Article & Photos By: Panhead Frank
Originally Published In The September 2013 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
For those that don’t know, the Stampede is an unsanctioned race/ride that goes from coast-to-coast, taking different routes each year. Ultimately, the ride ends at the Smoke Out, which is a motorcycle event sponsored by The Horse Backstreet Choppers and is held in Rockingham, North Carolina. The Stampede is a hard-core ride with some insane rules: no rear shocks, hardtails only, no chase vehicles allowed, no rubber mounted motors, no hard bags, no windshield, and this year to make things even more interesting, the motorcycles had to be 550cc or less. The smallest bike that made the event this year was a 450cc ridden by seven year Stampede veteran, Mr. Miyagi. The route was mostly twolane state highways and began at Tokeland, Washington then followed Route 12 to Green Bay, Wisconsin. Next, it headed south to Cincinnati, Ohio and on to Washington D.C. via Route 50 across the Bay Bridge then back around to Route 13 to Norfolk, Virginia and on in to Rockingham, North Carolina. It was a whopping 3,615 miles, and to say the least, it was a long, brutal task which challenges every aspect of one’s mental, physical and mechanical abilities.
This year there were twenty riders participating, some first timers and some veterans. For me, this was my second attempt. Last year I ended up in tenth place, but this year I took seventh. I logged 91.5 hours at an average speed of 40 mph on a hand-me-down bike from my brother Ronnie: a 1980 Suzuki GS 550. First place went to Paul Cory from Kinston, North Carolina with a remarkable time of 69 hours and 25 minutes at an average speed of 52 mph. Paul said he attributed his success to a very dependable 1990 Kawasaki Vulcan EN 500 with no mechanical let down, very little sleep, and hitting the congested areas like Chicago at the right time. He blew right through, and after tying for 5th place last year, he was determined to go for broke. But above all those things, Paul said he credits his success to chasing the “Ghost Rider” — an illusive rider that was never really there. My ride from West Virginia toWashington was an awesome 3,000 mile trip that my dad Frank Sr., rode with me on. It was an easy 500 miles per day with many memorable times stocked up. I would like to thank Charlie the Nomad for taking his time and effort to pull the Stampede off. The Stampede is an illegal street race and the cops were thick this year. The majority of the riders were pulled over and many got speeding tickets. There are no prizes, only bragging rights. Word has it that there is only going to be ten of these events, so if you think you have what it takes, make it happen ‘cause this was number 8
To grab more information, it’s best to look for Charlie on the Backstreet Choppers’ forum at www. horsebackstreetchoppers.com