This event for 1916 or older motorcycles to ride across the US from Atlantic City, NJ to Carlsbad, CA looks to be the toughest one yet. The first Motorcycle Cannonball (2010) was for 1915 and older bikes from Kitty Hawk, NC to Santa Monica, CA. The second one was in 2012, for motorcycles 1929 and older, from New York to San Francisco, CA. And the third one was Daytona Beach, FL to Tacoma, WA for up to 1936 motorcycles.
This year, the age of the bikes was dropped back to 1916 or older, so all motorcycles are at least 100 years old. Scoring is pretty basic, the rider gets a point for every mile he or she (3 women riders started the event, including American Iron Magazine columnist Cris Sommer Simmons) rides on the course and during the allocated time. If the bike is picked up and trailered 15 miles, he or she loses 15 points. In take by 10 minutes at the end of the day – you lose 10 points.
Class I bikes are single-cylinder, single-speeds, Class II is multi-cylinder single-speeds, and Class III is multi-cylinder and multi-speed transmissions. In the event of a tie, the older bike scores higher, then Class I beats Class II and Class II beats Class III. If there is still a tie, the older rider scores higher than the younger one. Got it?
This year’s event has been the most challenging yet with many seasoned riders already dropping out of the event with mechanical problems they can’t fix. Typically the riders fix the machines on the side of the road or at the host hotel’s parking lot at night. One of the biggest issues here is the lack of available parts for bikes this old, and many of the riders wanted the edge of older machines if possible as they score higher.
At the end of Day 3 of the 2016 Motorcycle Cannonball, the top 5 riders, in order, are:
#1 Dean Bordigioni on a Class I 1914 Harley
#2 Frank Westfall on a Class II 1912 Henderson (he is reported to have bounced off an 18-wheeler truck yestarday but got in with full points)
#3 Mark Loewen on a Class II 1912 Excelsior
#4 Bryne Nramwell on a Class II 1913 Henderson
#5 Fred Wacker on a Class II 1913 Indian.
Of the 89 machines to officiall start the event this year, only 27 are still holding full points at the end of Day 3.