After a rough start yesterday, Motorcycle Cannonball riders met day two with relief when they discovered the temperatures in York, Pennsylvania would not include 100-degree weather and the route would be void of intercity traffic. The 228 mile route on Stage 2 would include beautiful landscape through planted fields and quaint towns, but caused a bit of grief for those with the smaller engines struggling to climb the Appalachian mountains. By day's end some 18 motorcycles would be on the sweep truck. Even though this was just the second day of the two weeks the riders will send traversing the country, it's been difficult, already. The charred remains of John Pfeiffer's 1915 H-D cast a pall over the event on day one and word of the crash of Scott Jacobs when he encountered gravel on a downhill stop on day two startled us all into somber caution, making us grateful to have our own private nurse along. Vicki Sanfilipo is a registered nurse, EMT, and founder of Road Guardians, an Accident Scene Management program and she accompanied Scott and Sharon to the local hospital. The couple will stay behind and arrange surgery on his broken shoulder as the rest of the group continues to make their way to sunny Southern California.
The Motorcycle Cannonball has begun..and we're off! After a gathering on Atlantic City's famous historic Boardwalk, 90 riders pointed their tire treads west and were graciously escorted out of town by the local motorcops. Officers were concerned about the safety of the riders as well as the 100+year old motorcycle's health since the route included a number of traffic lights. Combined with the high temperatures and a staggering 88% humidity, the geriatric machines were destined for failure so the concerned officers volunteered to escort the Cannonball riders out of downtown without having to stop at stop lights. Even so, several of the motorcycles still broke down and sweep vehicles towed some 27 wounded warriors back to safety in York, Pennsylvania.
Motorcycle Cannonballs riders have arrived in Atlantic City. Registration and tech inspections on the pre-1916 motorcycles has begun. In less than 48 hours riders will set off on their transcontinental tour of 15 states across America's backroads. Some riders are still making their machines ready and all are anxious about the journey ahead. Follow along here for daily updates, riders scores and photographs of the adventures.
In 2010, a good friend of mine, Cris Sommer-Simmons was doing a vintage motorcycle race across the country on a 1915 Harley. I didn’t know much about it then, but thought it sounded like an incredible adventure. In 2012, my husband, Scott Jacobs decided to do the race himself, and I figured I would ride along on my new Harley. Not only had I never ridden a foot clutch or tank shift bike before, I had never ridden any bike 4000 miles at one time. When I saw and felt the bond between the riders, I knew that I wanted to be a part of it next time. We started looking for bikes that met the criteria for 2014, and found not one, but two 1936 HD VLH bikes. I chose the 3 speed instead of the 4 speed, and after having it completely restored, I learned how to ride it. That was the easy part.
Day 1 - Seized my pistons! Day 2 - Replaced the pistons with over 70’s in an 80 bore, and managed to finish that day! Day 3 - Seized my pistons!!! Yes, really. Thankfully, because we had the other ’36, we stripped the top end, and overnighted it to the hotel. My mechanics changed everything out within 3 hours. Unfortunately, I had lost two full days because we had to wait until Monday to ship, so although I was out of contention, I wanted to finish what I started. I crossed the finish line after 17 days, (the last 12 days with a perfect score) and not only was it a physical accomplishment, but also an emotional and personal victory! When Lonnie announced the 2016 Century Race, I started looking for the next machine to conquer this feat. Watch me in 2016 where I’ll be riding a 1915 Harley-Davidson F11 with my wonderful and supportive Cannonball Family. Can’t wait!!!
I have two creeds: “life is good” and “ If you can dream it, you can do it!” Motorcycle Cannonball fits both of these creeds as this is an exceptionally way to feel that “life is good” riding and living with friends and family through beautiful America. Freedom is the most important thing we can have and people did grow their freedom by building and riding motorcycles and cars. It was the freedom of travelling whenever and wherever you want. The Harleys, Davidsons and Fords had a dream and did it! I realized a lot of my dreams in the past 50 years and now it is time for one more dream come true: Cannonball 2016.
My name is Paul-Emile BESSADE, I’m a 59 Frenchmen, but living in Uruguay (South America) were I own a Farm growing cows for meat purpose only. We live there with my wife and my youngest son since 2004. Uruguay it’s a very small but nice country where life is quiet and sweet.
In 2016 I will try to do my third Cannonball, I was there in 2012, and 2014 with a 1929 4 Cylinders Henderson, achieving with all the miles only in 2014, in 2012 we broke all the valves on by one until it’s runs clear. This time I decided to buy a Harley Davidson 1915 3 speeds just for the purpose of the rally. A very nice man L. I. found the bike in Seattle and I just bought it trusting my friend in his choice. But this time the challenge will be far more much difficult, and for me the goal is: just do it, do as much as you can, try to arrive as far as you can, and ENJOY EVERY SECOND YOU DRIVE, there will be perhaps no second opportunity to do this in your life. I’m very excited by this event and just want to add that I came very late to the motorcycles beginning in 2004 with a 1961 BMW R 69 S, and then falling in love with pre 1945 bikes.