2010 Motorcycle Cannonball Run Preview

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Cannonball Run News

This coming Sunday, Sept. 12, over 65 men and women from around the globe will visit the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, N.C., as part of the first ever Motorcycle Cannonball Run.

Beginning in Kitty Hawk, N.C., riders will compete on motorcycles built prior to 1916 in a coast-to-coast endurance race ending in Santa Monica, Calif., on Sept. 26.

The Motorcycle Cannonball Run, named after Erwin “Cannonball” Baker — a once-famous motorcycle and automobile racer who set over 140 endurance records from 1910 through the late-1930s — will depart the birthplace of aviation in North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Friday, Sept. 10, making its way across the great United States on a 16-day, 3,300-mile trek to the Pacific Ocean’s west coast in Southern California.

Nearly 70 riders have signed up for the first-year event, in hopes of proving the durability and reliability of their nearly century-old equipment.

The run will cover approximately 200-230 miles per day, travelling mostly back roads and two-lane highways, as many of the machines on the run are over 100 years old and are unable to sustain speeds in excess of 35 or 40 miles per hour.

Riders are scheduled to stop in Greenville, NC and Concord, NC for overnight stops on their way towards Maggie Valley.

Machines will begin descending into Maggie Valley around 3 p.m. on Sunday for a special tour of the Wheels Through Time Museum.

Motorcycles competing in the event will be on display for visitors through the early evening, as well as dozens over other antique motorcycles that are accompanying the riders.

Wheels Through Time Museum curator and founder, Dale Walksler, will also be competing in the run aboard his 1915 Harley-Davidson, with teammate Wayne Stanfield of Tustin, CA.

Dale Walksler says: “We’ve done all we can to prepare each machine for the cross-country trek, but realize that its going to be an enormous challenge, regardless of how much effort has gone into getting these machines ready for the road.”

While over 65 riders are competing in the event, it is expected that far fewer will finish. Riders must be aboard machines 95 years and older, which imposes serious threats and limitations, including primitive engine design, lack of spare parts, and out-dated brakes.

Dale Walksler says: “There are very few that have ridden motorcycles for such a long distance. And there are even fewer who’ve done it on a 95 year old machine. Completing this run will be a true test of endurance, stamina, and grit, but it will also take an experienced hand when it comes to the mechanics of a motorcycle this old!”

Wheels Through Time is open Thursday-Monday, from 9a.m.-5p.m., and will be holding demonstrations of many almost century-old motorcycles and automobiles throughout the weekend. The welcome ceremony for Cannonball Riders will be held at approximately 5 p.m. on Sunday, with museum hours extended until 7 p.m.