Carl Reese of Santa Clarita, California broke the solo Cannonball motorcycle record from Los Angeles to New York City in 38 hours, 49 minutes. Reese completed the 2,829-mile feat on a 2015 BMW K1600GT, breaking George Egloff’s previous record of 42 hours set in 1983.
“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.”
No one, 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. Reese set six records in under seven months from April through October 2015, including the official Guinness World Record for the shortest charging time from Los Angeles to New York City in an electric vehicle. In October 2015, Reese and two other drivers set the first semi-autonomous driving record from Los Angeles to New York City in 57 hours, 48 minutes in a Tesla Model S P85D.
Transcontinental driving records date back more than 100 years, when “Cannonball” Baker rode an Indian motorcycle from Los Angeles to New York City in 11 days. Historians attribute interest around such trips to advancements in transportation and manufacturing in the U.S.
The BMW K1600GT used was acquired from West Valley Cycle Sales in Winnetka, California — the oldest BMW Motorrad dealer in the U.S. West Valley provided additional support and technical assistance throughout the trip. GPS Insight, provider of GPS tracking software for businesses, provided telemetry equipment.
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.
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 for his accomplishments during the war. Reese, who also served in the Army, said “I carry that flag to remind me of the men and women who have put themselves in harm’s way to protect our freedom.”