Motorcycle Cannonball 2012 in the Books!!!

Almost as quickly as it started, the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball covered its last mile on Sunday, September 23, as riders rolled across the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco crossing the finish line at the famed Dudley Perkin’s HD — America’s oldest family owned Harley-Davidson Dealership. The placement of this year’s finish line was quite fitting — Dudley Perkin’s HD has been in business since 1914, and actually sold machines identical to several of the competiting Cannonball motorcycles brand new.


Riders gather at a Pacific Overlook on Highway 101 in California before the finish

This year’s Coast-to-Coast Motorcycle Cannonball Eundurance Run took 16 days crossing the country from Newburg, NY to San Fran, and was for machines made before 1930. Over 70 riders came to the start with a range of expectations…some out for the adventure of riding a primitive machine from east coast to west, and others with a competitive approach to keeping their machine in tip-top shape over every mile in hopes of bringing home the coveted Cannonball Trophy after more than two gruelling weeks on the road.

Riders and their machines were divided into three classes for the 4000-mile journey — Class I held the smallest number of machines in the run, featuring machines below 750cc. Nine riders competed on motorcycles ranging from BMW’s and Rudges to three BSA 500cc Singles. Class II was for machines between 750cc-1000cc, and featured more than a few familiar faces, and machines, from the first Motorcycle Cannonball in 2010. And finally, Class III contained riders with machines above 1000cc displacement, which included a host of Harley-Davidson JD’s and Henderson Four-cylinders, echoing the once tense rivalry between two of America’s top motorcycle manufacturers.


Riders pause at the Golden Gate, before crossing the bridge into San Francisco on their way to the finish line

For those unfamiliar, taking a primitive pre-1930 machine from one coast to another is phenomenal undertaking, requiring , stamina and grit, loads of skill and mechanical expertise, experience, and more than just a little luck. For 16 days, riders poured their hearts and souls into this ride…..working long nights to prepare their machines for the next days ride……waking early every morning for 7 a.m. start times….and finessing their 90 year old equipment through the day’s route, over mile-high mountain passes, down long-lonesome highways, through rain, wind, heat and cold.

When the final day arrived, and Cannonballers prepared for the 93 mile ride into San Francisco, 19 riders carried a perfect score through 15 Stages. Quite an accomplishment given the early equipment and long days on the road. With so many machines having maintained full points, everyone knew that the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball would come down to the final mile. Should even one of the riders miss even a mile, the leaderboard would change entirely.


#55 Jim Petty crosses the finish line at Dudley Perkins HD in San Francisco

As fate would have it, all 19 of those “perfect” riders would make the full mileage to the finish line at Dudley Perkin’s HD. When scored became official, none other than Rider #1 Brad Wilmarth – Defending 2010 Cannonball Overal Champion – took home the Overall Title again aboard his 1913 Excelsior. Wilmarth gave new meaning to the word perfection, having covered almost 8000 miles of Cannonball Competitions without missing a single mile. His 2012 victory is much deserved — in 2010 his machine was among the newer machines in the run for pre-1915 motorcycles. The 2012 Cannonball allowed machines up to 1929, covering 700 more miles, with longer days, and higher sustained speeds. But Brad carried on without even a hiccup, riding his almost 100-year old machine to victory once again.

In Class I, the nine entrants fought hard for 16 days on the road, but when it was all said and done, Jim Crain took home the honors, aboard his 1927 BSA, covering 3591 out of a possible 3954 total miles. In Class III, Frank Westfall carried his perfect score to victory beating out Andreas Kaindle in the tie-breaker (which went to the oldest rider, since their machines were the same year).

Read AMCA Magazine Editor Bill Wood’s Article on the Cannonall Finale in San Francisco… Or Visit the Motorcycle Cannonball Website!

 

 

 

 

Cannonball Stage 15: Coastal California

Day 15 was the second to last day of the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball, and most of the 240 mile ride from Fortuna, CA to Cotati, CA followed Highway 101 — California’s famed Pacific Coastal Highway. 

Through 15 stages, Class I saw an interesting race for first place, and with only 93 miles to go before reaching the finish line in San Francisco, it looks like Jim Crain will take home the title.  Jim has completed 3498 miles of a possible 3863, and with a full score of 93 points on the last stage of the run, he will have ran all but about 400 miles.  Amazing for a 1927 500cc flathead single! 


Buzz Kanter drains crankcase oil from his 1929 Harley-Davidson JDH before hitting the road.

Meanwhile, Class II and Class III winners, as well as the Overall Champion will come down to the last mile.  Going into the final day, 19 riders have maintained perfect scores, completing every mile of the coast-to-coast endurance run.  In Class III, rider #49 Frank Westfall currently sits in first place aboard his 1924 Henderson.  Rider #1 Brad Wilmarth, who took overall victory in the 2010 Motorcycle Cannonball, has both the Class II and Overall lead aboard his 1913 Excelsior.  If either of the two miss even a mile on their route into San Francisco, the leaderboard will change entirely.


