Alex Jones (not that Alex Jones) read about the various cross-country speed records and Cannonball runs for most of his life. “They were usually run in high-end German cars,” he explains. “And I couldn’t afford that. But then a couple years ago I read about one run on a motorcycle. I could do that on a budget. So I found the right motorcycle with 80,000 miles already on it, and bought it for $4000.”
The right bike was a 2014 Yamaha FJR1300. Yamaha’s burliest sport tourer, the FJR has been in production since 2001 (reaching North America in 2002 as a 2003 model). Power comes from a 1298-cubic centimeter (call it 1.3-liters) straight-four mounted crosswise and rated at about 144-horsepower from the factory. That year the power was channeled through a five-speed manual transmission and then down a shaft to the rear wheel. The FJR has long been one of Yamaha’s best sellers and well over 100,000 have been sold over the years. A fast and known quantity.
Jones used the traditional start and finish lines for the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, launching from the Red Ball Garage in Manhattan and landing at the Portofino Inn in Redondo Beach, California. That’s a trip that covers about 2788-miles according to Google Maps, but different routes vary. Jones told R&T that his total mileage was more than 2800
Jones self-reports the adventure in an email. “On the morning of Oct 17th at 6:24 AM eastern, I set off from the Redball Garage in NYC on a 2014 Yamaha FJR1300 equipped with a 7-gallon auxiliary fuel cell, radar detector, laser jammers, two mounted phones, and auxiliary lighting. The route went by interstate through the middle of the country, with considerations for traffic and construction. The drive was relatively uneventful, with weather being clear but windy. During the ride, cruise control stopped working and there were some issues with the electronics that did not go as planned. The auxiliary lighting failed right as night hit, and the rear tire was nearly bald on arrival, due to wind and road conditions. Arrival to the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach was at 12:16 PDT the following day to make the total time 32 hours and 52 minutes.”
He claims an average of just under 87 mph for the trip. His top speed during that was about 120 mph. But he won’t say exactly where he hit that velocity. “I don’t want to say. I can’t think of any posted speed limits that say 120 mph.”
To get to his start in New York City, Jones rode the bike there from his home near Dallas. Finding no parking spaces available for motorcycles in any nearby garage in the city, he parked it on the street the night before. “That was kind of scary,” he related.
For verification of his feat, Jones supplied notarized statements for the starting and ending times. Plus there are hourly screen shots of the GPS system he used. Is that enough for you? Maybe? After all, these cross-country bomb blasts aren’t officially sanctioned by anyone. They're ludicrously illegal and, at best, morally squishy. Take it for what it is. R&T isn’t a sanctioning body.
He stopped seven times total, says Smith. And only for fuel. He drank from a Camelback, ate protein bars, took caffeine pills to bolster his alertness, and used a catheter and condom to evacuate the generated urine through a tube and onto the roadway. Fun details.
Back in April 2019 Adam Frasca claimed to have reset the record with a 37-hour, seven-minute blast from Red Ball to Portofino. Then, later that month, Calvin Cote claimed to have run from Portofino to Red Ball aboard a BMW K1600 in 35-hours, six-minutes. So, Jones’ claimed record represents a big leap forward in time for doing this very dangerous, kind of pointless, sort-of-stupid thing atop a motorcycle.
“I wouldn’t rule out doing this again,” Jones told R&T after riding back to Texas with his new proclaimed record. “It depends on what else happens. This was kind of a pet project. Right now, I’m going to sell the bike and go into some other hobbies.”
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