Updated 09/05/2012 06:11 PM
Motorcycle race helping to preserve history
It's a 16 day, 3,800 mile cross-country race on motorcycles. But to compete in the 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball, you have to ride a bike built before 1930. Our Brian Dwyer has more with the North Country man taking part and all the time and effort it took to get his bike ready.
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ADAMS CENTER, N.Y. -- After riding in the first ever Motorcycle Cannonball two years ago, Erik Dunk was ready to pass on the second one this year.
But the route for this year, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, the Rockies, even the Golden Gate Bridge, was too good to pass up.
"I'm going because I'm crazy and I like to have fun," Dunk said. "I love motorcycles and Harley Davidson."
The Cannonball is a 16 day, 3,800 mile race from New York to San Francisco. The caveat being the bike has to have been built before 1930. For the race, all Dunk had was a frame of a 1929 Harley J-model. So he and his team got to work. They hit up eBay, websites, business contacts and personal friends. Getting the parts wasn't easy, but they got them.
"Harley's not making them anymore," said Iron Block's Chad DeShayes, who led the parts search. "The people that have the parts usually don't want to part with them because they're kind of rare and hard to find. There's three to four years where they made the parts for this bike, so it's a needle in the haystack."
But even then the job wasn't over. Now the puzzle had to be pieced together. Months went into restoration. The vintage parts, the rebuilt parts, even creating stuff. After it was done, the last test was taking it out. He did and now Dunk says it's ready to go the distance.
"I had a ball because we didn't have to have it perfect. It's kind of what we call a rat rod bike. A lot of stuff is just made up."
The bike, pieced together, may not look like many of the bikes in the race. Some are restored to perfect condition. But that's what those who worked on it say makes it special.
"You get our bike, Erik's bike, next to everyone else and you get the mask, you have headlights, it all looks different," Justin Hunold of Iron Block said. "You can pick it out in a crowd and say we worked on that. That's ours. We did that."
A chance to preserve and show off a piece of American History.
"Dealers like us and other people that are in this type of environment help to keep that heritage going. I think it's very important to the industry," Dunk said.
An industry that gets a lot of love from those who love it's past.
You can follow along with Dunk and all of the other riders at www.motorcyclecannonball.com. It will be updated daily with blogs, videos and more.