A team has set a new speed record while competing in the Cannonball Run from New York City to Los Angeles, but people have accused them of exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic that has cleared roadways across the country.
The unnamed team successfully traveled from the East Coast to the West Coast in 26 hours and 38 minutes – beating the last record set in November 2019 by more than 45 minutes.
Little is known about the new Cannonball Run champions, but Road & Track report that the group of at least three people traveled from Red Bull Garage – the traditional race start point – in New York City around 11:15pm on April 4.
Just a little over one day later, the team arrived at the traditional finish line a the Portofino Hotel & Marina in Redondo Beach, California. They have not publicly disclosed which route they took.
The Cannonball Run, created in 1971 under the name ‘Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shinning Sea Memorial Trophy Dash’, is a cross-country race that involves people driving nearly 3,000 miles in the shortest amount of time possible.
An unnamed team used this route to travel from the East Coast to the West Coast in 26 hours and 38 minutes – beating the last record set in November 2019 by more than 45 minutes
Similar to other modern Cannonball Runs, the crew left from Red Ball Garage in New York City and drove some 3,000 miles to he Portofino Hotel & Marina in Los Angeles County, California
Creator Brock Yates, a former editor at Car and Driver magazine, would organize the illegal cross-country race four times throughout the 1970s.
David Diem and Doug Turner set a record of 32 hours and 7 minutes before Yates disbanded the races. The record remained untouched until 2006.
In November of last year, Arne Toman, Doug Tabbutt, and Berkeley Chadwick broke the previous Cannonball Run record with a time of 27 hours and 25 minutes.
Photos shared to Facebook showed a 2019 Audi A8 sedan with two plastic marine fuel tanks strapped into the trunk said to be the car used.
A photo shared to Facebook showed the teams car, a 2019 Audi A8 sedan (pictured), with two plastic marine fuel tanks in the trunk
The team’s record run was shown displayed on an iPad taped to the driver seat head rest
‘Word on the street there’s a new cannon ball record yesterday at 26:38. Damn that’s fast, wrote Rehv Mark, who has since deleted the post.
Meanwhile, a small group of people who had competed in the C2C Express and the 2094 races – Cannonball Run spin-offs from recent years – planned to have a Cannonball run on April 4 as well.
But as COVID-19 emergency orders increase across states and the national death toll continues to rise daily, the event was called off.
While such a feat is normally a cause for celebration, some social media users and Cannonball Run fans have labeled the latest run ‘scummy’ amid the pandemic.
As of Monday, the United States has 435,553 confirmed cases and 14,831 deaths. Shelter-in-place orders have confined millions to their homes and social distancing guidelines leave small room for gatherings.
As a result, some believe the newest record holders may have unfairly used the near-empty streets and sudden drop in traffic to their advantage.
Arne Toman, (right), Doug Tabutt, (left), and Berkeley Chadwick, (seen in the backseat), broke a record for competing a Cannonball Run which involves driving cross-country from New York to Los Angeles in the shortest amount of time possible
Some Cannonball Run fans called out the team for exploiting the pandemic -which has curbed daily traffic and cleared highways – during their attempt
‘This is the scummiest s*** I’ve heard in a few weeks that hasn’t directly come from the oval office,’ one Twitter user wrote.
Another called the crew ‘self-aggrandizing’ and urged media outlets to ignore the controversial new record.
‘To my friends in the automotive media: you’re apparently going to be hit up soon by some attention seekers claiming a new Cannonball Run “record,”‘ they wrote.
Gluckman: ‘You have a choice to make: aggrandize undeserving a**holes, or give the exact amount of attention they deserve, which is none’
‘You have a choice to make: aggrandize undeserving a**holes, or give the exact amount of attention they deserve, which is none.’
Alex Roy, who set the first modern record in 2006, said the latest Cannonball Run could have ended in a bigger consequence.
Roy said: ‘If you hit a truck moving medical supplies and people die because of it, that’s on you.’
‘People are counting on those trucks moving around right now. It’s not funny.’
Some people suggested the new record not be formally recognized by the community due to the current national crisis.
But others pushed back against the naysayers who claimed the trial run was tone deaf and even pointed out the race is illegal anyway.
‘How do you tarnish something that’s illegal and that the general public already hates?’ asked John Ficarra, the founder and organizer of The 2094.
Ficarra added that there is no sanctioning body for the illegal Cannonball Run.
‘If we come together as The Council of Cannonball or whatever and say, ‘No, we forbid this,’ who really gives a shit? This whole Cannonball thing is small potatoes. It’ll blow over.’
Ed Bolian, a Cannonball driver who set a 28 hour and 50 minute record in 2013, agreed.
‘Do I think this is the best use of time while the country is staying in during a pandemic?
‘Probably not, but for me to say it’s awful is like a cocaine dealer saying a heroin dealer is awful.’
The C2C Express founder and organizer Ben “Charlie Safari” Wilson admitted that he understood why some would see this as the perfect time to attempt a Cannonball Run, but explained it was irresponsible.
‘It’s never completely responsible to drive across the country fast without stopping, but now is completely the wrong time,’ Wilson said.
A handful of users pointed out that the Cannonball Run – which breaks several road rules – is illegal in the first
A handful of users questioned why people were debating over the Cannonball run record when the entire event is illegal.
‘I find it hilarious that former Cannonball run record holders are calling this pandemic run ‘grossly irresponsible’ when the whole f****** idea is grossly irresponsible,’ one person wrote.
The Cannonball Run has resulted in a couple of non-life threatening injuries in years past, but according to Ficarra, accidents are inevitable.
‘I pity the team that’s unprepared and gets someone hurt, but eventually it’s going to happen. It’s a law of averages,’ he said.
The newest Cannonball Run record still has time to win over skeptical aficionados, but both Bolian and Wilson said it may never be fully accepted.
Wilson said: ‘What Brock Yates wanted to prove back in the Seventies was that you could drive quickly across the country in normal traffic without disrupting anyone or being unsafe, and that isn’t what this was.
‘Even if you list it as a record run, it’ll always be the run during the time of quarantine. There will always be an asterisk next to it.’