- Written by webmin
Photo courtesy Don Emde
Don Emde, winner of the 1972 Daytona 200, has announced a new multi-year project that will retrace the record-setting 3,378-mile, 11-1/2-day route completed by Cannonball Baker in 1914. The historic feat shaved almost nine days off the existing record at a time when there were few highways west of the Mississippi, yet the 30-year-old Cannonball shocked the naysayers by completing the San Diego to New York ride aboard his Indian V-Twin. Cannonball went on to set more than 140 records aboard both motorcycles and cars, and competed in the Indianapolis 500 as well.
Emde’s “Cannon Ball Project” will attempt to find the exact route taken by Baker, including many roads that no longer exist. Riding bikes provided by KTM North America, and sponsored by Parts Unlimited, Don and a staff writer from Don Emde Publications will navigate stretches of the trip in segments over the next 18 months and document the difficulties Baker encountered during his historic feat. The riders will have modern creature comforts, namely the KTM 990 Adventure motorcycles they will be riding (Baker’s Indian had very little suspension and was only around 10hp) and probably hundreds more gas stations than Cannonball would have encountered 97 years ago. We are hoping the project will be completed and documented in both print and video in time for the 100th anniversary of the event.
Photo courtesy Wheels Through Time Museum
The completion of the original 1914 record run was public relations heaven for Indian at the time, attesting to the brand name’s mechanical reliability, further bolstering Indian’s reputation among racers and riding enthusiasts, at a time when there were several hundred motorcycle manufacturers selling bikes instead of the handful that survived the Great Depression. You can follow the progress of Emde’s Cannonball Project at CannonballProject.com.