder


Real kilometer kings came to the MOTORRAD meeting of frequent drivers in Thuringia: their 15 motorcycles together covered around five million kilometers. A colorful group with highly individual machines and driving philosophies. At the end of 2006, MOTORRAD searched under the heading “Standing Order” for extremely frequent travelers among the readers. And was surprised by the response to this call, around 120 interesting biographies fluttered into the house. In terms of numbers, applications from BMW and Honda drivers dominated, with the latter up to Fireblades, closely followed by Yamaha owners. Kawasaki and Suzuki followed a long way behind, Harleys or Guzzis were even rarer. Ducatis and Triumphs as endurance runners? Nothing.

Either way, choosing to meet was not easy. At the end of July 2007 the time had come: 15 people came to Saalfeld with their machines, the gateway to the great motorcycle area of ​​the Thuringian Forest. For all participants, the motorcycle is a hobby as well as an attitude to life and in some cases the only vehicle. Nevertheless, every kilometer eater has a very individual biography and driving philosophy: long-distance travel, everyday tour or the way to work.

A motorcycle get-together could hardly be more colorful: machines from 125 to 1200 cm3, from single to six-cylinder, four months to 29 years old, with 32,000 to 827,000 kilometers. 15 two-wheelers combine a total of 5.17 million kilometers and around 260 years. With a thumbs-up, that’s almost 20,000 kilometers a year.

In contrast, the average German biker is more likely to drive 3,000 than 5,000 kilometers a year. The 15 invited riders against all trends covered an average of 344,867 kilometers. An average life is not enough for that. Only 40,000 kilometers are missing ?? almost exactly the circumference of the earth ?? to have once traveled to the moon: the earth’s satellite is 384,401 kilometers away.

Numbers like that simply shift perception. MOTORRAD carries out more endurance tests than any other magazine in Europe. They walk over 50,000 kilometers, after which the respective machine is dismantled and examined. This usually takes around 18 months. The frequent-driver machines have just run in well. What kind of people are they who, like Siegfried Donath, will drive 827,000 kilometers in 13 years? What is your drive to marathon mania? mentally as well as in terms of motorcycle technology? What are your time-gathered experiences, the most important damage in long-distance use? The often detailed records provide answers to these questions.

Gunter Baron, for example, listed all important stations with his TR1 in a 30-page, meticulously kept maintenance book. He took it over at kilometer reading 25274 and placed it in his living room at 300306. Makes 275032 own kilometers on 5843 registered days until the final shutdown in September 2003. Or 5500 hours of driving time at an assumed average speed of 50 km / h on secondary routes. That means 229 days on the handlebars. Continuously. A minimum of 781 refueling stops (at 5.4 liters per 100 km and 19 liters of tank capacity) are extra.

Marathon men: extremely frequent drivers


Bad weather? Pah, that can’t scare the kilometer eaters.

Proud of the kilometers? “Yeah yeah”, says Erich Zimmermann, “we all got it hard. The ex-driving instructor knows what he’s talking about. Not only because he had the seating on his BMW R 1200 GS specially adapted. But because he drove 32,483 kilometers with her in exactly four months. Respect. Erich is a true kilometer millionaire and sold the R 1150 GS, with which he applied as a marathon man, at the beginning of 2007. After 493,000 kilometers in nine years. Just normal madness.

Andreas Gottschalk from Monchengladbach, also a driving instructor, holds up the Kawa flag. He has spooled almost 320,000 kilometers on his Z 750 E since 1983. And the maintenance intervals, of course on our own, increased to 10,000 kilometers. Despite many chrome parts, Andreas uses the bread and butter four-cylinder as a companion bike in motorcycle training. He has retrofitted a fairing and a cigarette lighter as accessories, Thomas Andres has an umbrella holder on his XT 500 (191,124 km).

Anyone with their own motorcycle “100,000” full, knows the moving feeling when 99999.9 is on the clock. At least if it’s a mechanical-analogue type of speedometer and not just pixelating liquid crystals. On the speedometer housing of the Kawa, Andreas has the days of the “Zeros” noted at a full 100,000 kilometers: April 28, 1995, August 10, 2002 and September 23, 2006.

