The highways and byways of America have been eerily quiet over the past several weeks thanks to responsible citizens doing their best to remain indoors and limit unnecessary travel. Meanwhile, a small group of highly irresponsible drivers have taken these open stretches of asphalt as a sign that they should drive as fast as possible from one coast to the other. That’s right, it’s high time to revive the Cannonball Run Challenge, which you may remember from that cruddy Burt Reynolds comedy.
In a recent video, former Cannonball Run record holder and éminence grise Ed Bolian reported that, over the last five weeks, the longstanding 28 hour and 50 minute record had been beaten a whopping seven times, with a number of the cross country trips coming in under 26 hours.
As Bolian explains, some fans will contest that attempting a run during a government sanctioned lockdown is breaking the rules of the Cannonball Run Challenge. But, famously, the Cannonball Run doesn’t really have any rules. For decades, the only guidelines have been that you have to drive from the Red Ball Garage in Manhattan to the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach, California. The openness of the race has spawned several different types of records over the years. There’s the solo record, the diesel record, and the coast-to-coast-to-coast record, all of which have been obliterated in recent weeks.
“If you looked at these guys’ averages across certain states, they were unreal,” Bolian says, discussing the most recent record-breaking run made by an anonymous team in a suped-up performance vehicle with marine tanks full of gasoline in the trunk. “Certainly, we had some over 110[mph] averages through states, they were over 120[mph] through several states. They had over 30 spotters, an amazingly well-prepared car, and everything just went about as well as they could have hoped.”
With states beginning to open back up and average drivers getting back out on the roads, Bolian believes this dream scenario for Cannonball Run attempts is coming to an end. The sub-26 hour record is likely to stick around for a while and, presumably, will be the focus of that Cannonball Run remake that’s being rewritten by some savvy Hollywood screenwriter at this very minute.
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