Motorcycle Cannonball hits the road

August 11, 2018

STURGIS — Since its inception in 2009, the Motorcycle Cannonball has been the most difficult endurance antique motorcycle run in the world and in this, it’s fifth year, 110 cannonballers will spend Sept. 8-23 navigating the 3,674 miles from Portland, Maine to Portland, Ore.

“It is a competition, we call it an endurance run,” Jason Simms, promoter/owner of the motorcycle cannonball said. “You get a point for every mile that you make it.”

The route is planned and personally ridden by Sims so each rider can receive detailed daily route instructions at the start of every ride.

“The riders know what city we start in and what city we end in every day,” Sims said. “But they don’t know any of the stuff in between until they’re riding that day.”

This year the run stops in Sturgis on Sept. 16 and will spend its only rest day in the area.

The run must take place on vintage bikes manufactured no later than 1928. On average the riders will be expected to travel 250-280 miles per day with at least a one-hour rest period where host families will have prepared meals for them. Around 218 support crewmembers will follow the riders including mechanics, healthcare professionals, and well-wishers.

Andrea Labarbara, an airline pilot from Foxborough, Mass., will be riding in the endurance run for the first time this year, her husband Bob will be riding along in the support group.

“We are certainly rookies to it,” Labarbara said. “Motorcycles are our passion, but the classic motorcycle group; we’re new to that.”

Labarbara is one of only four women that will be riding in this years event, she will be making her way across the back roads of 13 states on a 1913 Henderson.

“They nicknamed it the hummingbird, because she just hums right along,” she said. “It’s just comfortable. I’ve been cruising along on it in the low fifties (mph).”

Labarbara said the unpredictability of the weather, traveling from coast to coast is the one factor she’s most concerned over; however, she’s not willing to let a little discomfort stand in her way.

“I’m pretty competitive,” she said. “They’d have to say the race is off for me to stop.”

The cannonballers will tour the Black Hills before continuing their journey heading to Billings, Montana.

“Everyone should come out to see these rolling museums,” Sims said of the precession of vintage bikes that will be rambling through Sturgis in mid September.

The Pioneer will continue to cover the progress of the Motorcycle Cannonball both in print and online.

To learn more about the Motorcycle Cannonball visit www.motorcyclecannonball.com.

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