Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Fri, September 21 2012 at 4:01 PM, Updated: Fri, September 21 2012 at 4:14 PM
The 'Cannonball Run' roared through Southern Oregon and Northern California after making a stop in Klamath Falls on Thursday.
Gary Wright of Colorado says he just had to take part in the Cannonball Run after meeting riders two years ago in New Mexico...
"It's a bucket list thing for me."
Paul Ousey notes that the cross-country ride began in New York...
"Today is like day 12, with a total of about 4000 miles on pre-1930 motorcycles."
66 of those motorcycles pulled into Klamath Falls on Thursday, and they quickly drew a big crowd.
"We're like a traveling circus." Says Gary Wright. "Wherever we stop, there seems to be a a crowd for them."
Christine Hemphill of Australia adds that the event isn't just for guys...
"Three ladies raced last time the Cannonball was on in 2010. One of them actually took the trophy home - so she did very well."
While all of the motorcycles in the Cannonball Run are street legal, they do lack some of the modern comforts.
"Well, this bike has a rigid frame." Paul Ousey points out. "There's no shocks on it."
"There's a few folks riding with windshields." Adds Gary Wright. "But a lot of them don't have a windshield."
But it's that link to the past that makes the ride special for many, such as Tom Hayes of Dublin, Ireland...
"So it's interesting that it's more mechanical, and you're more involved with the machine."
There are riders from 13 different countries.
"This is a 1925 Invincible J.A.P." Notes Christine Hemphill. "It's an all-Australian motorcycle, made in Melbourne."
The Cannonball Run will finish up in San Francisco on Sunday.
Only motorcycles built prior to 1930 are allowed in this year's race. Motorcycles had to be from 1916 or earlier in the 2010 Cannonball race.
You'll find more information on the web at: www.motorcyclecannonball.com
KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's. He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.
Lyle's job history is quite colorful. He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand. A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer. In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.
Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience. "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain. Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".
When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.