Dale wears vintage riding gear including abominable snowman gloves and chomping on his trademark "Backwoods" cigar. Cross-country temperatures ranged from 36 to 105 degree Fahrenheit. Dale estimated he spent more money on cigars than food or gas.
Dale wears vintage riding gear including abominable snowman gloves and chomping on his tra
Dale Walksler, Wayne Stanfield, David Klepst - 1915 Harley-Davidsons
The name Dale Walksler and vintage motorcycling is 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. 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 on which he regularly burns rubber, inside the museum, for the enjoyment of its many visitors. Dale has clocked some serious miles, for example riding coast to coast in seven days on a Henderson four-cylinder, not to mention umpteen vintage rallies and winning the Race of the Century at the Barber Motorsports Park aboard his 1903 Indian single.
His teammate, Wayne Stanfield, is also in the record books with major endurance wins for bikes and cars including riding a '36 Harley from Ottawa to Mexico City as well as several Great America Races. His training, experience, and riding skills again brought him to the front of the pack. Although he had more flat tires than any other rider (two in 3 miles at one point), he still kept up the winning pace.
Wayne Stanfield heads toward the finishing line, his "road bling" Harley featuring an unusual fender ornament. Note the duct tape to keep heat off his leg. His onboard computer reported that the average speed for team Wheels Through Time was 42-46 mph; not bad for any bike, particularly for those nearly 100 years old.
Wayne Stanfield heads toward the finishing line, his "road bling" Harley featuring an unus
For the Cannonball, Dale prepared three 1915 1,000cc twin-cylinder Harley-Davidsons for himself, Wayne, and the third member of the team, buddy David Klepst. Both David, an experience race car competitor, and Wayne would be among the Top Ten, those few who achieved perfect scores for the run. Dale, was just two points shy of perfection himself, time lost to mechanical repairs. He also spent a good deal of his time helping other riders fix their bikes. True to form, Dale gave the better of the two bikes to his teammates.
Catching up with the trio as they rode into Santa Monica, Wayne summed up the overall performance of the three 95-year-old Milwaukee marvels. "We rode them during the day, maintenanced them every night, but on each leg of the run, we all crossed the finishing line on time." Wayne joked and added, "As for rebuilding the engines, we did that just for the fun of it, to see what was going on inside. As far as Dale losing those two little points, he just had to stop once when he saw a Dairy Queen. Seriously though, the bikes ran awesomely. If you add up the total miles we clocked on these bikes, it's almost 10,000. And it was incredible to see all these other competitors make it across America. Anybody who complains about riding one of today's modern bikes cross-country should think twice about what these early bikes could do.
"As far as the age factor, I'm 62 and a lot of the other guys are around the same age. We got about four hours of sleep most every night, but it was all we needed. Maybe it's because we come from a different generation that it seemed a pretty easy ride all the way. Sure it got our attention, like the big rainstorm in New Mexico where we were doing 55 mph through 2 inches of water on the freeway with these big trucks spraying us. People we met were amazed to hear how old these bikes are. When you think about it, we transported history across the country."
At the Cannonball finish line, Dale Walksler gets his just rewards.
Dale added, "Each team was responsible for its own support and repairs. Our Wheels Through Time friend, Myron Pace, headed up our support crew, drove the truck, and was our all-around mechanic. He probably rebuilt about 100 magnetos along the way. And he always had a cold beer ready. My son, Matt, kept up with the run all the way, posting developments on our website. One of the run's stopovers was at our museum in Maggie Valley and there were thousands of people waiting to greet us. It was a great moment for all of us; one of many during the 16 days. Wayne was leading the pack all the way, and the adrenaline rush was pretty amazing. I rode with two great competitors, Wayne and David. We stuck to the rules and made no excuses and basically hauled ass. Wayne took home the Class II Third Place trophy and he, David, and I are taking back memories of the greatest ride we've ever enjoyed. Do it again? Hell yes. But maybe not in 16 days, maybe 10 to make it a little tougher. I think this unique, first-time event will generate interest in other cool, history-making rides."
One of the great surprises of the Cannonball was Katrin Boehner who brought the oldest bike, a 1907 British-built J.A.P. (John A. Prestwich) all the way from her home in Germany, and her first visit to the USA. Her bike was a single-cylinder, single-gear, beltdriven machine devoid of a transmission or front brake. It also had no clutch so that each time she had to stop during those 3,000 miles, the motor would cease running. But there was no push-button or even kick-starter because there was no starter at all. This required Katrin to "bump start" her machine countless times, taking a position running alongside and pushing the bike to generate an ignition spark, then throwing herself onto the saddle. It required strength, timing, and technique, (especially on uphill inclines) all of which she demonstrated with a high degree of proficiency. So outstanding was her performance, that in addition to earning enough points to win First Place in her class, Katrina was awarded the Grand Championship and presented at the closing ceremonies with a custom commissioned Cannonball Run sculpture by noted artist Jeff Decker, something she would take home to Germany along with the indelible images she experienced during the 16 days of camaraderie and high adventure. When asked if she would do it again, she smiled and said, "Definitely."
Class II winner Bradford Wilmarth aboard his 1913 Excelsior rode a perfect 3,294 points. Wilmarth's overall points would give him the top score and ownership of the Cannonball #1 Plate status.
Class II winner Bradford Wilmarth aboard his 1913 Excelsior rode a perfect 3,294 points. W
Cannonball Run #1 winner Bradford Wilmarth with a special painting of Cannonball Baker presented to him by the artist, David Uhl, who also presented paintings to the other class winner.
Cannonball Run #1 winner Bradford Wilmarth with a special painting of Cannonball Baker pre
The original sculpture made for overall winner of the Cannonball Run created by artist Jeff Decker of the Hippodrome Studio located in Utah.
The original sculpture made for overall winner of the Cannonball Run created by artist Jef
The mantra of the epic run: many engines were rebuilt along the way, some more than once. There was no stopping the motorcycles or their riders.
The mantra of the epic run: many engines were rebuilt along the way, some more than once.
Time to celebrate!!!
Ed Zalonski's ultra-rare 1910 Flying Merkel, due to mechanical meltdown, rode in on special sidecar "rescue" wagon. Thirty-eight of the 44 bikes showed up at the finish line.
Ed Zalonski's ultra-rare 1910 Flying Merkel, due to mechanical meltdown, rode in on specia