For 16 consecutive days, 101 die-hard bikers took to America’s highways for a scenic coast-to-coast vintage motorcycle ride. Riders completing the 2012 Cannonball Motorcycle Endurance Run rolled 3,900 miles from the home of the newly opened Motorcyclpedia museum in Newburgh, New York to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco – all on motorcycles made before 1930.
Along the way, riders cruised through a dozen national parks and forests, the Great Lakes of Michigan, the Mississippi River, the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore, the Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park, the Rocky Mountains, the High Desert in Oregon, the Avenue of the Giants and the Pacific Coast Highway. What a ride!
The event commemorates Erwin “Cannonball” Baker’s historic 1922 coast-to-coast ride on a -cylinder Ace motorcycle that set a record at 22 hours and 52 minutes. Baker was a vaudeville performer who turned to racing after winning a dirt-track motorcycle race sometime around 1904 and went on to become a famous motorcycle and automobile racing driver and organizer, as well as the first NASCAR commissioner. He was known for his some 140 record-setting point-to-point drives during which he was paid to promote products of various motorcycle and automobile manufacturers.
This winner of this year’s Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run is Brad Wilmarth who rode a 1913 Excelsior. He’s one of just 19 riders who completed the trip on perfect points, having covered every mile of the course within the time limit for each class. A rowdy but respectable group of 101 riders from throughout the United States, Canada, France, Italy, Australia, Germany, Ireland, Poland and the U.K. participated.
Did you ride in the Cannonball this year? Or do you have a vintage motorcycle you’d like to show off? Post your pics and stories on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook fan page.