Many historical moments in our world bring different people together to create something that will make waves in the future. The Cannonball Run Rally is one of those waves and has inspired numerous racers across the country to test the limits of their vehicles. Multiple aspects of this rally’s history deserve interest, but a brief version of its past will suffice for those interested.
A Man With a Goal
Before the Cannonball Run Rally had its name, everything started in 1971 with two men named Brock Yates and Steve Smith. They decided to perform an act that would leave the country amazed. The two worked for an automotive magazine and wanted to attempt a 2,906-mile drive from New York to California. Yates was inspired by coast-to-coast driver Erwin G. “Cannonball” Baker for his multiple feats of long-distance driving. The two were accompanied by Yates’s son and another man named Jim Williams. And they succeeded in their attempt.
Spreading the Word
Other auto racers soon got wind of the long drive across the country, and the attempt to drive the whole distance became a record to beat. A notorious racer name Dan Gurney beat Yates and Smith’s record, with Yates riding shotgun. This victory was followed by other record breakers in 1972, 1975, and 1979, eventually leading into the 80s, where the history of the Cannonball Run Rally began to pick up speed.
The First Rallies
The “Cannonball Run Rally” title comes from the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, named after Erwin “Cannonball” Baker. In the 80s and 90s, more people began to attempt the Cannonball Run, and a movie came out as a tribute to this racing monument. At this point, the rally became an annual event that allowed racers to prepare for and try their skills to succeed.
As with most events that involve many people from various places, the rally developed an association to handle different areas of the competition. They created different rules and regulations and categorized numerous types of vehicles. Deployed scouts checked roads and pathways that were safe or under construction.
The Here and Now
In the present day, the Cannonball Run Rally’s history leads us to our current automotive communities finding new ways to gain an edge on the road. The use of specialized wheels on Lamborghinis and Ferrari body kits has affected many manufacturing and automation processes. The annual race still takes place, with the winner receiving a large cash prize.
The history of the rally is deep and features many significant figures. But as a quick summary, these are the key points that show what the rally has become and what we may see in the future.