Andreas uses his second motorcycle, a Yamaha XJ 900 Diversion, on motorways. “But it only covers 113,000 kilometers.” In general, most of the participants are not just convincing, but true repeat offenders: They own several motorcycles. And drive so much with just one of their often large collections.

How does the material last so long? Hardly any machine remained undamaged in the constant stress. Nevertheless, technology can be given a helping hand. In which you know your motorcycle well? almost inevitably at an average age of around 17 years. And at some point will wait and repair it yourself. Often, entire machines or second motors serve as part carriers so that defects can be rectified quickly. Or because spare parts for youngtimers can almost be weighed in gold.

Few cold starts and careful warm-up of the engines are further secrets of success: “5.5 liters of oil want to get up to temperature first”, explains CBX driver Jurgen. In the morning he makes a 100-kilometer detour to work with his “infant”, even celebrates his birthday. At the other end of the spectrum is 18-year-old Jannik. His CBR 125 carried him throttled to 80 km / h for two years for almost 36,000 kilometers. The high school student only drives two kilometers to school. Doesn’t he see any problems with the short distances? no. “It’s a Honda that lasts like that.”

That experience comes from driving was shown in Thuringia on the small, sadly flooded, small motorcycle lanes. All frequent riders master their motorcycle inside out, even in adverse conditions, in curves, when turning and maneuvering. Which is perhaps not very surprising given these mileage. But makes the wish arise that there would be more such people. MOTORRAD draws its lessons from this exchange of experiences. And will stay tuned to the topic. A follow-up meeting is to take place in 2008. The motorcycle trip to the moon is far from over.

827 173 km in 13 years

Marathon men: extremely frequent drivers


Siegfried Donath with his BMW K 75

Siegfreid Donath, BMW K 75:

“I like to be out and about, but also like to be back home in the evening.” Siegfried just drives off in the morning during the week, and in the evening, when the woman comes home from work, the clock shows 300 or 500 kilometers more. According to this recipe (“I rarely ride my motorcycle on vacation”) The fit 73-year-old has achieved an astronomical 827173 kilometers with the BMW K 75 in 13 years. This corresponds to 20 times or more than the distance to the moon and back. No wonder that the second engine and drivetrain have already started their service.

In 2000 Siggi set his own personal record: 114,900 kilometers in twelve months. Averages 314 kilometers per day, summer and winter. His tire dealer sometimes sees him again after three weeks. The 50th couple donated him Michelin, after around 500,000 kilometers. Long ago.

In 1992 the mechanical engineer took early retirement at Opel. Since 1994 he has been exploring Spessart and Odenwald, Taunus and Rhon, Eifel and Black Forest with the three-cylinder. The mile scrubbing was more of a sideline.

Marathon men: extremely frequent drivers


You have to look twice: over 800,000 kilometers on the clock.

“I bought the motorcycle purely as a leisure activity. Then you just have a goal.” He also takes time for sightseeing and walks.

The K 75 cost 17,000 marks, including a windshield, suitcases and ABS. “Unfortunately, BMW has never brought a successor, something so light and compact is missing in the program today.” The plus points of the K 75: The cultivated engine, cardan shaft and high reliability (“Oil consumption was normal up to 400,000 kilometers”). The kilometer king does not change the oil according to mileage, but according to color: “As long as it is still yellow, everything is fine.”

The K 75 is economical in terms of gasoline consumption, only five liters per hundred kilometers on federal highways. Which means 40,000 euros for fuel at just one euro per liter.

Siggi has always driven with pleasure and a lot: 90,000 kilometers from 1955 on a 125cc NSU Super Fox, 65,000 kilometers on a 200cc Vespa. He only had his BMW R 100 RS from 1978 to 1981: “It vibrated so strongly that a break was necessary every two hours.” Siegfried uses two-wheelers like a car, for errands and visits to stadiums and racetracks. Siggi’s wife has been retired since the beginning of December: “She likes to go with you, without fear.” Then have fun touring for two!

The motorcycle: bought new on March 18, 1994, after a sharp increase in oil consumption at 540000 km, installed a used original engine (year of construction 1986); Drive train completely renewed after damage to the transmission output bearing after 625,000 km; A total of around 80 rear and 60 front tires are worn.

