Friday, April 27, 2012

New Sponsorship and BMOA Rally

  The Motorcycle Cannonball: Hop on an 83+ year old motorcycle and ride. Seems simple, right? If only the race was that easy. Readying the motorcycle is a huge part of the process, of course. But someone or something has to pay for the fun, of course. That's where the sponsorship/publicity push comes in. Up to now, our team has had a lot of generous corporate sponsorships (see the links on the top right side of this page), and some great donations by individuals. Thanks to the sponsorship flyers, we're also getting a lot of exposure to the public.

  I'm proud to say that this week, we saw another kind sponsorship of the race team. Unlike our other sponsors, this company has asked not to be publicized on my blog or on our Facebook page. So in accordance with their wishes, the company name will be withheld. However, I would like to take the time to offer my thanks and appreciation for the fantastic $5,000 sponsorship of our team--it truly means a lot to have the support of so many out there.

  We still have quite a ways to go until the event, though the days are going faster and faster. I'm hoping to sign on several more sponsors, as well as get some great media coverage of our efforts. That reminds me, I had mentioned a few weeks back in "On the Wall" that there would be some "big forthcoming news." Recently I had an interview with the Communications Department at my university, Sam Houston State in Huntsville, Texas about my Motorcycle Cannonball journey. I really appreciate the time that the staff spent with me, and the interest that they have shown in covering the event. Over the course of the next few weeks, I'll be scheduling a photoshoot with the 1927 BSA (yes, it's only a bit away--more on that in the next post). The Communications Department will then post an article and photos on the front page of the university's main website! Thank you, Sam Houston State University for your support!

  Another big event coming up is the 28th Annual BMOA (British Motorcycle Owners Association) Rally in New Ulm, Texas on the weekend of May 18-20. Yesterday (April 26), my team and I were invited to attend by Houston member Vince Anderson. I'm quite humbled by the invitation and support that the local vintage world has thrown behind us. We will be bringing along the 1927 BSA, new trailer, and crew. I'm really excited about attending the event and meeting some fans/supporters. Plus, this will be the first big event for my BSA and I.

 The rally promises to be a great time, and looks to have some wonderful events going on during the weekend, including field games, a swap meet and bike show. I'm of the opinion that it's basically impossible to have a bad time at something like this. What's the worst that'll happen? We'll meet some wonderful new people, display some of our motorcycles from the collection, soak in the sun, and breathe in vintage motorcycling history! More on the event soon.

Buck Carson
Confirmed Cannonballer #3
Carson Classic Motors Race Team

Weekend with fellow Cannonballers

Okay, so this post is a week late (along with a few other important updates), so please pardon the delay. I'm finishing out my spring semester at Sam Houston State University, and things have been quite hectic! Anyway, here is first of some recent updates: Weekend with fellow Cannonballers

  This past weekend (April 20th), I was fortunate enough to be able to spend time with some fellow Cannonballers. Jim Crain (#42), and Jimmy Allison (#59) invited me to come up to Jefferson, Texas, which is about 3 hours north from home, to hang out and watch the AHMRA (American Historic Motorcycle Racing Association) vintage motocross event at Diamond Don's. Jim and Jimmy are both from New Mexico, and are heavily involved in the vintage motorcycle world. For the races, both of them entered their BSA Gold Stars, which were beautiful and functional pieces of art.

Jim Crain's BSA Gold Star--What a great piece!

  As I mentioned in an earlier post, motorcycles and wonderful people seem to go hand in hand. This premise was once again proven to be true on the weekend at Diamond Don's. The hospitality of Jim, Jimmy, and family was wonderful--I thank them very much for hosting this Texan. Us Cannonballers are a different group of people (someone wanting to run a veteran motorcycle across a continent MUST be a bit different, eh?) and the jokes/shenanigans that go on between us are unrivaled.

Jimmy Allison's BSA Gold Star (Kind of a bad picture though!)
  Anyway, it was great to sit down and go over logistics/ideas for the Cannonball. I'm really glad that Jim Crain and I were able to meet before the race and "talk shop." Interestingly enough, Jim and I are riding the exact same year and model of BSA (though his bike is the "Deluxe" model), so we'll undoubtedly be sticking together like glue on the run. Jim and I were comparing notes on updated bits, spares, and what kind of things we think that we'll need. We're both on the lookout for a spare gearbox (and I think that Chris Knoop, #16 from Australia has a lead on one for me), as well as numerous other bits. Now that we had our face-to-face meeting, we can start to develop a list of spares, tools, and other assorted bits to source before the run.

Jim Crain and his 1927 BSA S27 Deluxe
All that being said, this post is rather short. More pictures than words, but I can imagine that my blabbering on can get rather annoying. So once again, I really appreciate the hospitality, the laughs, the great food, and the friendships that were made on the weekend in Jefferson with my fellow Cannonballers and family. Thanks guys, and see you soon!

