Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Katrin Boehner 2010 Cannonball Rider

I was reading some articles on the 2010 Cannonball Run and came across a couple of truly heroic riders.  This couple came all the way from Germany and rode two incredibly small bikes when you consider the distance and terain to be traversed.

For all the Cannonballers, the husband-and-wife team from Germany, Katrin Boehner and Dieter Eckel, became instant favorites. Both riding singles, she on a 1907 JAP (the oldest bike in the event) and he on a 1913 BSA, the elegant pair traveled together and usually brought up the rear, since their tiny machines rarely went above 25 mph.

Katrin’s motorcycle had no clutch or transmission, and was started by pushing the bike as she ran alongside until the engine caught. The petite woman would then sling her leg over the seat and putt on down the road. This dance was repeated each and every time she came to a stop over the course of the entire 3,294 miles.

The couple maintained the top two slots in Class 1 for most of the run, until Dieter’s BSA snapped its front fork cleanly in two in Arizona and sent rider and machine sliding across the blacktop. Dieter managed to stay onboard and escaped with slight road rash, but the bike did not fare as well. Not to be sidelined, Dieter rode his backup bike until it, too, failed. Afterwards, he took up a permanent position as a passenger behind sidecar dude Jerry as they rode along, trailing Katrin across the rest of Nevada and California.