The Cannonball Record has tumbled once again. Just five weeks on from an anonymous team in an Audi A8 managing the New York to Los Angeles run in 26 hours and 38 minutes, former record holder and Cannonball guru Ed Bolian has released a video announcing an even faster time. Although right now, details are strictly limited.
We don’t know who did it, what they were driving, or even the exact time - Bolian merely states that the 26-hour mark was broken “by a considerable time,” meaning the average speed would have been over 108mph. Full details are promised in due course, although we are told the crew’s average speed through some states was an astonishing 120mph, and that they had an “amazingly well-prepared car” plus 30 spotters at their disposal.
As with the A8 run, though - which beat the benchmark set by Arne Toman, Doug Tabbutt in a Mercedes E63 only last November - this proves even more controversial than the average Cannonball attempt. Lower traffic levels due to nationwide shelter-in-place orders theoretically make the coast-to-coast dash safer, but with emergency services already preoccupied with fighting a pandemic, the morality of undertaking something inherently risky is questionable at best.
It’s interesting to note that the A8 team was apparently intending to announce their time next year when the mood is a little different. When one friend posted about it on social media, the news ended up out there much sooner than they’d hoped.
Even amongst Cannonball community, questions are being asked not just about whether or not this is the right time for such feats, but whether the records ‘count’. The current conditions - hopefully, at least - won’t ever be repeated, should any records broken in this time have an asterisk after them? And who decides that, anyway? You can’t have a sanctioning body for an activity which is illegal, after all.
Regardless, plenty of contenders have turned out to take advantage of quieter roads. Bolian notes that another team got to within five minutes of beating the A8 time and that the solo, diesel and coast-to-coast-to-coast record have all fallen in recent weeks. With traffic increasing once more, however, the recent spate of runs will probably now be coming to an end.