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September 8, 2023

Out of the 77 riders that started the Prologue yesterday, all but one—whose machine was still down from yesterday—assembled at Neptune’s Park this morning to begin Stage 1 of this 17-stage endurance run. The heat of the summer sun stayed with us nearly all day, even through the few short bursts of rain that splattered on riders and their machines.

This particular course was selected partially based on riders experiencing the least amount of traffic leaving Virginia Beach. The route was also quite scenic, taking us through a combination of farmlands, wooded areas, and small towns, and nearly the entire route was lightly traveled along most of the 159 very pleasant miles ridden today. Another factor in choosing the route was the magnificent bridges and waterways in North Carolina, such as the magnificent Albemarle Sound and the lovely Tar River.

Not long after we entered into North Carolina, some of the riders and staff stopped at barbecue places such as Currituck BBQ in Elizabeth City. The North Carolina-style barbecue there was delicious and we all ate more than we thought possible.

Although the Prologue is partially intended for a shakedown ride, Stage 1 is when a wide variety of problems began to appear. Keith Kardell’s #30 suffered a seized cylinder, Tyler Golletti #150 had a failure in the cam chest, and #56 Victor Boocock lost a pushrod somewhere on the road. There was at least one flat tire (another rider had a spare tube), and several riders lost gear that rattled off their bikes.

Most of the riders had already arrived at the convention center in Greenville, North Carolina, when the skies opened and dumped a deluge of rain for at least an hour. However, once the rain stopped, everyone was able to enjoy the evening meal provided by the Greenville-Pitt County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

By the end of the day, seven riders didn’t finish the course, and one came in just under the wire, having taken an unintentional detour that added 30 extra miles onto his route. The riders in positions 4, 5, and 6 as of this morning dropped to the back on the pack in the standings due to mechanical failures. Out of the 76 riders that started today, 68 achieved all possible points for completing the Prologue and Stage 1.

Class 1 riders are now the top three spots: Todd Cameron #99 is first overall, Dave Currier #1 second, and Alex Trepanier #109 third. This promises to be quite the competition, with all three being seasoned Cannonball and/or Cross Country Chase riders. Dave took first place in Class 1 of the 2021 Chase as well as the overall top score in the 2022 Cannonball, while Todd won overall in the 2021 Chase.

Tomorrow we head to Concord, North Carolina, where Speedway Harley-Davidson will host a dinner for the riders. The forecast calls for a 97-percent chance of rain, so hopefully everyone remembered to pack their rain gear.