Friday, November 16, 2012

Motorcycle Cannonball Photography

This seems to have become a perpetual pose for me
throughout the race...hammer down at 40 miles per hour
Now that the great endurance race of 2012 is in the books, Cannonball riders and teams have gotten a chance to sit back and unwind from the event a little. Most teams, mine included, spent the greater part of a year to prepare themselves, their machines, and their teams for a 17 day adventure across this great country, so having some downtime takes some getting used to. With almost two months passing since the Grand Finale in San Francisco, we have all turned our eyes and ears to the rest of the motorcycle world to take in the firestorm of publicity surrounding the event.

Hanging out in the Black Hills while my overheated motor ticked and
cooled...ever the gentlemen, Michael Lichter and Dave Przygocki gave
 me a helpful shove to get her started again

A major part of the publicity around the Motorcycle Cannonball relies heavily on photos and videos, as many people probably wouldn't believe that a group of 70 Pre-1930 motorcycles would be capable of crossing a continent by simply reading an article. Luckily our group was fortunate enough to contain some of the most talented photographers and filmographers in the motorcycling world, who have now graciously begun to share their artwork with the world. It is my plan to compile as many of these beautiful photos and videos as possible, to share with my viewers here. So with that being said, be patient, and please keep checking back for more. As of now, two of the photographers have posted most or all of their Cannonball collections online.

Making new friends in Spirit Lake, Iowa with some fellows who
wanted to know "why in the hell anyone would do this."

Michael Lichter, who is well known throughout the motorcycle world for his beautiful work over the decades, was wrangled in by Lonnie Isam, Jr. to be the official event photographer. Michael has worked as one of the principal photographers for Harley Davidson for years and can be found at many of the legendary biker rallies and events here in the United States. What made his photos unique for this event is the platfom from which they were taken; most of his road-going shots were captured as he rode as a backwards-facing passenger on a 2012 Victory piloted by Dave Przygocki. While 19 entrants completed the full 3,956 miles, we riders joked that Michael compiled a -3,956 miles....trophy-worthy for sure. Posted here are a few of the wonderful shots taken by Michael, but for the full collection of more than 2,000 photos check out his website at

Fueling up with my pal Mike Wild outside of Graettinger, Iowa, where
the town closed up to provide us a welcoming paty

A smoky start in Mountain Home, Idaho with my dad giving me the "thumbs up"
Paul d'Orleans was also one of the great photographers on the event, but for a different reason. Paul runs a blog here called The Vintagent, and it is truly one of the masterpieces of vintage motorcycle journalism. His blog is primarily sponsored by Bonhams and Butterfields Auctioneers, and on more than one occasion Paul can be found lending a hand with detailing the history of rare and unique motorcycle marquees. For the 2012 Cannonball, Paul entered his 1928 Velocette 350cc single cylinder; a machine not to be has been performance tuned and has been clocked at speeds of more than 100 miles per hour in the past. Riding the Cannonball was definitely a huge interest, but Paul also was gnawing at the bit for the chance to document the event in a very different kind of way. His all-female support team brought along a vintage 1800s "wet plate camera" and they could be found photographing on a daily basis. His collection of prints is currently being uploaded to his newest website, but I've included a few here that he took on my 21st Birthday in Murdo, South Dakota.

A 21st birthday I'll never gift- a one dollar bill ripped
 in half by my dad..."You get one half now, and the other when
 you get to San Francisco"

Checking out the beautiful countryside in Badlands National Park

Waiting for our police escort to dinner in Sheridan,
 Wyoming...I figured I should fog for mosquitoes
while we waited.
In the coming days, I'll be adding more photos from some of the other great artists who dug in with the rest of us for 17 grueling days across 3,956 miles from coast to coast. To check out some of the excellent video footage, visit

A very cool shot from Paul d'Orleans' vintage "wet plate" camera of me
enjoying a cold (and legal) beer on my 21st birthday in Murdo, South Dakota.
The rear stand on Elizabeth broke, so we leaned her against the nearest thing
we could find: a trailer that carried a pink elephant statue/fountain.

And now for your greasy, oily close up...


Buck Carson
Cannonball Rider #3
Carson Classic Motors Racing Team

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