Jimmy Allison, #59 (1929 Indian Scout 101) on the left, Jim Crain, #42
(1927 BSA S27 Deluxe) in the middle 

Buck Carson
Confirmed Cannonballer #3
Carson Classic Motors Race Team

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mike Wild's (#25) 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball Entry


1924 Rudge Four, a set on Flickr.

Presented here is the second motorcycle from the UK-Based Roaring Rudges race team, a 1924 Rudge Four owned by Mike Wild (#25). This machine has had extensive modifications, or "Cannonball-izations", including: the creation of a new frame from 2 original Rudge units (one being 3 inches longer), a lowered motor, and different gearbox. Mike's Rudge has successfully passed MoT Road Testing in the UK and is "road legal." The Rudge's first test? Mike has entered the machine into a local hillclimbing event for the month of April.

Ken Ashton's (#26) 2012 Motorcycle Cannonball Entry


1925 Rudge Four, a set on Flickr.

Introducing the first of the Roaring Rudges race team machines: a 1925 Rudge Four that will be raced by Ken Ashton (#26) of Vintage and Veteran, LLP ( This Rudge features four valves and a four speed, hand-shift gearbox. For your viewing pleasure.

Texas-Style Welcome

The thing about this hobby that I enjoy more than anything is the friendships that come from fellow enthusiasts. Over the years, we have been lucky enough to meet hundreds of incredible people in the vintage motorcycle world and the memories and stories that come from those interactions have been astounding. One of my favorite things while doing motorcycle shows is to talk to people who come to check out the machines.

  There always seems to be one person who stands next to one of the bikes for a prolonged period of time, examining every bit and staring into space with a smile. I always make a point of going up to talk to those people, and usually they tell me wonderful stories about how that model was their first motorcycle, or was in their family since new. Sometimes, people will give me leads on barn finds-- nothing is more thrilling than opening up a shed door and seeing a veteran motorcycle resting peacefully under some straw, waiting to be brought back to life.

  Anyway, all of the misty-eyed nostalgia aside, my point is that wonderful people and great friendships seem to revolve around the vintage motorcycle world. The Motorcycle Cannonball is an excellent example; the group of people involved are all like me-- insane, right? Just a quick look at the first Cannonball Run will show dozens of examples of people from all walks of life joining together to endeavour through a continental journey. I should add, not only from all walks of life, but from all over the world. With the international group of riders entered into the 2012 event, an interesting group of characters and personalities is sure to follow.

  All of this being said, why have I delved in to this subject? Up to this point, the Carson Classic Motors racing team had been set to host Ken Ashton and Mike Wild of the Roaring Rudges race team from the United Kingdom. Well, my friends, we can now add another international member to the camp. Chris Knoop (#16) from Australia and his "Southern Cross" team will be joining along with us. The team's selected motorcycle is a 1925 JAP (Dubbed "The Invincible Jap") 1000cc V-Twin with sidecar. Chris and his team are making substantial progress on building their machine, and have built a wicker sidecar body for the Goulding sidecar.

1000 cc V Twin JAP setup: A thing of beauty

Wicker sidecar body for the Goulding---How cool is that?

  The Southern Cross team will have two riders: Chris Knoop, and Ian Lihou. The interesting thing about this is that Chris and Ian were originally unaware of each other. As Vice President of the Williamstown Motorcycle Club, Ian had originally contacted the Cannonball group to express his interest in helping out. Lonnie then forwarded his information to Chris in Australia, and guess what? Ian lives about 5 streets away; how's that for a small world? Also tagging along will be Christina Hemphill, Chris's partner. According to Chris, Christina is "not a rider, though loves the sidecars (not comfortable on pillion


Chris Knoop
Christina Hemphill
Ian Lihou

A huge welcome to Chris and his team, and we greatly look forward to some wonderful memories along the journey of a lifetime. I hope they're ready for the roller coaster ride of a lifetime-us Texas cowboys like to act up a bit! Follow along on Chris's build and preparations at

Buck Carson
Confirmed Cannonballer # 3
Carson Classic Motors Race Team

Monday, April 16, 2012

Team Racing Trailer

Hi all,

A very eventful few weeks has passed since the last update. Might as well jump headfirst into the news.

Another big ticket item was crossed off the list this week (9-15 April). This week, our team purchased the race trailer which we will use on the Cannonball. The trailer is an important aspect of the run. After all, it will be our home away from home for almost a month. Previously we had been looking online at different models and had relegated ourselves to purchasing one from a factory in Georgia. We would then have to drive halfway across the country, purchase the trailer, put a couple thousand miles on it before we even started the Cannonball, and then build out the inside into a workshop.
Even better- the new trailer matches the truck!

