In a bid to go shore-to-shore across the U.S.A. in 17 days on pre-1916 machines, the Motorcycle Cannonball’s field of hardy riders have completed the first four stages of their objective. As expected, drama has already been high with in-route mechanical breakdowns and the accompanying personal heartbreak, a leader-board that continues to change, and plenty of fantastic camaraderie as competitors aid and supports their fellow riders.
With sunny weather and road riding conditions — smoothly paved roads, and scenery that included beautiful waterways and rivers – that Cannonball organizer Lonnie Isam, Jr., termed “nearly perfect,” the pack of vintage motorcycles left Maggie Valley, NC and passed over the Cherohala Skyway and through the Cherokee National Forest and the Cherokee Reservation. Then it was on to Tennessee and Chattanooga, home of Coker Tire World Headquarters. The Coker Company hosted a dinner for the riders, support crews, and event staff. Coker is supplying tires for a number of the Cannonball riders’ classic motorcycles.
Felicia Morgan, director of communications for the endurance ride, reports that there have already been a number of changes in the top ranks of the Cannonball rider standings that cover three classes of motorcycles. Fans of any particular rider can follow his or her progress via daily posting on the Cannonball website. Today’s ride (9-14-10) is the fifth stage and covers 210 miles from Chattanooga, TN to Tuscumbia, AL. Morgan says this stage includes curvy, uphill climbs and follows along the Tennessee River, crossing it twice. Rocket Harley-Davidson in Huntsville, Alabama will give riders lunch and Foster H-D in Tuscumbia will provide dinner. At the end of the day, riders will have logged over 1,000 of the event’s total 3,294 miles. Stage six on September 15 will put the entrants in Lula, Mississippi.
In all, the Motorcycle Cannonball riders will pass through 11 states before concluding in Santa Monica, CA on September 26. There are entries from around the world. Complete information about the Motorcycle Cannonball, including route details, rider profiles, and current standings is available at www.motorcyclecannonball.com.