Wayne Stanfield aboard a 1937 knucklehead which he rode 1,825 miles in 24-hours at the infamous Talladega Superspeedway to break a nearly 70-year-old 24-hour endurance record, set by California Highway Patrolman, Fred
Wayne Stanfield aboard a 1937 knucklehead which he rode 1,825 miles in 24-hours at the inf
HOT Bike readers no doubt are aware of the famous/notorious Iron Butt Rally first held in 1984 and that every two years tests the mettle and metal of riders on an 11,000-mile odyssey in all kinds of weather and over all kinds of terrain. The name of the Rally, which includes all makes and models of modern bikes, also sums up the physical requirements for the challenge. You could say the name of the up-and-coming September 2010 Motorcycle Cannonball endurance run definitely echoes the type of physical equipment and mental stamina needed to participate.
The man behind creating the 2010 Motorcycle Cannonball is Lonnie Isam, Jr. of Jurassic Racing, one of the country's leading antique/vintage bike enterprises located in where else but Sturgis, South Dakota. Jurassic Racing can literally replicate a motorcycle from a photograph and has built complete engines from scratch including a run of Big Base Indians to the more esoteric New Jefferson circa 1905-1915. Lonnie's long simmering concept of the Motorcycle Cannonball run centered on encouraging collectors and fans of pre-1916 bikes to pull them down off the display shelf and put them back on the road for the sheer fun of it and to rekindle some good ol' Yankee spirit of grit and guts. Speaking of ... Lonnie himself will be riding a 1914 Indian Twin.
Matt Olsen plans on employing every aspect of aerodynamics he can to maintain maximum top speed.
Matt Olsen plans on employing every aspect of aerodynamics he can to maintain maximum top
The Motorcycle Cannonball is named after Erwin "Cannonball" Baker who set 143 records from 1910 through the 1930s; his first record was aboard an Indian motorcycle in 1914. While Cannonball made the coast-to-coast ride in 11 days, another motorcycling adventurer, George Wyman was the first to set a trans-continental record, in 1903. Due to the lack of roads, gas stations, and replacement parts, it required 50 days of tenacity with 38 days of riding from New York to San Francisco, the rest of the days were spent making repairs. The 2010 Cannonball Run seeks to elicit that same spirit but hopefully without the mechanical gremlins, but that's up to the Motorcycle Fates.
The response to what was initially planned as a "bunch of guys, 15 or 16, wanting to go for a ride on old bikes" generated such an enthusiastic response from both vintage riders and the motorcycle industry that Lonnie had to gear up for a much more involved effort. The Cannonball had literally snowballed into a storm of interest including requests to enter from overseas. Fortunately, he had the input of veteran enthusiasts to help develop the infrastructure for the adventure including John Classen who brought to the table some 20 years experience setting up events including competing several times himself in The Great American Race (aka The Great Race) and winning the title of Champion Navigator in1984.
Scheduled to commence on September 10, 2010, Lonnie plans to launch 65 riders (including two women) and their antique motorcycles off and running along a 3,320-mile route from historic Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, (Wright Brothers first flight) to Santa Monica, California and the end of famous transcontinental Route 66. The run will consist of 16 days spent on the road with a projected average of nine hours per day and a cruising speed of 35 mph...although that's subject to change depending on the machine and the rider as many of the machines are capable of 60 mph or perhaps more due to "fine tuning" by the A-list of competitors. "Our route was chosen in order to avoid having the riders enter a single interstate whenever possible," says route pathfinder Classen. "We'll have 12 hours of daylight each day, and a goal of having every rider check in at the day's ending point one hour before sunset. We don't want anyone having to deal with the safety issues of meeting up with the local wildlife after dark, and we are expecting some break downs."