Authorized dealer Thomas Trapp competed in the American “Cannonball Run” on his 98-year-old Harley-Davidson F
• 6,338 kilometers, 16 days, 115 historic bikes
• Harley dealer rolls to the finish on “sweet little Frankfurter”, built in 1916
From the Atlantic to the Pacific. More than 6,000 kilometers across the USA. On lonely paths, through glowing deserts and over frosty 4,000m peaks. It took Erwin “Cannonball” Baker eleven and a half days on his motorcycle . From this record run in 1914, the “Cannonball Run” developed, which Hollywood to make various cinema films. 96 years later, the Americans revived their secret favorite race under the name “Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run” – with 100-year-old motorcycles. Only ten participants managed the distance without failures.
The 2014 regulations for the mega endurance event permitted machines built up to 1936 – and one of the 115 participants was called Thomas Trapp . The boss of the Harley Factory , Frankfurt, passionate fan, driver and collector of Milwaukee Irons, fulfilled a dream with the “Cannonball Run” and competed on the second oldest bike in the starting field. Unlike most of his competitors, he had hardly modified his 1916 F Model. The iron lady, christened “sweet little Frankfurter,” was supposed to carry it from the east coast to the west coast as originally as possible. On September 5th, the Hessian launched his historic V-twin on the beach in Daytona Beach. 16 days and 3,938 miles lay ahead of him. From Florida the route led via Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and Idaho to Washington.
And right from the start, Thomas and the “sweet little Frankfurters” earned a lot of respect because they quickly led their own class and moved into the top 3 in the overall ranking. While half of the field of participants had already dropped out at the halfway point of the event, Thomas' F model only required attention to the ignition magnet and kickstarter spring. “How cool is that?!” exclaimed Bill Davidson , great-grandson of one of the Harley company founders, via email.
The “sweet little Frankfurter” carried its owner safely through icy winds, pouring rain and thick fog, the thin air of the Rockies and the scorching heat of the Bonneville Salt Flats. Thomas was able to report “full scoring” evening after evening. Work on a defective capacitor ultimately cost the Germans victory three days before the end of the event.
Thomas takes it sportily - after all, being there is everything, and of course he still got there: exactly according to plan, on day number 16 he roared off to Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, on his trusty F Model. Well done, “sweet little Frankfurter”, and congratulations, Thomas!
If you want to get to know the horse and rider and hear the many stories of being on the road first hand, pay a visit to the Harley Factory at Waechtersbacher Straße 83 in Frankfurt am Main or stop by the “Custombike” trade fair, which takes place from 5th to 7th December in Bad Salzuflen. Further information can be found at www.motorcyclecannonball.com and of course at www.harleyfactory.de .