Rider #52 Darryl Richman’s escaped a 20-foot drop unhurt.  His BMW did not fare as well.

While this year’s Cannonball has been near incident-free, during Stage 15 one rider fell victim to the twists and turns of Highway 101, ending his coast-to-coast ride a little early.  Rider #52 Darryl Richman went over an embankment aboard his 1928 BMW, and plunged over 20 feet before being caught by a row of trees.  Had it not been for the tree line, he and his BMW would have fell another 100 feet.  Richman walked away from the accident unhurt with only a few minor bumps, but his BMW did not fare as well.  It took several people and one tow truck to retreive the machine.

Here’s the leaderboard through 15 Stages.  Only one more day, and this years Cannonball is complete.  San Francisco or Bust!!!

 

Cannonball Stage 13 &14: Heading for California!

This year’s Motorcycle Cannonball Coast to Coast endurance run is winding to a close.  The 16-day competition for pre-1930 motorcycles began on September 7th in Newburg, NY, and after more than two weeks on the road, the run has officially made it to the coast of California. 


Matt Olsen’s 1928 Harley JD overlooking the Pacific Ocean on his ride down Highway 101 in California

If one this is for sure, it’s that the 2012 Cannonball has been a ride of epic proportions.  More than seventy riders from around the globe embarked on a trip of a lifetime, crossing the great U.S. of A with a pack of old motorcycle gearheads who have given new meaning to the word grit.  There have been near disastrous brakedowns, terrential rain, 50 mph winds, triffic, bad luck, and of course, more breakdowns.  But these riders have persevered, and now find themselves just a few stages from the end of a ride they will remember for a lifetime.

Through Stages 13 and 14, a total of 19 riders have completed every mile of the Cannonball.   Three of our favorite riders to follow — #83 Paul Ousey, #55 Jim Petty, and #15 Buzz Kanter from American Iron Magazine –have been running strong, and since they began riding as a trio, have ridden every mile of what was the toughest part of the coast to coast run.  Each have completed about 3500 miles through 14 stages, and if all goes according to plan, will be riding across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco with their bikes running better than ever. 

Take a look a the standings through 14 stages.   After completing today’s 240 mile stage from Fortuna, CA to Cortati, CA, riders will make a few last adjustments to their machines before tomorrows 93-mile ride to the finish line in San Francisco.

Stage 12: Mountain Home, ID to Burns, Oregon

Stage twelve of the Cannonball ran 251 miles from Mountain Home, Idaho to Burns, Oregon, and after 11 days and thousands of miles on the road, riders have really found their stride.  It has been impressive to see so many riders covering these long days with relative ease.  A testament not only to the machines, but each and every rider and crew members’ effort in keeping these bikes on the road.   About 90% of the machines were able to ride all or most of the miles, and with four stage left, it looks like many of the bikes are running better than ever.


Matt Olsen’s 1928 JD is running strong.  He has covered 2912 miles through 12 stages.

Stage 13 travels 230 miles to Klamath Falls, Oregon. 

 

Motorcycle Cannonball Stage 11: Jackson Hole, WY to Mountain Home, ID

Stage Eleven on the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball would prove to be a tough one for many of the riders.  After a short 160 mile day into Jackson Hole, Wyoming, riders would depart on Tuesday morning again in near freezing temperatures, but this time, with 299 miles to go before the stages end. 

Many of the Class I riders recored zero points for the day for various reasons.  With several of these riders aboard the chase truck, the race for the lead in the "750cc and Below" class remains tight.  Rider # 42 Jim Crain currently holds the lead, with 2492 of 2857 total miles covered.  Buck Carson is only about 300 miles behind Crain after his second straight day recording zero miles, and Jimmy Allison sits in 3rd, only 20 miles behind Carson.


Rider #3 Buck Carson’s engine in pieces at a local machine shop.  He expects to be back on the road for Stage 12

Rider #93, world renowned artist Scott Jacobs currently sits in 3rd place both in Class II and in the overall standings, having covered every single mile so far of this years run.  He currently sits behind Joe Gardella in second aboard his 1914 Harley, and defending champion Brad Wilmarth in first on his 1913 Excelsior.

Riders #15 Buzz Kanter, #83 Paul Ousey, and #55 Jim Petty are still riding together during each stage, and have been running very strong.  About half way through Stage 11, Kanters machine developed electrical issues, but the team was able to get them resolved and get back on the road, each completing all 299 miles into Mountain Home, Idaho.


