Daily Update – 9/16/2022
After several days in Springfield, riders were eager to start Stage 1, and between 8:30 and 9:00 this morning, all three classes were finally on their way. But prior to the green flag dropping, Cannonball and Chase veteran Cris Sommer-Simmons conducted the first of 10 daily livestreams, “Coffee with Cris,” interviewing riders as they prepared to depart from the host hotel.
Chasers rolled through southern Illinois along many parts of the original Route 66 1926-1930 alignment. Except for 20 miles of interstate, the route was a pleasant combination of small towns and bucolic backroads, including one section of 66 still paved with original bricks lain nearly a century ago. Near the 80-mile mark, we arrived at Ted’s Motorcycle World, a Honda and Harley-Davidson dealer in Alton, Illinois. The folks at Ted’s cooked up a hot lunch for Chase participants, which was much appreciated by riders and staff. And the dealership’s customers that showed up were fascinated by the antique machines.
The first checkpoint was set up at the Route 66 Red Rocker, the world’s second-largest rocking chair, adjacent to the Fanning Outpost outside of Cuba, Missouri. Here the first of 10 quizzes were administered to riders. This is one major differentiation from the Motorcycle Cannonball: Each day of the Chase, riders must watch for a checkpoint that is not specified on the map. At that checkpoint, each rider must take a 12-question quiz. Prior to the Chase, riders were asked to research the background of Route 66 and to pay attention to where they’d ridden the previous day, as well as brushing up on motorcycle-related history in general, as the quiz is comprised of questions relating to these topics. Each rider’s quiz score is factored into their overall points standings, adding another element of challenge to the Chase.
After the checkpoint, riders continued along two-lanes into Missouri, ending our 212-mile day at Rob & Kricket’s Tater Patch in Rolla. The place was packed, and our hosts, the Rolla Convention & Visitors Bureau, put out a delicious spread for the riders as well as our entire entourage.
Stage 1 was 212 miles, but within four miles of the start, there were riders already on the side of the road, wrenching on their bikes. At mile marker 24, Jake and Ginger Martin (#123) on their 1941 Panhead chopper blew a hole in their piston. These fan favorites had the distinction of having the first on the trailer. They’ve sourced parts and are going to work all night to try to be at the starting line tomorrow.
By mile 50, three bikes had already been loaded onto the trailer, including #23 Chad Martin’s ’32 Harley-Davidson and #17 Matt and Lisa Patchett’s ’47 Knucklehead with sidecar. The Patchetts blew a hole in their rear piston which is too catastrophic to fix, so unfortunately they will need to withdraw from the competition.
By the end of the day, eight bikes ended up on the trailer—one of the most breakdowns of any Chase. But after the first day, points leaders are starting to emerge. At the end of Stage 1, they are: Dave Currier (#64) in Class 1, Richard Campbell (#96) for Class 2, and Tim Burns (#105) in Class 3.
Tomorrow we’ll head to downtown Joplin, Missouri for lunch and the Will Rogers Museum in Claremore, Oklahoma, for dinner. The public is welcome to visit both venues, meet with the riders, and check out the antique motorcycles, some of which are fairly rare and quite possibly never seen before in these areas. We can only hope that many of the early mechanical and electrical problems have been worked out and that Stage 2 will be smoother sailing.
See Stage 1 Scores here: