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Defending champ in Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Race ready to roll

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Virginia - CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WTVR)–In a little more than a week, the second Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run across country for pre-1930 motorcycles gets underway.

The defending champion – from the Richmond area – is considered the favorite. Brad Wilmarth is a professional antique motorcycle restorer and his machine – a rare, 1913 Excelsior Model 7 twin cylinder – made every mile last time across the land; 3,290 of them with only a few minor mechanical problems.

"This was made by the Schwinn bicycle company," Willmarth said from his home near Lake Chesdin.

Back then, Excelsior, Indian and Harley-Davidson were the big manufacturers, but there were probably close to 50 other motorcycle makers as motoring took off over the dirt roads of the nation.

What did his bike cost new back then?

"About $235 dollars," Wilmarth replied.

Now he wouldn't take $50,000 for it, which is what one of these ancient machines in prime condition can bring.

Not only is it a splendid example of a rare machine, two years ago he beat out 43 other antique motorcycles as they rumbled and rattled across country from Kitty Hawk to Route 66's end in Santa Monica. About 250 miles a day for 15 days.


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Posted on 8/29/2012 7:43 AM | General News

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