Greenville, NC, September 10, 2010 - Forty-four Motorcycle Cannonball riders left Kitty Hawk, NC this morning on the initial leg of an endurance ride that they hope will have everyone celebrating 16 days from now on the Santa Monica pier where it juts into the Pacific Ocean 3,294 miles away.
Before heading out of the Kitty Hawk area, riders gathered at the nearby Wright Brothers' monument for a group panoramic photo taken by renowned photographer Michael Lichter. Reminiscent of vintage photographs taken yesteryear on the seashore and boardwalks when motorcycling was in its infancy, this historical photograph will record for all time this great adventure for what is sure to be a once in a life time experience for all concerned.
According to Motorcycle Cannonball Director of Communications, Felicia Morgan, "Traffic at the Wright Brothers' monument was blocked as the renowned photographer worked his magic to record this historical event. Forty-four riders and their crewmembers lined up and smiled for the camera as onlookers cheered and snapped their own photos. As the checkered flag dropped, the vintage bikes popped, snapped, and sputtered down the road."
"It was a grand start indeed," reports event organizer Lonnie Isam, Jr., "hoards of supporters who came out to watch Michael Lichter and the Motorcycle Cannonball riders here at the Wright Brothers memorial. This is a moment that neither I nor any of the other riders will ever forget. Of course, there is long, long way to go from here."
And there is a very full weekend ahead. Stage two on Saturday, September 11 from Greenville to Concord NC will pose a 223-mile challenge for the remaining riders. Sunday has the Cannonballers doing and "easy" 208 miles into Maggie Valley, NC. Bright and early on Monday, September 13 will see these men and women on their magnificent machines chugging another 193 miles into Chattanooga, TN.
Just what challenges lie ahead for the Cannonball riders was apparent on day one: many ran out of gas, several broke down, and some were unable to make repairs. But, according Isam, none of this did much to dim the light of this amazing journey. The beautiful countryside, he reported, lifted spirits and many riders were found lending a hand to downed brethren as the 95-year-old or older motorcycles tested their rider's patience.
"Come on Baby" was the call of the day as riders peddled, kicked and wheedled their bikes to life. Pete Young was one such rifer whose 1913 English made Premier refused to heed the call and left him stranded. Pete is currently tearing his bike apart to determine the extent of the damage to his crankshaft, with the hopes that he'll be able to make repairs and continue on, even if he is disqualified on points. Pete says his goal is just to make it to California in the wind and on the back of his precious machine.
The Motorcycle Cannonball spans 17 days over 3,294 miles. There are entries from around the world. Complete information about the Motorcycle Cannonball, including route details and rider profiles, is available at www.motorcyclecannonball.com.
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