Buzz Kanter, Paul Ousey and Jim Petty take in the view on Stage 12 of the Motorcycle Cannonball.

There are only five stages left on the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball.  Look for the competition to get even closer as the riders head toward the finish line in San Francisco.

Cannonball Stage 10: Yellowstone to Jackson Hole, WY

According to reports from Cannonballers, Stage 10 was a ride for the ages.  Riders awoke in Yellowstone to dense fog and freezing temperatures.   The 160 mile route into Jackson Hole would lead them through some of the best scenery so far on the Cannonball, and the short mileage would allow them to take a little bit more of a leisurely than the 300+ mile days across the great plains just a few days earlier.


Dense fog at the beginning of Stage 10 made for an interesting ride out of Yellostone National Park

While many of the riders completed nearly all of the 160 miles, there were to major changes in the standings.  Rider #3 Buck Carson, who was battling for the class one lead on his 1927 BSA recorded zero miles, due to an engine failure the day before.  Carson spent all night at a local machine shop after and hopes to be back on the road for Stage 11.  Also, Rider #60 Hans Coertse no longer carries full points, recording zero of the 160 miles, knocking him out of the 3rd overall postition.  He now sits in 30th position aboard his 1921 J model.

For now,  Class II entrants hold the top six spots, and only 21 riders still carry a perfect score.


Rider #85 Matt Olsen’s 1928 Harley JD just before leaving Yellowstone National Park.

Cannonball Stage 9: Sheridan, WY to Yellowstone

Stage Nine of the Motorcycle Cannonball is now complete, and America’s coast-to-coast run for pre-1930 motorcycles has officially traversed the great plains of the midwest, and entered the rough and rugged terrain of the Rocky Mountains.  Through the first 8 stages of the run, the bikes and riders have been tested with long days, weather and other factors, but as of Stage 9 long grades and high elevation may start to become a factor. 

The day began in Sheridan, Wyoming, and traveled 229 miles into Yellowstone National Park.  The day began at relatively low elevation, and by mid afternoon, riders were climbing well above 9,000 feet,  Rider’s aboard the later Harley-Davidsons and 4-cylinder Hendersons would have the advantage with extra torque, where the small BSAs, BMWs, and other makes came into the day knowing it would be a tough one.


Rider #85 Matt Olsen approached the top of the day’s first mountain pass aboard his 1928 Harley JD

Stage 9 was also expected to have some of the most breathtaking views of the entire run, as riders left the flatlands and made their way into the Rockies.  Course-master John Classen was sure not to dissappoint, as riders were treated to long-range views, scenic mountain passes, and of course, the widlife that the great Rocky Mountains are known for!


A few riders stop on the side of the road during a buffalo citing on Stage 9 of the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball

Despite the day’s tough course, most riders faired well.  Each of the 22 riders carrying full points into Stage 9 managed to complete all 229 miles, tallying up a total of 2398 miles.   There were no lead changes in Class II or Class III, but Class I did see a bit of shake up.  Both BSA’s finished the day on the back of the truck, with Rider # Buck Carson only completing 39 miles.  Jim Crain, managed to get in 133 miles before being loaded up, giving him the lead over Carson by less than 40 miles.


Rider #37 Tom McBride spots a black bear in Yellowstone National Park near the end of the day on Stage 9 of the Motorcycle Cannonball

Keep an eye out for Stage 10 standings later this evening, as Cannonballers make their way 160 miles to Jackson Hole, WY on one of the shortest days of the 16-day run.

Continuing West: Cannonball Stage 8 into Sheridan, Wyoming

The 2nd ever Motorcycle Cannonball Run is now in its ninth day on the road, and the competition is continuing to stiffen.  The 4000 mile cross-country endurance run for 1929-and earlier motorcycles has been filled with excitement so far, with riders from around the world coming together to ride their machines across our great country.  The run has battled wind, rain, traffic, detours, extreme heat, and dozens of unforseen obstacles. 

Through the first eight days, the race for top honors has been a tight one — a total of 22 out of over 70 riders have ridden every one of the 2169 miles — quite a feat aboard 90 year old equipment.  Of those 48 who have not maintained perfect points, scores range from 500 out of a possible 2169 to coming within only 7 miles of holding full points. 

Stage 8 ran from Sturgis, SD through Gillette, WY, past the amazing Devil’s Tower National Monument, and on to Sheridan, Wyoming for an overnight stop.  The 242 miles course was the first stage of the "wild west", where long expanses, steep grades and mountain passes will be true test of preparation, endurance and grit.


(Class I Leader Buck Carson and his 1927 BSA at Devils Tower National Monument, with rider #48 Art Farley.  Farley is a National Championship AHRMA road racer in his spare time, and currently holds full points in Class III)

Stage 9 travels from Sheridan to Yellowstone, Wyoming and will pass through the highest elevations on the entire Cannonball, travelling almost up to 10,000 feet above sea-level.  The thin air and long grades will undoubtedly have an effect on the performance of these early bikes, so keep an eye on the leaderboard for possible changes in the standings.

