Dale Walksler, getting deep inside the case of one of his many time machines.
Team of Dale Walksler and Wayne Stanfield
The name Dale Walksler and vintage motorcycling is literally synonymous. He's the founder and curator of the Wheels Through Time Museum currently in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, and the nexus for one of the world's most fascinating collections of machines and memorabilia as well as on-going restorations. It's also known as the "Museum that Runs" and Dale will prove the point by lighting up any of the hundreds of bikes under his care including the V-twin Crocker that regularly burns rubber...inside the museum... for the enjoyment of its many visitors. Dale has clocked some serious miles already, for example riding coast to coast in seven days on a Henderson 4-cylinder not to mention umpteen vintage rallies and winning the Race of the Century at the Barber Motorsports Park aboard his 1903 Indian single, while his riding buddy and longtime friend Wayne Stanfield is a seasoned veteran of the Great American Race, taking Second one year and tying for First in another.
Both Dale and Wayne will be riding 1000cc three-speed V-twin 1915 Harley-Davidsons, as it were the big guns. One is an older 1960s restoration, to which Dale is the second owner. The other bike found its way to the Wheels Through Time Museum about four years ago after sitting in a basement for 50 years. "The top speed of the bikes in their original form would be about 60mph, while our goal is not necessarily to go all out fast but have reliability. We will increase the horsepower of the engines so we can have enough power but not stress it out. I just located a pair of what appears to be original racing cams for the bikes. We also have the best engine testing device in the world here in North Carolina. It's the seven mile run at nine degrees up the Soco Mountain. If you can run in third gear up the mountain and accelerate, your bike will work. Gerald at Rinehart Exhausts, right down the street from us, is building us custom tuned exhausts that will probably add another five horsepower to the bikes. We'll think about improving the brakes, but right now we're concentrating on making it go before we worry about making it stop." Top competitors, there's no doubt that Dale and Wayne will be pulling out all the stops for the Cannonball.
Dale putting in some training miles aboard one of his 1915 H-Ds.
While finishing the race will etch the names of the successful riders into the history books, the ultimate reward will be the unique experience of the run itself and the enjoyment of sharing the adventure with like-minded vintage motorcycle fans. In addition, at the end of the 3,000-plus mile rainbow is The Wyman Cup, a one-off bronze beauty created by Jeff Decker and named for the pioneering cross-country solo rider George A. Wyman and his 1903 California. The award goes to the rider/bike with the best time in the single speed/single cylinder class, which was the class of Wyman's record making bike. Decker will also be competing in the run aboard his 1910 Harley single.
There is so much more to this event such as other interesting characters/participants, the stories behind the bikes/restorations, and of course the ride itself. We will continue to bring you updates as well as a final feature on the race and all the excitement of riding 100-year-old machines across our great country. For complete details visit motorcyclecannonball.com