Thursday, September 16, 2010


'Endurance Run'; that's what the Cannonball website proclaims, and indeed it has proved to be. Like cantankerous old men and ladies, many of the 100 year old motorcycles have complained, broken, been repaired, and out of sheer cussedness, thrown off at least one rider thus far.  Youngest competitor Matt Olsen, who essentially created his Sears from a few original parts, experienced a wobble after banging through a pothole, which developed into a tank-slapper and threw him heavily onto the road.  Broken bones and abrasions resulted, but he'll recover completely.  He's a plucky fellow, and will undoubtedly resume his adventures on old motorcycles very soon - here's to a speedy recovery Matt!
 The chart below gives the list of motorcycles currently on the ride, and gives an idea of the percentage of machines which failed to complete any given stage, plus the 13 riders who have perfect scores thus far.  Anyone taking bets?
 Here's the story on Matt Olson's crash, from the Motorcycle Cannonball website:
"Scottsboro, AL~September 14, 2010 – Matt Olsen, Motorcycle Cannonball rider #85, has crashed his motorcycle while riding the Stage 5 section of the historical shore-to-shore run that is on day 5 of the 17 day adventure.
According to Matt’s father, Carl Olsen who is also a rider in the rally, the younger Olsen hit a pothole in the road and went into a shimmy on his 1913 Sears. Olsen had almost straightened his machine out when the wobble turned into a tank slapper and Matt went over the handlebars. His left forearm is broken in both bones, requiring surgery that his father reports he came through very well. Matt is in a cast which will immobilize his arm and wrist for the 6 weeks required to allow the bones to heal correctly. In addition to the arm, Olsen also has numerous face cuts and a “slightly broken nose,” but prognosis is good and there is expected to be no permanent damage. Olsen will fly home from Huntsville, AL to Aberdeen, SD tomorrow afternoon.
The 25-year-old Olsen holds the distinction of being the youngest man to have the title of Iron Butt Rider, having earned the title twice in one week. One title was for riding 1000 miles on the oldest Harley-Davidson, a 1936 H-D Knucklehead with 2-up and then again in the same week for covering the 1000 miles solo on a 1939 H-D.
The determined young man is in good spirits and insisted his father and crew stay on to continue the Cannonball run. Carl relayed a message from his son’s hospital bed, saying Matt was pulling for the rest of the Cannonballers. “This whole event is just awesome. The riders are all working together and helping each other to make as many miles as they possibly can and it’s revitalizing their spirit. Everybody’s in it for everybody else. I will definitely be back next year.”
It won’t be on the Sears, however, since the bike is reportedly totaled."