Currently, Brad Wilmarth is the overall leader, and while the race is officially Wilmarth’s to lose (He maintains perfect points aboard the oldest bike), just one mistake causing him even one lost mile could cost him his second Motorcycle Cannonball Championship. 

Sturgis “Rest Day” on the Motorcycle Cannonball

After arriving in Sturgis late Thursday evening on their 4000-mile coast-to-coast endurace run, Cannonballers were treated to a much needed "Day off" on Friday.  Since the 7th of September, the run has travelled a total of 1927 miles, winding through the hills of New York and Pennsylvania, crossing Lake Michigan via ferry, and traversing the long expanses of the great plains of Iowa and South Dakota.

Now…..the term "Day off" might be a little misleading.  Riders scrambled to make repairs on their machines, changing tires, flushing engines, and rebuilding transmissions.  Lonnie Isam of Competition Distributing opened his shop doors for riders, and by mid-day on Friday, it was full of vintage motorcycle taken apart to every imaginable degree. 


Rider #85 Matt Olsen had is transmission out and apart during the Sturgis rest day.  Matt has ridden a total of 1831 of 1927 miles, and is back on the road for Stage 8 into Wyoming.

As the day progressed, riders who finished their machines early lended a hand with others’ machines.  The cammeraderie was fantastic, and just as impressive was the vast amount of knowledge available from the entrants themselves.  Many of the worlds best old motorcycle mechanics….all in one place, with a common goal to get to San Francisco!


Doug Feinsod gets a hand from a few friends while rebuilding his 1920 Henderson at Competition Distributing in Sturgis during the Motorcycle Cannonball’s only day off.

Below are official Stage 7 Results and Overall Standings.  We’ve seen a bit of change since the Day 6 results were posted.  Cannonball veteran Steve Barber, aboard his 1915 Harley-Davidson in Class II no longer carries a perfect score.  Also, the Henderson’s have taken the lead as top marque in Class III, as one of the eight Harley’s maintaining a perfect score dropped off during the 278 mile Stage 7. 

Rider #1, defending Champion Brad Wilmarth still holds the overall lead, and leaves Sturgis on Day 8 with a well prepared machine and a full head of steam. 


Rider #3 Buck Carson had engine troubles on Day 7, seizing his BSA single in the Black Hills only only 18 miles from the finish.  He still holds the Class I lead by 55 miles, over Jim Crain aboard a nearly identical machine. 

Stay tuned for Stage 8 updates from the road, as the Cannonball travels 242 miles to Sheridan, Wyoming.

Take a look at the official results from Stage 7 into Sturgis, SD…..

Read Bill Wood’s report from Day 8 of the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball….

Day 7 Cannonball: Sturgis Bound

The 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball is now half-way complete!  Over the past seven days, the second ever coast to coast ride has seen it all, travelling some of America’s greatest roads, through sun, rain, traffic, and of course, breakdowns.  Riders from around the world have travelled a total of 1927 miles of their 4000-mile competition across the United States, and after seven days on the road, many have found their groove. 


Day 7 course ran a total of 278 miles from Murdo, SD to Sturgis, SD, passing through the Badlands National Park, and pausing for a rest stop at the amazing Mt. Rushmore.  It was one of the most anticipated days of the run, not only because of the wonderful South Dakota scenery, but because it officially marked the half-way point of the coast-to-coast endurance run –signalling the Cannonball’s only, and much needed rest day in Sturgis, SD on Friday, September 14th.


Class I leader, Rider #3 Buck Carson poses during a rest stop at Mt. Rushmore

While the official results through Stage 7 aren’t yet published, the beginning of the 278-mile day saw a total of 24 riders maintaining perfect scores.   Through six stages, a total of eight Class II entrants are currently leading the pack, on machines ranging from a 1913 Excelsior to a 1929 Indian Scout.  One of the biggest surprises of the run is Rider #93, Artist Scott Jacobs aboard his 1926 Harley-Davidson J-model.  Jacobs does not have extensive experience aboard these very early machines, but has ridden his machine well and kept it in top shape throughout the competition. 


Rider #48 Art Farley currently sits in 14th Place having covered all 1927 miles to Sturgis, SD

Class III is led by Rider #49 Frank Westfall from New York aboard his 1924 Henderson Four-Cylinder.  Frank has completed all of the 1927 miles, along with seven other Henderson Four-Cylinder riders.  These rare and powerful machines have performed well over the first half of the run, and running neck and neck with eight Harley’s for the Class III lead.


