Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

2012 Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run II - Coast to Coast

Written by  April 30, 2012

This September 7, the second Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run is going to be rolling out of New York on a 15-day journey across the United States travelling back roads to wind its way through rural America all the way to San Francisco Bay on pre-1930 motorcycles of a variety of makes. This ride is not for the comfort-only inclined. It’s more like for the little-to-no-food-or-sleep inclined that don’t mind pulling a MacGyver on the side of the road and in hotel parking lots on a ride, wrench, repeat cycle, as 2010 entrant Bill Rodencal would coin the phrase during the event. It would become his team’s slogan and even inspired t-shirts.

2010’s run consisted of pre-1916 motorcycles. Imagine how that would feel at the end of a 200–300 mile day. Riding a washboard comes to mind. This year the event has decided to include bikes up to the year 1929 and will be categorized by three different classes. Class I is 500 cc, Class II is 500–1000 cc, and Class III is 1000 cc and up. So far with 74 riders signed up from all over the world, it’s looking to be a pretty exciting ride, and it will be interesting to see how many bikes make it. On 2010’s run, 45 riders began the ride and only 37 rode onto the Santa Monica pier to cross the finish line.

Many of the participants from the previous run will be back at it this year to try it again along with a whole new crowd, amongst them a large group of Henderson riders. This year there will be an unprecedented 17 in all. And, as it happens, this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Henderson motorcycle itself, perhaps lending itself to a little history in the making. It’d be a real feather in the cap of Henderson enthusiasts everywhere for one of their own to win during this milestone year, and no doubt they’ll try. With 17 of them on the run, the odds are in their favor, but only time will tell.

The route itself is being mapped out by noted route master John Classen, whose previous projects have included The Great Race, and famed motorcycle photographer Michael Lichter will be along for the ride again this year after famously riding backwards throughout the entire event in 2010 on a specially designed seat on the back of Carl Olsen’s Panhead to get all the best shots of the riders on the run. Carl himself is well known in the restoration world for his work on vintage bikes and can usually be seen riding one of his beautiful old Knuckleheads or Panheads to events throughout the country.

This year’s run will cover 3,800 miles in roughly 300-mile days or shorter through some of the most scenic routes possible while attempting to stay off the interstates, and so far they’ve done a good job of limiting it to 100 miles of them where it couldn’t be avoided. Not bad, all things considered. All in all, the ride is shaping up nicely, but the work involved in pulling it off successfully is far from over, what with securing additional sponsors and shoring up last-minute details for accommodations, meet & greets with the public and the media, and a whole laundry list of other tasks involved. So stay tuned for more updates in the press and on their official website between now and September for all the latest happenings involving this historic event and the riders themselves, many of which are high profile members of the riding community.

By Rebecca West

Photos courtesy of Motorcycle Cannonball Run