Well, my friends, the moon and the stars seemed to align this week. While out in town running errands, not five miles from the shop, we came across our trailer. This model has tandem axles with electric brakes on all wheels. The size is a bit bigger than we imagined, at 8 metres (28 foot) long, 2 metres (8 foot) wide, and almost 2 metres of headroom on the inside. However, this extra room will most definitely come in handy during the race for storage and extra room.

More good news about the trailer- the inside is actually already finished out, so we will not have a wooden shell to work with. Interior accommodations include: Black and white checkered vinyl flooring, finished ceiling with 12 volt lighting and twin rooftop air vents, polished aluminum walls, and aluminum workbench/overhead and lower storage units. Great start for us, and much less work to do.

Aircraft Cable-Assisted Rear Loading Door

Here's the start of the list of things to be added:

  • Exterior Signage
  • 110 Volt AC Fluorescent Lighting and interior/exterior power outlets
  • Roof-Mounted Air Conditioning/Heating unit
  • 6 metre (20 foot) outdoor awning
  • Air compressor and multiple air line station feeds
  • Wire feed welder
  • Motorcycle lift and smaller jacks
  • Engine Stand
  • Drill press
  • Grinders (2)
  • Band saw
  • Oxyacetylene torch
  • Additional motorcycle tie-downs/chocks

Ooooooooh weeeee- check out all that polished aluminum

Now, we're also working on a few special top-secret touches, so stay tuned.

Buck Carson
Confirmed Cannonballer # 3
Carson Classic Motors Race Team

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Satisfactory End (and a bit of silliness)

  Every day seems to bring more and more good news. On a daily basis, I'm getting exponentially more excited to participate in the Cannonball. Call me crazy, but I've even been having a few dreams about it at night. With this last communication from Vintage and Veteran, things are rapidly falling in line. As of this week (2 April), I've found a shipping company to deliver the BSA "across the pond". The last few weeks of comparing shipping quotes have not been enjoyable, as communications are limited with the time differences across the United States and the United Kingdom, and many companies (who shall remain unnamed) are focused on utilizing bad business practices. Anyway, here is the latest update from Ken Ashton in Burton-Upon-Trent. (I also must say, I quite enjoy the sense of humor that seems to thrive at the Vin and Vet shop. At the bottom of the email message, Ken added "Hope you enjoy the attached image... te-he."     For your viewing pleasure, see below)

"Hi Buck, to all intents and purposes it is ready for wiring and then delivery.

Our journey yesterday took us into the Pennines and up and down some serious long hills.  It took them all in its stride.  The carburation now seems to be adjusted just fine.  The jet needle is in position 2 from the bottom, so it can go two slots down to make it weaker in the Rockies, we also have smaller jets and a weaker slide in your pack.  We can also go one slot higher to make it richer.  So, plenty of scope there.  I cannot tell you how nice it was on the 20 -25 mile run back from Mike Wild's house - it went 45-50 all the way except for villages where 30 is the limit.  It swept round the bends in great style.  Dave Gould was following on his 1200 cc Yamaha and Little Phil followed on his Honda 400/4.  They checked the speedo I fitted and confirmed the speed readings, also the total distance travelled was within 1 mile in 80.  When we got back, the bike settled into the slowest, sweetest tick-over.  Brakes stopped me on some steep inclines [Cromford Hill is 1 in 6 to 8 and about 3/4 mile in length.  It pulled up the hill in second at 35.

It has done about 120 miles now and I am happy for it to be called "finished" - see below.  

I "serviced the BSA" today -
· Brakes did not need adjustment
· Slightly tightened the rear chain - primary OK.
· Drained the sump - about a cup full which is just right, re-primed with the manual pump.
· Checked the plug - gorgeous colour.
· Checked all fastenings - all tight.
· Tool box has sprung a seam - this is now with the welder and I pick it up tomorrow morning.
· Tyres at right pressure.
· Tank is sound - paint to repair the small corner is in the post to me. It holds about a 1/4inch when "empty" due to the raised boss of the outlet.
 I added a washer to the drain plug fitment
· The clutch went "heavy" yesterday - this was because the operating rod was "blacksmith made" and will have caused the problem - we are changing it for a 1/4inch silver steel rod and adding a bearing to the clutch end to lighten its operation and move the spinning from the clutch dome/end of rod, to the clutch dome - new bearing fitted onto the end of the new rod. 
· New levers are on order from Vintage-Replica in CZ"

Who says you can't remain a motorcycle rebel at heart?

Buck Carson
Confirmed Cannonballer #3
Carson Classic Motors Race Team