Class III leader, Frank Westfall enjoys a laugh during a rest stop on the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball

Cannonballers rode through the Black Hills, past Mt. Rushmore and into Sturgis to enjoy a much needed rest day on Friday.  Look for the riders to make all necessary fixes, changes, and improvements over the day off in order to get back on the road on Saturday.

Stay tuned for official Day 7 Scoring Results, and more from the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball!

 

Cannonball Day 6 — Spirit Lake, IA to Murdo, SD


 Cannonball Sunrise in South Dakota (Photo Buck Carson)

Day 6 was another jam-packed day of 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball action.  The day began in Spirit Lake, Iowa, and after riders spent most of the previous night preparing their machines for the long day ahead, they headed out just after 7:30 a.m. en route to Murdo, SD.  

The 326 mile day was officially the longest day of the 2012 Cannonball Run, and what a day it was.  Riders hit weather very early on, and torrential downpours made for difficult riding, especially aboard near century-old equipment.  Several machines were forced to load up on the truck, fofeiting some very valuable miles, including four of the eight Class I participants.


Buck Carson takes the Class I lead after Stage 6 of the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball

Rider #3 Buck Carson, riding a 1927 BSA, saw opportunity when he noticed his competitors already on the chase truck, and battled out the long day of weather and win, completing every mile of the Cannonball’s longest day.  After 5 Stages, Carson found himself in second place in Class I, and after toughing out Day 6 while other riders were on the chase truck, he ended the day with a total of 1558 out of 1649 miles, and the Cannonball Class I lead.

Rider #15 Buzz Kanter from Team American Iron had troubles aboard his 1929 Harley JDH during Stage 6 yesterday, and covered only about 60 miles of the 326 mile course.  Water in the gas caused the bike to coast to a stop, and after some time diagnosing the problem, he found himself over 2 hours behind schedule, forced to load up on the chase truck for the day.


Overall leader Brad Wilmarth poses with his 1913 Excelsior for a water-slide photo during the 2012 Cannonball
(Photo: Paul D’Orleans)

Cannonball veterans Brad Wilmarth, Joe Gardella, and Steve Barber are still leading the pack in the first three spots, and are aboard the oldest and most primitive machines in the entire run.  A total of 26 riders currently maintain a perfect score through Stage 6, including 13 Harleys, 7 Hendersons, 2 Indians, an Excelsior and a BMW.

Stage 7 will run 278 miles from Murdo, SD to Sturgis, SD through the Badlands National Park and past Mt. Rushmore, where the riders will receive a full days rest on Friday, before continuing west on their journey. 

Stay tuned for more Day 7 updates!

Read Bill Wood’s Full Report From Day 6 of the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball, here

Take a look at the Official Scoring Results from Day 6.

Back to the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball Coverage Main Page….

Official Day 5 Results: Shake-up in Motorcycle Cannonball Standings

The official Day 5 Scoring Results of the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball were published early this morning, and it appears that we have quite a shake-up in the overall standings.  The 279-mile day began at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, IA, heading west on windy backroads to Spirit Lake, Iowa, home of what will be Polaris’ Indian Motorcycle Plant. 

 
Darryl Richman’s 1928 BMW 500cc Twin gets some attention so it can get back on the road for Stage 6

30 riders still maintained full miles at the start, but just a few miles into the day’s ride, Class I and overall leader Darryl Richman’s 1928 BMW 500 developed problems, and was loaded onto the truck, missing a valuable 272 miles. Richman was the only Class I entrant to maintain a perfect score through four stages, his name had been atop the leader board since the beginning, as scoring rules indicate the tiebreaker goes to the bike in the lowest class.  But after Day 5, he dropped all the way to 43rd overall. 

Class I officially has a new leader — Rider #9 Claudio Famiano from Italy aboard a 1926 Sunbeam.  Famiano has covered 1243 of a total 1323 miles.  Texan Buck Carson aboard the #3 1927 BSA Single is running a close second by only 9 miles. 


New overall leader, defending 2010 Cannonball Champion Brad Wilmarth prepares his mount for Day 6 on the road.

With no Class I machines maintaining full points, those having ridden all 1323 miles find themselves atop the leaderboard.  And wouldn’t you know it, the top three in the standings are all 2010 Cannonball Entrants who happen to be aboard the very machines they rode in the 2010 Motorcycle Cannonball.  Currently running 3rd overall is Rider # 74 Steve Barber from Saugerties, NY on his 1915 Harley 3-speed.  "Slow" Joe Gardella is aboard his 1914 Harley-Davidson "Grey Ghost" maintaining second place. 

And the new 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball’s leader after 5 days on the road will come as no surprise.  2010 Overall Winner Brad Wilmarth is once again leading the pack on his 1913 Excelsior Single-speed Twin. 