432 550 km in 21 years

Marathon men: extremely frequent drivers


Yvonne still has some catching up to do with her XRV 750 …

Yvonne Kreischgens, Honda XRV 750:

Yvonne Keischgens was just as “girlfriend” her partner Bruno Just announced for the frequent driver meeting. But surprise, the cheerful Rhinelander traveled with her own motorcycle, a 750 Africa Twin (RD 07). Which has, including the previous owner, “first” 101,105 kilometers on the clock. It doesn’t matter, the frequent travelers showed themselves graciously, and they unceremoniously got Yvonne into the “Crawling group” adopted. While the banker is used to at work “fine clothes” dents and scratches on the Honda from various off-road training sessions. All over Europe, the blended family, Yvonne, Bruno and his daughter Bianca (12 years), are well equipped on a camping tour. “Bruno designed and welded the luggage rack himself”, explains Yvonne. “When the Africa Twin is parked on the main stand, the shelf is exactly level and we can cook on it.” There is even space for chairs and a table on the two Hondas.

Father and daughter are connected to each other on board via an intercom, Yvonne and Bruno via radio. “I could never imagine driving through the Alps again”. (Yvonne).

The motorcycle: bought second-hand in February 1999 (EZ 6/94) with 25,000 km for 7200 marks, so far no defects apart from a sheared speedometer cable and transmission output shaft; A petrol pump is always in the luggage on tour, but the first one is still in use to date.

Marathon men: extremely frequent drivers


… to get close to Bruno’s odometer reading.

Bruno Just, Honda VFR 750 F:

Bruno knows the chassis number of his RC 24 by heart. “I grew together with my VFR, which is even more durable than being married.” Another family member, so to speak. “The VFR was my first street motorcycle.” The reason for the purchase in 1986 was the new two-year warranty from Honda. Today he loves the V4 engine and also has an RC 30 and a 1998 VFR (RC 46). “How transformed” be the RC 24 with the latest pair of tires: Bridgestone BT 45 and BT 21. Bruno owns six other motorcycles, from KTM, Ducati, NSU and Wanderer. Sometimes the self-employed master mechanical engineering mechanic from the Eifel even drives the RC 24 to assembly at home and abroad, with the tool box on the back. At the Tourist Trophy 2007, Bruno met the Belgian Andre, who can do 405,000 kilometers on his 1100 Pan-European. Both want to celebrate a million together.

The motorcycle: EZ 4/1986, currently front brakes, exhaust system and clutch number three are in service, also the second fork, the second engine (used), the fourth fuel pump and the 33rd front and 41st rear tires; two cracks in the drive chain remained without consequential damage.

471,265 km in 18 years

Marathon men: extremely frequent drivers


His speedometer has already passed the 99,999 km four times and then jumped to zero.

Manfred Moller, Honda XRV 650:

In the beginning there was skepticism. After 270,000 kilometers on a Yamaha XS 1100 and 210,000 kilometers with an FJ 1100, Manfred climbed onto the “Monkey twin”, Type RD 03, um. “Without believing in the longevity that the four-cylinder engines have come to expect.” 471,000 kilometers later, the 650 Honda taught him better. “Since the petrol pump failed a week after purchase, it has never stopped unexpectedly”, raves the Hessian who documents maintenance and defects seamlessly in writing.

Manfred’s Africa Twin lives up to its name. She reeled around 35,000 kilometers on African slopes, for example from Kenya to Cape Town, and several times in West and South Africa. Something like that welds together. The travel enduro also drove through many European countries, was damaged by game damage (driver okay) and threw Manfred once on gravel after a wild slide at night (driver not okay).

The toolmaker takes care of the entire service himself. “Honda stipulates tight 6000 service intervals. But when you drive a lot, you quickly notice that the valves have not yet adjusted after 15,000 kilometers.” In the meantime, his service intervals have leveled off at around 20,000 kilometers. When changing the oil, Manfred is meticulous: “I always change the filter and use good branded oil.” He immediately bought a 60-liter barrel of it, “then that fits with the price”.

The 471,000 kilometers are spread over two engines, and there is a second RD 03 as a parts carrier. In the mid-80s, Manfred even used his frequent driving passion in a part-time job: for Honda he drove pre-series models in endurance tests. “20,000 kilometers in eight days, together with colleagues 3,000 kilometers a day in three shifts.”

