Cannonball Run Record Broken Again. The date, Oct 20th 2013, with a time of 28 hours & 51 minutes! This was achieved by Ed Bolian & Co-driver Dave Black, driving a heavily modified Mercedes CL55 AMG, with all types of scanners, Jammers, chargers & navigation equipment. The AMG powered Merc was even fitted with an additional 44 gallon fuel tanks mounted in the boot to reduce stoppage times!
Bolian, a 28-year-old Atlanta native, had long dreamed of racing from East Coast to West. A decade ago, for a high school assignment, Bolian interviewed Brock Yates, who conceived the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, aka the Cannonball Run.
Ed Bolian & Dave Black broke the previous Cannonball Run record of 31 hours & 4 minutes from 2006, which was held by Alex Roy & co-driver David Maher.
Alex Roy & David Maher raced from the East cost of America to the west coast using a E39 BMW M5 disguised as German police car. The car was fitted with every conceivable Police scanners, laser jammers, radar detectors etc & even had infrared night vision camera allowing the pair to drive across areas with no lights on!!! They even had a small plane flying in front as a spotter…..
This book written by Alexander Roy is a great read & highly recomended, The Driver: My Dangerous Pursuit of Speed and Truth in the Outlaw Racing World
They had beaten the record which earlier that year had been held by Garage Monkeys “Fast & Loud” Richard Rawlings & friend Dennis Collins who achieved a time of 32 hours & 7 minutes using a Ferrari 550!!! Their run started over a bet during a Gumball 3000 event for $50,000.
This world famous & highly Illegal Transcontinental cross country race, The Cannonball run started back in the 70s, When Brock Yates invented it, as a protest to the newly imposed 55mph speed limit & for some fun.
The 55mph limit was actually slower then the transcontinental run record, which was done in 1933 by Erwin George Baker, who averaged a speed of over 50mph in a 57 Blue Streak 8. He managed to go from coast to coast in 53 hours 30 minutes & that record stood for nearly 40 years!
The Rules for The Cannonball Run were simple, as there was only one rule!
“The competitor finishing with the lowest elapsed time is the winner”
All competitors will drive any vehicle of their choosing, over any route, at any speed they judge practical, between the starting point and destination.
It sounded pretty damn crazy & as it turned out Yates with 2 friends & his 15 year old son were the only ones to turn up for the 1st Cannonball run. 7 months later the next Cannon Ball attracted 8 entrants and over the years attracted many more competitors.
There were 5 Cannonball Run races run back then in the 1970s. The last one ran in 1979, attracting over 40 racing teams.
In 1975, Yates teamed up with veteran sports car driver Dan Gurney. The pair set a record run of 35 hours & 54 minutes, driving a 1971 blue Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona.The record was broken on the last Cannonball run in 1979 by Dave Heinz & Dave Yarborough, who drove a Jaguar XJS with a time of 32 hours & 51 minutes.
There had been no serious accidents over the 5 races in the 70s but Yates knew it was only a matter of time & the Cannon Ball Run quietly disappeared………until later on when more Road Racers attempted to break the transcontinental record!
There had been no organized Cannonball run races since 1979, just individuals attempting to beat the record, the nearest you get to a Cannonball run these days is the Gumballl 3000, which is basically a rich mans driving holiday with party’s at 5 star hotels, running over 3 days & 3000 miles, crossing different countries.
Although these days there are many organizations running more affordable cross country runs. The rules generally been that you buy a car for £600, pimp it up, pay your entry fee & generally drive across Europe or America over 3 days, stopping at 3 destinations & partying through the night. These rallies capture the spirit of the Cannonball run & seem to be a lot of fun!
Cheap mans Cannonball Runs, such as, Rally Maniacs, Scumball Run, Crumball Rally, Whacky Rally to name but a few!!! There are many others out there & they look like a great laugh, full of adventure, with many thrills & spills along the way………
The Cannonball Run had inspired a number of Movies back in the 80s. The most famous of them was “The Cannonball Run” which was written by Yates & he played the organizer of the race, starring Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Dean Martin, Farah Fawcett & many other hollywood stars, following that was “The Cannonball run II”.
Yates also Co wrote the “Smokey & the Bandit” film, and those who have seen will surely remember the famous Jerry Reed song, “Eastbound & Down” – We gotta a long way to go and a short time to get there!
The Cannon Ball races also Inspired another great film, the 1976 film Gumball Rally, starring Michael Sarrazin, Gary Bussey and many other actors from that era.
Now the question is when & who will be next to take on the Cannonball Run????