Currently, the top 10 spots belong to Class II machines (machines from 750cc-1000cc), each having covered a perfect 1323 of 1323 miles.  Through 5 Stages, 17 Class III machines have scored full points.

Read AMCA Magazine Editor Bill Wood’s full report from Day 5, here.

Day 5: Anamosa, IA to Spirit Lake, IA

Day 5 of the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball is now complete.  Riders departed Anamosa this morning headed westbound to Spirit Lake, IA, home of the new Indian Motorcycle Assembly Plant.  The stage covered 279 miles of Iowa backroads, and from reports of the riders, the winds were terrible almost all day — at points, strong enough to blow the motorcycle off the road if riders let their guards down for even a moment.  


Motorcycle Cannonball Machines gather at the hotel during the Motorycle Cannonball’s Stage 5 Overnight Stop in Spirit Lake, Iowa.

As of the end of Stage 4, only 30 machines continued to carry a perfect score.  And now, after a fifth day on the road, the field maintaining full points has become even smaller.  While official results are not yet published, we’ve heard rumblings that the Class I leading 1928 BMW ridden by Darryl Richman recorded a DNF for day five, coughing up some valuable miles that separated him from Rider #3 Buck Carson, who has completed all but 81 miles of a possible 1323.  Depending on when Richman’s machine ended the day, there may be a new leader in the 750cc and under Class I. 


Buzz Kanter’s 1929 Harley-Davidson JDH at dusk, prepares for a bit of preventative maintenance after Day 5 of the Motorcycle Cannonball (Photo: Duffey Cycles)

Rider #15 Buzz Kanter continues to run atop the field having ridden all 1323 miles.   So far, he’s been quite impressed with the performance of his 1929 Harley JDH Two-cam, citing its strong engine and good handling, but a little concerned with its weak brakes.   Buzz mentioned the hardest part of the run so far have been the "very long days and very little sleep".  Buzz has been running together on the road with Rider #83 Paul Ousey, who has completed, 1166 of 1323 miles, after ingition problems on day 2 and 3. 


Rider #83 Paul Ousey, left, enjoys a laugh whilel tuning his bike for Day 6 of the Motorcycle Cannonball
(Photo: Duffey Cycles)

Tomorrow’s course is the longest day of the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball, travelling 326 miles to Murdo, SD. Riders will depart early, ane are expected to be on the road well into the the late afternoon or evening.

 Stay tuned for official Day 5 results….

 

Day 4 Scoring: Motorcycle Cannonball rolls into Anamosa

Day 4 of the second ever Motorcycle Cannonball is in the books, and as you can imagine, riders are only 1000 miles into the run and its really beginning to be quite a competition. 

After weather began to separate the field on Day 2, and getting to the Lake Express Ferry on time became an issue on Day 3, several of th competitors were eager to get back on the road for Day 4′s 214 mile run from Milwaukee, WI to Anamosa, IA for a reception at the National Motorcycle Museum.

Here are a look at the current standings after 4 days and 1044 miles.

With 25% of the run complete, the results are quite impressive.  Currently, the overall leader is Darryl Richman from California aboard his 1928 BMW R52.   Read Darryl’s Cannonball Rider Profile, Here.  A total of 30 riders are maintaining a perfect score, and look for Stage 5 from Anamosa to Spirit Lake, IA to be another test of man and machine, covering 279 miles of Iowa backroads.

Two of WTT’s favorite riders, #15 Buzz Kanter and #83 Paul Ousey both received full points on Stage 4, with Buzz currently standing atop Class III with several other riders.

By now, after checking the score sheet over a few days time, I’m sure you’ve noticed that the scoring is fairly straightforward.  However, there have been many questions pertaining several other aspects of the scoring report we receive each day.  Click here to read Bill Wood’s full report from Day 4 on the AMCA website.  He addresses several of those questions in his article.

Official Day Three Results

Day three results are finally in and the action is really heating up for top honors in this year’s Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run.  Take a look at the standings, and pay particular attention to the bikes (brands) running at the top of the field. 

Back in the early 1910s and ’20s, motorcycle manufacturers used their success in speed and endurance competitions as a measure of their equipment, boosting sales with big victories and new records. 

These very machines are competing in the Motorcycle Cannonball, and after three stages the days top manufactureres are well represented at the top of the field.  Only 32 riders maintain a perfect score after 830 miles.  Harley-Davidson leads the pack, having 17 of those 32 riders aboard their sturdy 61" and 74" pocket valve twins.  Henderson follows closely in second place, with 10 machines running at the top of the field.  Indian is somewhat under-represented at the top, with only two machines having received full points. 

 The sole Excelsior still at running at the front of the field is piloted by none other than — you guessed it — 2010 Motorcycle Cannonball Champion, Brad Wilmarth. 

