Cannonball Run 100th Anniversary

May 04, 2014 View Comments by

Cannonball Run 100th Anniversary In a quest to set a new cross country speed record, Erwin “Cannonball” Baker left San Diego, CA, on May 3, 1914 on an Indian motorcycle. He arrived in New York City 11 days later besting the previous record by a whopping nine days. Baker went on to make 143 long distance record attempts in a career that spanned several decades. In addition to his plethora of distance records, Baker was also an avid racer having competed in a number of motorcycle and automobile races (including the Indy 500). In fact, he won the first race ever held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909. After his racing days where over, Baker went on to become NASCAR’s first commissioner and he was inducted into the American Motorcycle Association Hall of Fame in 1998.

He earned the nickname “Cannonball” from a New York newspaper reporter who compared him to the Cannonball Express train following his 1914 record setting run. That trip, and the Indian motorcycle he rode, is what Erwin Baker is most remembered for.

Yesterday, on the 100th anniversary of Baker’s departure, a group of riders, including RoadRUNNER’s Ken Freund, left San Diego to retrace Erwin’s original route. It’s hard to imagine how much the country and the world have changed in the century since the original Cannonball Run, but if you’d like to track Ken’s progress as he follows in Erwin’s footsteps, you can check out RoadRUNNER’s Twitter and Instagram feeds as he’ll be posting photos from his journey.


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