On Sunday, Sept. 10, 78 antique motorcycles stopped by the famous Dale’s Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. The riders were on their way from Virginia Beach, Virginia, to Huntington Beach, California, all on motorcycles built before 1943.
The Cannonball lunch stop at the museum was welcomed by a large crowd of spectators who had come to see the riders and bikes. The museum provided lunch, free museum entry, and access to the museum shop and equipment for repairs.
Read the press release below for more information, and visit the Cannonball website for daily updates as the run continues toward the West Coast.
Dale’s Wheels Through Time, home to America’s premier collection of rare and vintage American motorcycles, hosted the 2023 Motorcycle Cannonball, an event dubbed “the most difficult antique endurance run in the world,” on September 10th.
The quiet and sunny morning was soon filled with the sound of history as 78 antique motorcycles stopped by.
A biannual event, the Motorcycle Cannonball is a multi-day cross-country journey that sees antique motorcycles and their riders compete in a test of endurance for both man and machine.
The coast-to-coast endurance event started on September 8th in Virginia Beach, VA, and concludes sixteen days later as riders cross the finish line on September 24th, some 3,800 miles later, in Huntington Beach, CA.
Starting around noon, riders from across the United States and around the world, ranging in age from 23 to 81 years old, begin to roll in as they raced from Charlotte, NC, on their way to Maryville, TN. This year’s riders are all on motorcycles built before 1943.
“We always enjoy hosting the Cannonball riders,” said museum curator Matt Walksler, “This event connects to the heart of our museum and its vision to tell the story of the American motorcycle and shows that these machines are made not just to sit but to be ridden and enjoyed.”
During the riders’ lunch break, Cannonball director Jason Sims said “We’re glad to be back here at Wheels Through Time, we were here just two years ago, and it seems like an even bigger crowd this year.”
While pit-stopped at the museum, the riders displayed their machines and answered questions from museum guests about their bikes and their journey thus far.
Local antique motorcycle enthusiast Gary Brace of Waynesville, North Carolina, aboard a 1928 Harley-Davidson JD, relayed his experience as a first-time Cannonballer, saying that he “had a few hiccups, but we made it, and that’s what counts.” Brace entered towards the back of the pack with clutch issues, but after a few quick fixes, Brace said he “felt like a new man and ready to hit the road.”
Dave Currier, winner of the last Cannonball event, sporting the number-one plate, was aboard one of the oldest machines in the event: a 1911 Harley-Davidson. Despite the machine’s age, Currier said, “The motorcycle is running pretty good; we’ll have to see what we’ve got ahead of us coming out of the museum.” Dave then pedaled out of the museum’s parking lot on his four-horsepower, belt-driven motorcycle, ready for over 3,000 more miles.
To keep up with the scores and progress of the Motorcycle Cannonball riders, visit the Motorcycle Cannonball website. For more information on the museum, including how you can win a 1937 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead Bobber, go to the Wheels Through Time website.