Day four has already concluded, and the official results should be in any time. Stay tuned….updates to come..

 

Day 4 Launch — Milwaukee to Anamosa, IA

Day Four of the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball is officially underway! 

After a long 300 mile day into Milwaukee from Northern Ohio yesterday, riders were treated to a wonderful evening at the Harley-Davidson Museum, before hopping back on their machines this morning for another day on the road.  Day 4′s route is one of the shortest routes of the entire Cannonball, traveling 214 miles from Milwaukee to Anamosa, Iowa, to the National Motorcycle Museum for a Rider reception and special dinner.

Last night, riders spent long hours working on their machines to make sure they were ready to put on the miles, and by this morning, Rider’s were eager to get back on the road and continue the run. 

Jeff Decker, William Buckingham, and Sean Duggan run down the road on a trio of Harley JDs during Day 4 of the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball
Jeff Decker, left, is all smiles on Day 4 of the Cannonball! (Photo Courtesy of Felicia Morgan)

In the photo above, #13 Jeff Decker, #40 William Buckingham and #39 Sean Duggan ride as a trio on their way to Anamosa. This is Decker’s second Motorcycle Cannonball, and his 1928 Harley is running strong.  Buckingham and Duggan are both first-time Cannonballers and have both been running well over the first three days.  By the looks of Buckingham’s machine, Day 3′s fender bender was a quick fix.  Look for the California duo to stick together as the run continues.

Josh Wilson and his 1929 Indian 101 Scout

After a fuel delivery issues on his 1929 Indian 101 Scout caused Rider #89s Josh Wilson’s pants to catch fire early Sunday morning, he has got the problem fixed and is back on the road, aiming for a full score of 214 on Day 4.

#20 Chris Price loads up early during Day 4 of the Motorcycle Cannonball
(Photo courtesy of Felicia Morgan).

We can confirm that at least one rider has cashed in his chips for the day.  Rider #30 Chris Price from Michigan has loaded his 1928 Harley-Davidson JD into the pit truck due to mechanical issues.  Reports tell us that Price will aim to get to Anamosa early, taking advantage of the extra time to get his machine fixed.

Stay tuned for Official Day 3 Results, as well as more reports from Day 4 on the road.

Read AMCA Magazine Editor, Bill Wood’s report on Day Three of the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball.

 

Cannonball Day 3: Racing Against the Clock

Day three of the Motorcycle Cannonball followed a 300 mile course from Sandusky, Ohio to Milwaukee, WI via the hi-speed ferry in Muskegeon, ending at the Harley-Davidson Museum for a special Cannonball dinner and reception.

Motorcycle Cannonballers catch the ferry in Muskegeon, MI on their way to Milwaukee
Cannonballers board the ferry across Lake Michigan during Day 3 of the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball (Photo Nikole Hanna)

Riders raced against the clock in order to make the last boat of the day, as virtually no time was alotted for mistakes or miscalculation.  Rider #3 Buck Carson experience ignition timing problems, and after making mechanical repairs on the road, ended up missing the last ferry across Lake Michigan until the next morning.  Carson was expected into Milwaukee after midnight after having to take the long way around in the back of a trailer.

Rider #3 Buck Carson misses the ferry after timing issues
(Photo Buck Carson)

For a few those that did make the 4:45 ferry, it couldn’t have come soon enough.  Several riders made it in by only minutes, and a few even showed up in tow, due to mechanical issues and/or time constraints.

While Day 3 scoring is still unofficial, we can confirm that more than a handful of riders have covered all of the miles, and when the results are published, will show perfect scores of 830 points through three stages. #15 Buzz Kanter from Team American Iron is among the leaders, and Cannonball veterans Jim Dennie, Steve Barber, and Joe Gardella also maintain perfect scores.

Buzz Kanter receives help fixing a tappet block leak after successfully
Buzz Kanter receives help fixing a tappet block leak after successfully
making it to the ferry across Lake Michigan on Day 3 of the Motorcycle Cannonball. (Photo Nikole Hanna)

A crowd gathers at sunset to welcome the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball Riders at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee
A crowd gathers at sunset to welcome the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball Riders at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee (Photo Staci Trapani-Barber)

Stay tuned for Stage 3 Official Results, and more photos from the days run and HD Museum reception.

Click here to read a story from the Muskegeon Chronicle about Day 3 of the Motorcycle Cannonball.

 

Day 3 Fender Bender

Just got word one of the Cannonball riders was involved in a minor accident during the first part of Day 3.  Rider #40 William Buckingham from California is was a little shaken up, but OK and will continue the run.  His 1929 Harley-Davidson JD obtained some minor damage. 

