The Chase spent another day in Springfield, Illinois, as we worked our way towards Stage 1. The morning began with breakfast and a mandatory rider meeting which included a classroom session delivered by course master John Classen who described in detail how to read and understand the daily maps, as well as some of the logistics of the route. The meeting also entailed a rider safety briefing given by Chase medic Vicki SanFelipo.
Organizer Jason Sims provided some stats for the Chase: out of the 89 registrants, 63 are riding Harley-Davidsons, 7 are piloting Indians, and 19 are on other brands. Four countries are represented, as well: the U.S., Canada, Germany, and South Africa. Also discussed was the Love of Old Motorcycles organization which this year sponsored four young riders. This program will not only continue to sponsor riders with loaned motorcycles and financial support for the Chase and the Cannonball but will also expand to include antique road runs and events like Sons of Speed and The Race Of Gentlemen.
Mid-afternoon saw riders depart for Route 66 Motorheads Bar & Grill in Springfield, just a few miles from our hotel. The folks at Route 66 Motorheads were fabulous hosts, dedicating their entire dining area to Chase participants and providing riders with a bountiful buffet and cold drinks. Also onsite is a fun Route 66 and Motor Museum and a gift shop stocked with branded merchandise. The public turned out in droves for the event as Motorheads is a very popular spot for both the car and the bike crowd. And there were some special guests as well—Abe and Mary Todd Lincoln showed up to welcome everyone! In fact, as Springfield’s most famous resident, Abe actually got to wave the green flag while he and his wife sent the riders off.
Shortly after group and individual photos of Chase riders, the 26-mile prologue continued. And for the first time in both Chase and Cannonball history, all 88 riders who started this morning finished with all the miles! Tonight, both inside and outside the garage was some tech activity which mostly involved things like checking connectors, tightening bolts, and performing a few minor repairs. Most likely, this type of activity will get more intense as the riders put on more miles every day.
Tomorrow is the start of Stage 1 which will bring the Chase to Alton, Illinois, where Ted’s Motorcycle World will host the riders for lunch. Later in the day, Rob and Kricket’s Tater Patch in Rolla, Missouri, will provide dinner for the riders as well. This will be the first full-length riding day, so let’s see who arrives at the final checkpoint with a still-perfect score!