Some 70 participants riding early-American motorcycles stopped into the Crystal Harley-Davidson dealership Friday afternoon to rest, eat and make adjustments to their bikes as part of The Cross Country Chase. The event is presented by Motorcycle Cannonball.
Event organizers describe the ride as an "endurance race," leaving Sept. 7 from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, finishing this Sunday in Key West. Each of the participants must ride motorcycles made between the years of 1930 to 1948 and be in as original condition as possible.
The stop in Crystal River was part of their mid-day break between Tallahassee, where they began Friday morning, and Lakeland where they spent Friday night. Dan Baker of Laurie, Missouri, paused while working on his 1941 Indian Military Scout adding oil to the 500CC, 2-cylinder engine. Baker said this is the first year he has participated in the endurance race.
"I love it," he said. "It's a great bunch of guys and everybody is willing to help out everybody."
The rider said he purchased his bike in 1991, taking five years to restore the bike before putting it on the road.
"In 23 years of riding this bike I have put 2,500 miles on it," he said. "I'll put as many miles in nine days (in the race) as I put on it in 23 years."
While the race is an endurance test there is an overall winner. A 100-question test is given throughout the course of the event and points are awarded for correctly answered questions on their route taken and early American motorcycle history as well as miles driven. Additional points are awarded for older-model equipment. The rider with the high point total is named the race winner. The riders trek between 200-300 daily and are forbidden to use Global Position Systems (GPS) to aid in their route, according to organizers. They are given a route daily and left to their own skills to find their way. For more information on the race, go to www.themotorcyclechase.com