A Day 3 Fender Bender on the Motorcycle Cannonall 2012 Endurance Run

Pictured from left to right, are Sean Duggan #39, Jeff Decker #12, Buckingham #40, Brittney Olsen, and event organizer Lonnie Isam.

Cannonball After Dark

Getting out and taking a 90 year old motorcycle for a long days ride is tough. It takes preparation and dedication.  Riding one for sixteen days, over 4000 miles, across the country, through rain and snow, through deserts and over mountain passes…….Well, that takes a level of passion most can’t imagine.

In fact, actually riding the machine might be considered the easy part!  When you’re pushing near 100 year old equipment to its max, the amount of hard work, maintenance, and mechanical ability required to keep it on the road is a whole nother story.  The 75-plus riders in this year’s Motorcycle Cannonball knew this when they signed up for the coast-to-coast adventure, and by the end of Day 2, the race was full speed ahead……not just to make it to San Francisco by September 23rd, but to get the bikes back up and running down the road by the next morning.

Parts break and pistons seize.  Magnetos fail and tires go flat.  These are just a few of the issues Cannonallers were dealing with by the end the 310 mile stage two.


(Doug Feinsod gets out the grinder to help him get his Henderson 4-cylinder back up and running for Day 3)

Trailers once only used to haul cars or bikes have been turned into mobile workshops, equipped with large toolboxes, drill presses, air compressors, and cabinets of spare parts.  The fight to stay on the road is now fully underway, and while many Cannonballers are maintaining perfect scores, others are faced with the simple reality that "parts break", especially when they’re over 90 years old.


(Rider #67 Paul D’Orleans of TheVintagent.com works on his 1928 Velocette late into the night)

Weather plays a role on Day 2

When you sign up for a sixteen-day, cross-country motorcycle endurance run, you go into it knowing that at any time along the way, you will encounter weather, traffic, construction, detours, and any other immaginable obstacle.  Long days turn into longer days, and machines are pushed to their limits just to keep pace. 

Matt Olsen in the rain on Day 2 of the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball
(Rider #85 Matt Olsen weathers the storm on his 1928 Harley-Davidson JD)

The obstacles came early and often during Cannonball’s second stage from Wellsboro, PA to Sandusky, Ohio.  Much of the 310-mile course was covered in rain all day, making for tough travels on 85 and 90 year old equipment.  

Rider #88 Doug Wothke reported from the road, "First 100 miles was rain.  Bike stopped running, and when I couldnt fix it with my hammer, I knew it was an electrical problem.  Inside of the magneto had water, so I dried it out along the road, in the rain.(not an easy feat!)  I got it going, and later I stopped for gas, & it wouldnt start. I got it goin about an hour later, & didnt shut it off. Gassed it up running, filled the oil running, etc.  No food today, as I was running late. Finally I thought I had it whopped, but saw a guy with a broke Harley, so stopped to help, & spent some time there. Bike wouldnt start again. Finally got it going, & made it to Cleveland, where the highway was shut down because of a wreck. I fought the traffic for an hour before the bike said "enough" and died. …..So I had to catch a ride to Sandusky"

Our good friend Paul Ousey, Rider #83, aboard a 1929 Harley JD ran strong for over 200 miles despite the rain, but 80 miles from Sandusky his machine stopped running, and he was towed to the stages final destination.  The crew will be hard at work to get him back up and on the road tomorrow.

Defending Motorcycle Cannonball Champion Brad Wilmarth prepares for more rain on Day 2.
(Defending Cannonball Champion Brad Wilmarth prepares for more rain at the Kinzua Dam in Western PA with another Cannonballer. Brad completed Day Two with a perfect score cover all 310 miles.)

The good news is that many riders were able to trudge through the traffic, winds, rain, and other factors and complete the day with full miles.  While Day Two scores aren’t yet available, we’ve heard #15 Buzz Kanter from Team American Iron is running well on his 1929 Harley JDH Two-cam, and finsihed the rainy Day Two test with another perfect score. 

Stay tuned for Day 2 results and information from more of the riders.

Day 2: Weather!!!

Mid-morning reports from the road tell us that weather is playing a bit of a factor on the first leg of stage two.  Thunderstorms are forcasted for much of Western PA through early afternoon, and possibly even hail.  So far riders are safe and having fun, although a little wet!

Wet Weather on Day 2 of the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball

Rider #21 Paul Bessade from France and his 1929 Henderson KJ take a quick break while waiting for the worst of the storm to blow over. (Photo courtesy of Chris Price)

A passer-by give a Cannonballer raincover during Day 2 of the 2012 Motorycle Cannonball!

A Passer-by stops to keep a Cannonballer dry during the first leg of Day 2 from Wellsboro, PA to Sandusky, OH
(Photo courtesy of Felicia Morgan)