Since 2004 Manfred has also had a KTM LC8 with 75,000 kilometers, and drives the Honda, which has been registered without interruption since 1989, especially in winter: “The KTM is more sensitive.” Therefore he undertakes the tour to Chile and Peru, which he will give himself in February 2008 for his 50th birthday, also with the faithful Africa Twin.

The motorcycle: EZ 8/1989 bought with 5350 kilometers; new fuel pump (km 6100); Replacement engine installed (2,500 marks, km 183,500); Ignition boxes renewed (km 258,000); Shock absorbers, wheel bearings and brake discs changed (km 260,000); Exhaust, clutch and steering head bearing new (km 318000); Speedometer exchange (km 448000, brought to the exact level with a drill); new brake discs, steering head bearings and Prolink bearings (km 471000).

Marathon men: extremely frequent drivers


Now that the throttle is out, Jannik’s kilometers should increase even faster.

Jannik Lorenz, Honda CBR 125:

The high school student received his CBR on June 29, 2005 from his father as a present for his 16th birthday. A good two years later, Jannik has reeled 36,000 kilometers with it. And that with a maximum of 80 things. All attention. It’s a good thing that shortly before the frequent rider meeting, the annoying speed reduction was allowed to go, Jannik is now 18 and the 125cc is a real, small motorcycle, no longer a light motorcycle.

Jannik collects the many kilometers less on the two kilometers to school than on day trips in Vogelsberg, around the racing mecca of Schotten. At the moment the Butzbacher is saving up on his big dream, the CBR 600 RR.

The motorcycle: bought new in June 2005; four new coolers on guarantee due to leaks; Cylinder head gasket renewed after 25,000 km (150 euros); 2008 Bridgestone BT 45; The student pays for fuel himself.

Almost half a million kilometers for two

Marathon men: extremely frequent drivers


Truly astronomical mileage.

Gunter Saron, Yamaha TR1:

That’s one of six “TRINsen”, which Gunter owns, she ran 84,075 kilometers. Her sister, on the other hand, unwound 300,306 kilometers. Since 2003 she has been logged out in her living room in Hechingen. With unopened trunk motor, the first clutch and the first final drive chain. Well, the closed chain case of the TR1 has brought a lot.

There are hardly any spare parts left for the once flopped, now rare 1000 V2 tourer. “I bought the stores empty”, confesses Gunter, “Dealers have already begged me for parts.” In total, Gunter has around 750,000 kilometers of motorcycle experience, in addition to the TR1, a team (“for transports”) and various oldtimers “for going around the house”.

The motorcycle: bought in March 1986 (25274 km; EZ 1981); Parts used up: 22 spark plugs, eleven oil filters, eight front brake pads, three silencers and manifolds, two speedometer cables.

Volker Locken, Yamaha XS 1100:

Volker also owns several motorcycles. With the XS 1100 he toured from the North Cape to Morocco, from Greece to England, and was eleven times in the Tourist Trophy on the Isle of Man. “I am the first and last owner of the XS”, he says. He integrated a sixth digit into their odometer. The policeman also owns a Vmax team (150,000 km) and six other bikes, including a rare Yamaha TX 750.

What makes Volker happy: the sharp drop in insurance tariffs. “Today I pay less for five motorcycles than I paid for the XS in 1978.” In 1979 he retrofitted the sweeping fairing for 2,000 marks. “That was a lot of wood back then!” In 29 years, the 1100 only got stuck once because of a technical defect (piston).

The motorcycle: bought new in 1978. “The XS has eaten over 30 front and 60 rear tires to date. Plus dozens of sets of brake pads, eight pistons, two exhaust systems, a gearbox, a tank truck full of oil and an ocean liner full of fuel.”

Frequent drivers with style

Marathon men: extremely frequent drivers


The mileage even called the local press to the scene.

Jan Berghaus, BMW R 100 GS HPN:

Jan has covered half a million motorcycle kilometers since 1986. “The first carrot,” a Yamaha DT 175, didn’t last long. Then came a brand new Honda XL 600 R, which stretched its wings after four years and 105,000 kilometers. Since 1990 the black one “Sara”, an R 100 GS, with him (Jan’s real friend drives the XBR 500).

