Motorcycle Cannonball Update. Part 5.

After exactly 1400 miles (and a little bit more for those who made navigation mistakes), all riders and pre-1916 motorcycles take a well deserved rest day in Hot Springs, Arkansas. For motorcycles,  I should say maintenance and repair day for machines not supposed to take this kind of abuse. For riders, well you guess  that it is physically and mentally extremely challenging. Have you ridden so long on a rigid frame, spending almost all your nights fixing bugs, machining parts or helping others do it? So, at almost half the Run, what lessons can be drawn about this event that will probably go down in the books as one of the greatest motorcycle events, not only for the required endurance, but also because it exemplifies what motorcycling is all about: freedom, camaraderie, tenacity and courage.

First, some of the favorite riders had troubles right in the beginning, proof that even well prepared machines by the best restorers can reserve surprises and that the winner in each class can’t be known for sure until he arrives in Santa Monica. Good, it’s more excitement for all riders and for us observers. Second, organizers did a terrific job at mapping each stage  along the safest and most scenic roads of the State crossed by the participants, at protecting/supervising/assisting riders during each ride, at providing at stage arrival a place where riders can both work on their machines and enjoy each other during group dinners. Third, the organizers demonstrated, if necessary, that a biker journey is never about money…but about accomplishment.

Unexpected on my side, the largest number of direct emails I receive from you my readers since September 10th – date of the Cannonball departure – is about requesting  more updates. Maybe next year (we all now expect there will be a next year) I should do a live video broadcast from the road. Decision after riders reach the west coast. (Matt Olsen told me yesterday evening that his girl is on her way to his home in Aberdeen, SD to pamper him…)

Story in the story. Photographer Michael Lichter is shooting all the 3300 miles of the Run, seated backward on the back of a Panhead on a special seat fabricated by Carl Olsen, actually attempting a Guinness Book Of World Records. (photo Erwin G. “Cannon Ball” Baker. Paul Thompson/FPG/Stringer/Getty Images)

Updated ranking as of today September 17, 2010.

15 Responses to “Motorcycle Cannonball Update. Part 5.”

  1. 1 David Uhl Sep 17th, 2010 at 11:55 am

    I agree with your assessment sir, what an adventure of a lifetime. I cant wait to see the video that Loy produces, and all Michaels shots.

  2. 2 Troy Sep 17th, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    What an amazing & historical motorcycle run. Thank god this is no Hoka Hey event.

  3. 3 raycwheeler Sep 17th, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Quite the event of this life time.
    Looking forward to meeting the riders and followers in Victorville and Santa Monica .
    ray usa

  4. 4 Kirk Perry Sep 17th, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    The Hot Springs is worth the ride.
    You’ll see people walk into the shallow end bent, and then walk out loose.

    That, a nap and a jolt from a spark plug should put you right.

  5. 5 ragingbull Sep 17th, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Thanks for the updates Cyril. I think a live video feed next year would be fantastic. Here’s another resource that is available if anyone’s interested :

  6. 6 jeez louise! Sep 17th, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Riding down from Victoria in BC to Santa Monica to see these guys and their bikes finish a heroic journey most of us can only dream of If we could even imagine it. I,m hoping to see as many riders as possible as we all wish for also, good luck to each and every one of them.

  7. 7 Old boardtrack wannabe Sep 17th, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    What happened to Lonnie Isham jr. ? I haven’t seen his name anywhere? Did he break down Cyril? I hope this becomes a yearly event as it sounds like an experience equal to none! Thank’s Cyril!

  8. 8 Joe D Sep 18th, 2010 at 6:54 am

    I was there yesterday for the “day of rest” to cover the event for the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame.

    The rest day pretty much consists of everyone doing everything from maintenance to complete engine rebuilds. The dedication and enthusiasum of the participants is amazing.

    We did several interviews and took numerous still pictures that can be viewed at next week sometime.

    We have a new website getting ready to launch and will start with content from this great event.

    Have a great day Cyril.

    Joe D.

  9. 9 Buzz Kanter Sep 18th, 2010 at 7:28 am

    What an amazing ride i has been so far. Of the 70 riders signed up, 45 started in Kitty Hawk. Some of the greatest riders and wrenches I have ever met. After 1400 miles and 7 days of riding, there are about 40 bikes left and only 12 of us are still carrying perfect scores. I feel privileged to be one of them, and my riding partner and engine builder Dave Fusiak is too.
    If you can find any way to see us along the stops it is well worth your time and effort. This is the ride of a lifetime.

  10. 10 Don Emde Sep 18th, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Hey Cyril, great job with your blog, and the coverage of the Cannonball Run. They are all obviously having a great time (except Matt Olsen of course). In that boardtrack photo, I am pretty sure that is Jake DeRosier rather than Cannonball Baker. DeRosier was one of Indian’s first factory riders and specialized in boardtrack racing, and later died from injuries after a big crash. Great shot of his Indian race bike!

  11. 11 Bradley K Sep 18th, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Awesome coverage & hats off to all the riders.

  12. 12 Kirk Perry Sep 19th, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Occhio Lungo story is a behind the scenes look.

    The Shinya group effectively brings Japan M/C style to the forefront.

  13. 13 Wiz Sep 21st, 2010 at 7:52 am

    Way Cool Beans!!! I rode a 1940 flathead to Sturgis a couple of times and my bandana is off to those folks doing this run. Where’s the challenge in just hittin’ a button? This is what it’s all about, the MACHINE!! Your efforts bringing you down the road. You gave that hunk of aluminum and steel life and it’s very soul. God love ya for it. In the immortal words of the Ol’ Poop “HIGH HO HIPPO!!!” Wiz

  14. 14 Rob Sep 24th, 2010 at 9:30 am

    I cannot wait for them to come through our town today. I have to work but plan on heading to Mother Road HD about 1PM in the hopes that is when they will start arriving. Each day reading updates makes the event more exciting and I am envious of the riders who are participating.

    I hope next year the event is held again and would love to see gps locators added to the cannonball website.

    Good Luck to all in this event!

  1. 1 Motorcycle Cannonball Update – Sturgis Museum Covers the Event | ProRidersMarketing Pingback on Sep 18th, 2010 at 7:00 am
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Cyril Huze