Motorcycle Cannonball Update Day 1
The first day started pretty slowly with all the bikes (about 98) all lined up on the sand of Daytona Beach for a fabled “yardlong” photo by Michael Lichter. We arrived at 8 am an were barely finished by 9:30 a half hour before the first riders leave.
We had reports of Ormond Beach motorcycle police pulling over Cannonballers and ticketing them. Really? And it was true. We saw 2 Ormond Beach bike cops pull over our riders. I left with my 3 Adventure Power’s Team American Iron partners (Paul Ousey, Cris Sommer Simmons and Pat Simmons, and our mutual pal Jim Petty. We rode 4 Harleys and one Indian (Petty).
It is the shortest ride of the event at about 140 miles. I guess much of that has to do with the send off and photos. I did not see it but hear reports of several bikes with serious technical issues (one was reported to have caught on fire) before or shortly after the start of the event. Within 50 miles we passed a few bikes on the roadside with issues. Then at lunch we caught up with many of the riders. Shortly after lunch Cris was sidelined when she blew another head gasket on her Harley flathead. The four of us left her for the sweep truck and kept going. Hard thing to do to leave your friend and team mate, but it was the right thing to do. An hour later the skies opened up and poured heavy rain on use. So heavy, sometimes we could not see more than 20 or 30 feet in front of us and I worried about hydroplaning on the road.
We did make it in to the end stag with less than 15 minutes to spare so Paul, Pat and I got full miles for the day and Cris fell short. As I am typing this in my hotel room we have a team of mechanics working on Cris’ bike to get her back up and running in the morning.
As for the other riders, we have heard 2 bikes caught on fire and as many as a dozen broke down badly enough that they needed to be trailed in. That is a lot, even with the record number of riders, from all over the world, this year. Tomorrow is another day, and a much longer one. I will try to report if I can. – Buzz Kanter
For more info on the Motorcycle Cannonball please visit www.Motorcyclecannonball.com