Riding his 2015 BMW K 1600 GT six-cylinder, Carl Reese of Santa Clarita, CA, broke the solo cannonball motorcycle record from Los Angeles to New York City in 38 hours, 49 minutes. Previously, George Egloff had set the record in 1983, making the cross-country journey in 42 hours.
According to the Transcontinental Drivers Association, no one in history, with the exception of Erwin “Cannonball” Baker himself, has set as many cross-country records in such a short period than Reese and his team. From April through October 2015, Reese set six records, including the official Guinness World Record for the shortest charging time from Los Angeles to New York City in an electric vehicle. In October, in a Tesla Model S P85D, Reese and two other drivers set the first semi-autonomous driving record from LA to NYC in 57 hours, 48 minutes.
“There is a reason this record has gone unchallenged for over 30 years. Unless you have completed Army boot camp, it is difficult to relate the mental and physical exhaustion,” said Reese. To prepare his body, he gave up all stimulants before the run, including coffee, tea, and sugar. “The immense level of fatigue driving a motorcycle solo for 38 hours is like finishing a UFC fight, then getting hit by a freight train. This was far more difficult than any other transcontinental record I’ve set to date.”
Reese is now working with Hollywood-based filmmakers to produce a documentary highlighting the history of transcontinental driving records. Transcontinental driving records date back more than 100 years, when “Cannonball” Baker drove an Indian motorcycle from LA to NYC in 11 days.
Reese’s BMW K 1600 GT used was acquired from West Valley Cycle Sales in Winnetka, CA, the oldest BMW Motorrad dealer in the U.S. Notaries and film crews were present at the start and finish locations, along with 13 witnesses, including transcontinental record holders and members of the TransContinental Drivers Association: Ed Bolian, Dave Black, Deena Mastracci, Alex Roy, and Vic Manuel.
As in his previous record runs, Reese carried an American flag for good luck. It was gifted to him by veteran and friend, retired Sgt. 1st class Rod Hawk. The flag originally flew in Iraq and was presented to Hawk, who also served in the Army, for his accomplishments during the war.
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