Coast-to-Coast on Pre-1916 Motorcycles

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Cannonballers gather for a group photo at Kitty Hawk, N.C., before heading off for Santa Monica, Calif., 3,300 miles away.
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Cannonballers ride through Mississippi.
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Dale Walksler and David Kleptz help Wayne Stanfield fix a flat on his 1915 Harley-Davidson.
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The Coker Tire Museum in Chattanooga provided needed work space.
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Frank Westfall solo in Alabama on his 1914 Henderson.
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Dave Fusiak and 1915 Harley-Davidson at the start.
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Jon Szalay on his single-cylinder 1917 Harley-Davidson 7A.
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Jim Dennie and his 1915 Militaire in Alabama.
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Shinya Kimura’s 1915 Indian.
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Buzz Kanter in Arkansas on his 1915 Harley-Davidson.

On Sept. 10, 2010, 45 riders fired their pre-1916 motorcycles to life and roared off from historic Kitty Hawk, N.C., destination Santa Monica, Calif., some 3,300 miles away. Every bike in the 2010 Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run was built before 1916.

The rally borrows its name from the historic cross-country endurance runs made by Erwin “Cannonball” Baker before and after World War I. Back then, Baker had to follow train tracks and bump his way along rutted dirt roads — if he had any roads at all to follow. While participants in the 2010 rally are sticking to hard surfaces, it’s still a workout.

The riders were scheduled to pull into Santa Monica on Sept. 26, 17 days after they left Kitty Hawk. These photos, taken by motorcycle photographer par excellence Michael Lichter, show entrants during the first half of the rally. They had made it through the country’s mid-section and were heading out into the dry environs of the western states as we went to press with this issue.

Mechanical issues have been surprisingly few, and word is the bikes are generally running better the farther they travel. Although a few riders have had to drop out, most are pushing along strongly, the West Coast and Santa Monica firmly in their sights. Check back next issue for a full report on this amazing coast-to-coast rally. MC

For more motorcycle photos by Michael Lichter, visit Michael Lichter Photography.

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