A second GS has been used as a replacement machine since 1993 if the other one is indisposed. “The motorcycle is serviced and repaired exclusively by me, otherwise I couldn’t afford to drive it a lot,” says the do-it-yourself mechanic from Kleve. After an engine failure at 256,000 kilometers, he donated his GS a new boxer and after an accident an HPN chassis for 10,000 marks: WP fork, modified swing arm from the R 1100 GS, stronger frame. “Now the two-valve boxer sits in an ingenious sports / off-road chassis”, the experienced road and off-road driver is happy.

The motorcycle: bought 9/1990 for 12500 marks (single room 3/90, 1400 km); “major gear damage” at 70,000 and 140,000 km, right exhaust valve torn off after 165,000 km; Exchange engine after 256,000 km; Two new cardan shafts, ignition coils and alternator rotors each.

Marathon men: extremely frequent drivers


With 595,749 he deserves a place on the podium for frequent drivers with his CBX 1000.

Jurgen Hereth, Honda CBX 1000:

It’s actually only four kilometers to his work at MAN. But in summer Jurgen can easily cover 100 kilometers with his CBX before the morning shift. For such early tours he gets up at three o’clock: “There is nothing cooler, you are alone, see the sun rise and clouds of mist rise. I absolutely love my baby.” The Franconian veteran also unwinds 6580 kilometers in continuous rain to a meeting in Sweden. To date, there are already over 600,000 kilometers on the clock.

Jurgen doesn’t have a car, just an Enduro ?? for bad weather. He does everything in terms of maintenance and repairs himself. Honda has given him a certificate covering half a million kilometers, but hardly any spare parts to hand. Advice, tips and parts information can be found at the meetings of the CBX Club.

The motorcycle: 1986 for 6,000 marks “optically downgraded” (17800 km, EZ 1983) purchased; first oversize pistons at 70,000 km; at 342,000 km new bearings, primary and timing chains; second oversized piston at 423,000 km.

8,000 kilometers per month

Marathon men: extremely frequent drivers


Not every Sunday driver manages 8,000 kilometers a month.

Erich Zimmermann, BMW R 1200 GS Adventure:

It wasn’t until the end of March 2007 that Erich bought his 1200 adventure, after 493,000 kilometers on an R 1150 GS. Now he has covered over 32,000 kilometers in four months, 8,000 kilometers a month! For example on a trip through twelve countries in Eastern Europe to the Ukraine. No, Erich doesn’t have more vacation than others. “GPS and map packed ?? the route is the goal” He goes on tour almost every weekend. And says: “Cars puke me.”

The man from southern Baden has a simple explanation as to why he has long since made it a kilometer millionaire in the saddle of various GS types from 1980: “Because I don’t want to stop with my short legs.”
Erich is pleased that the 1200 can get by on five liters of fuel per 100 kilometers. So there is a range of 700 kilometers. The drag coefficient does not require more than 140 km / h “an open refrigerator” Tribute. The crash bars grinded in brisk curves. But ABS, he doesn’t want that, “as long as I still have an ass in my pants”.

The motorcycle: EZ on March 27, 2007; equipped with 4 cm padded bench seat, different windshield and second set of wheels for changing from Metzeler Tourance to ContinentalTKC 80; Tank volume 35 liters.

Christina Gluche, BMW R 1100 GS:

“I am Erich’s shadow”, says Christina, “otherwise I would never see him.” She is proud to have driven the many kilometers of her 1100 only on weekends and on vacation. “I don’t have a car, I walk to work”, the native of Hamburg emphasizes. When she travels, she always has a replacement speedometer cable with her. “It would be a shame if the kilometers weren’t counted.” Both of them do the maintenance of their GS themselves. They camp out on tour “in botany”, away from campsites. GS would mean yes “Belongs to dirty”.

The motorcycle: EZ 9/1998; Clutch new at km 168,000; Fairing, handlebar riser and 41-liter fuel drum from Touratech; one-piece bench; Reinforced gear housing.

Tips for a long service life

Marathon men: extremely frequent drivers


What a machine with over 200,000 kilometers is still worth?

Bernd Deichfuss, Suzuki GSX 1100 G:

“That was probably the blackest weekend of my two-wheeler career.” Bernd and Astrid Deichfub will not forget their trip to the frequent driver meeting anytime soon. On the way there said goodbye to the cardan of the Suzuki GSX 1100 G ?? the second defect of this kind. “It’s not a nice noise, in the left lane at 170 km / h”.

