Friday, September 14, 2012

Thus. 6 Sept., I drove to Greenwich, Ct. and picked up Carlos Escudero at his shop, Solo Moto, and we drove to Newburg, N.Y. to the base hotel of the 2012 Cannonball run,  a ride from there to San Francisco over 16 days for pre 1930 motorcycles.  Carlos had been hired by one of the participants to be part of his support crew.  When we got there, they were just finishing up replacing a tappet and pushrod that broke.  I cruised the lot and smoozed with several competitors I knew.  I had race with Norm Nelson many times back in the '90s and now he was riding a 1929 R11 BMW 750 flathead with a team based in Jacksonville, Fl.  There were two other BMWs entered: a 1928 R52 and '28 R62.

I also race with Art Farley regularly.  Art is from Michigan and was doing the Cannonball on a '28 Harley. 

Also Harley mounted is Buzz Kanter, who I often see at Moto Giros.  Paul d'Oleans, who I know through the Velocette Owners Club of N.A. and his Vintagent blog, was on the only OHC machine, a '28 KTT Velo.

 Joe Gardella had an extra ticket to the official kick-off dinner which he gave me and all he ask in return was to take a 'tour' of his 1914 Harley.  This is the same bike he rode on the first Cannonball in 2010, when machines were limited  to 1916.  His internal mods were extensive, but externally the only mods were a later fork and a front brake.  These are considered safety modifications and are allowed and even encouraged.  I chatted with a fellow who brought his Harley from his native South Africa, and he had cleverly attached a disc brake rotor to the spokes, rather than the hub, of his front wheel.

 I wondered if that would put undue stress on the spokes, but he said he had done 400miles of shake down and was quite confident in it.  But, there were quite a number with no front brakes, as original; brave.
Carlos and I returned to his house in Greenwich for the night with the intention of getting up early and making it back to Newburg by 7 am for the start.  But, when we got to his house, he got a text message from his rider saying the bike had seized and they were coming to Greenwich to work on it.  So, Fri. morning, I drove back to Newburg to the Motorcyclepedia Museum for the start.  There was quite a big crowd of fans and well wishers, some who came on interesting bikes themselves, like this 1930 Scott 2 speed.

And a Hesketh.

It was a truly wonderful scene as the rider took off through the crowd into the street amid much cheering and applause.  Some of the bikes looked dubious to make it out of town, let alone 3800 miles to S.F.

You can follow the Cannonball's progress at:
After the participants had left, I went into the museum to check out the new exhibit of Japanese M/Cs of the '60s and '70's and the new acquisition of a replica of Sylvester Ropers first steam cycle, the 1867 'boneshaker'. 

This was made by William Eggers of Goshen, Ct. and someone told me he might be at the museum as they had seen him the day before at the base hotel.  I call him, but he was home 'up to his elbows in mud and grease working on his tractor', but he invited me to visit sometime.

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