Vintage Motorcycles Race Into Cape

The ultimate motorcycle endurance ride across America completes one stage of the race in Downtown Cape Girardeau Tuesday, September 9th at 4:30 pm. The Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run is special because only pre-1937 motorcycles are allowed in the race; making this coast to coast ride unique and difficult. This is an international race with riders from as far away as Italy, Ireland, Germany, and Poland.

Here's how it works. The race has 16 stages (stops). Stage one began in Daytona, Florida. Riders average 300 miles a day for just over two weeks and are timed as they cross the checkpoint at each stage. After nearly 4000 miles, the race ends and a winner is announced September 21 in Tacoma, Washington. Cape Girardeau is Stage 6 of the race.

This endurance race is inspired by Erwin "Cannonball" Baker. In 1914, he set an 11 day cross country record riding an Indian Motorcycle.  “Cannonball” set many motorcycle and automobile records in the early 20th century. He was so popular that during his transcontinental races, entire towns shut down just to see him as he made his way cross country.

You can be a part of this historic event by cheering for the 2014 coast to coast riders as they cross the Stage 6 checkpoint in Downtown Cape at Merriwether and Spanish Street. An announcer will give the rider’s names as well as the motorcycle’s year and make, so you don’t have to guess about what you’re seeing.  These antique bikes along with local motorcycles will park on Spanish Street until 6:30 pm. This is a great time to get a close look at the machines and visit with the riders.

Danny Essner, Cape Race Stage 6 Coordinator, says The Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run is something you’ve got to experience; it may not come this way again for a long time, if ever. That’s because the coast to coast race occurs every other year and the route across the country changes each time.

Here is what you need to know to make the most out of this event:

  • Parking is available on Main Street, at Isle Casino, and in the parking lot across from Hutson’s Fine Furniture Store. (Avoid Spanish Street.)
  • Riders begin arriving in Downtown Cape at 4:30 pm. The checkpoint will be at Merriwether and Spanish Streets. (This is where you want to be to see the riders and hear the announcer.)
  • You can view the Race bikes as well as local motorcycles on Spanish Street.
  • Downtown restaurants and other vendors will be open, so make an evening of it and enjoy the party atmosphere.
  • The Cannonball Run riders will leave downtown at 6:45 sharp and will go down Broadway to Kingshighway. (Anywhere along Broadway is a good place to watch the parade of motorcycles. Pick a spot by 6:30pm and enjoy the view.)
  • Don’t forget your camera.

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