He had bought the G 16 years ago precisely because of the cardan, “after a GS 850 G had to endure 235,000 kilometers under me from 1979 to 1991”. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. Pushed the defective 1100er two kilometers on the autobahn, then transported it back, installed a cardan from the used parts pool in the evening and set off in the morning. Until a connecting rod tore off on the way back 80 kilometers from home.

Due to a lack of time, the Suzi waidwund waidwund next to a also dismantled Yamaha XS 650. It doesn’t matter, the semi-professional singer of “Rock n Roll Doctors” from Bensheim (“Suzuki Germany is on our doorstep”) wants to remain loyal to the G. Suzuki’s modular system is great: “The crankshaft of the Bandit and the 17-inch wheelset of a GSX-R fit there.” In 2008, the upside-down fork of a sister model, the “not quite original anymore” Upgrade GSX, which already drove to southern Spain and Turkey.

And the different odometer reading? “After slipping away, I once swapped fittings and instruments.” Well then, have a good trip in the future!

The motorcycle: bought new in spring 1991, so far two final drive (cardan) defective after the oil seal was pushed out; a connecting rod crack after a good 248,000 km; the GSX has the modified fairing of a GSX-R, a Krauser pannier rack and a four-in-one exhaust system.

11 tips for a long service life:

Today’s manufacturing tolerances are much tighter than they used to be, the materials used are of higher quality and the manufacturing machines used in production are more precise. Nevertheless, it is essential to observe the manufacturer’s running-in instructions for new engines. Increase load and speed continuously until the engine is fully retracted. Especially applies to large-volume, air-cooled engines à la BMW Boxer and Guzzi or Harley V2.

The be-all and end-all of engine durability is the right operating temperature. This is especially true for air-cooled engines. They take longer to get on “Temperature to come” and are much hotter than water-cooled engines, for example in the area of ​​the cylinder head. With older engines it is advisable to mount an oil thermometer.

Marathon men: extremely frequent drivers


What only 3200? Is that supposed to be the original mileage? That gives point deduction.

Nothing reduces durability more than the highest speeds immediately after a cold start! Then the oil is still viscous, are the operating tolerances of the components ?? made of different metal alloys ?? not yet harmonized. So: Accelerate gently with a cold engine, call up no more than half the maximum speed and low load.

Also, do not run the engine at low speed. He feels most comfortable driving on dynamic country roads, where speed and load are constantly changing. When the engine is warm, enter the last third of the speed, this is what the drive was designed for.

Change the oil in good time. Motor oil also ages through oxidation in the air; a change before the winter break washes bound acids out of the motor housing. With the fresh “Winter oil” you can then, depending on the mileage, unwind a good part of the following season. Always change the oil filter at the same time.

Continued: 11 tips

Use good motorcycle oil. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive or recommended in the manual. However, it must be tailored to the high shear forces when lubricating the gearbox and clutch. Car oils do not need to do both because of separate gear oils and dry clutches; in addition, they often let wet clutches slip.

For carburettors: check the settings regularly and have them adjusted. If the mixture is too lean, the temperature in the cylinder increases significantly; in the worst case, too rich can lead to a dilution of the engine oil with gasoline, which condenses on the (still cold) cylinder walls. The candle pictures allow conclusions to be drawn about the mixture. And avoid gummy fuel in the float chambers by draining the same before the winter break.

Address imminent defects immediately to avoid consequential damage: Have unusual noises checked by a specialist workshop, and replace worn cables and worn brake pads immediately. But do not replace functioning parts without an emergency. Only eliminate real weak points. And lubricate trains like joints regularly.

“A personal relationship” to build his motorcycle. It’s like in a true partnership: if you know each other well, you can recognize small ailments in good time and know how to correctly interpret even small bugs.

Regular, gentle cleaning also sharpens the view for hidden corners, such as rust nests on the frame, vibrated screws, broken welds. Just like in the past: maintain and polish with a bucket, sponge and then with chrome and lacquer polish. It’s even fun.

Don’t trust yourself too much, don’t make anything worse. Two-wheel mechanic is a demanding apprenticeship for a reason.

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