About 100 motorcyclists rumbled into Great Falls on Wednesday afternoon all on antique motorcycles for the 2018 Motorcycle Cannonball.
The coast-to-coast run began in Portland, Maine on September 8 and plans to finish in Portland, Oregon on September 23. The group arrived in Great Falls around 3 p.m. at Big Sky Harley Davidson where the public was allowed to view the bikes and visit with participants about the journey.
Owner and promoter Jason Sims said the run is a challenge of man versus machine.
“The real objective is to get from point A to point B,” he said.
The Motorcycle Cannonball calls itself the most difficult antique endurance run in the world. The riders are expected to reach a destination within a set time limit and face penalties for missed miles or late arrivals.
While the riders make repairs themselves on the road, a van and trailer follows the group in case of severe problems.
The Motorcycle Cannonball began in 2010 and runs every two years. For this year’s run, all of the bikes must be from 1928 or older. The oldest bike is a 1911 Excelsior.
Motorcyclist Aaron Loveless, 23, of Prunedale, California said he joined because it seemed like a thrill to travel with others who are passionate about bikes and it’s a great way to see the country. He rides a 1918 Harley Davidson.
“It’s a chance for people to show off their mechanical skills and their machines and ultimately the person with the oldest bike that finishes all the miles wins,” Loveless said. “There’s no cash prize, but it’s more of the prestige of being able to make it.”
He added that motorcycles are meant to be on the road, not sitting in a museum.
The group will leave Great Falls on Thursday for Kalispell. The Antique Motorcycle Club of America is one of the Cannonball’s sponsors.