Pre-1916 Cannonball Endurance Run
The Bike: 1929 BMW R62
Rider/Owner: Joe Gimpel
Sponsors: Blue Moon Cycle & Gerbings Heated Clothing
Last September I got word that a gentleman in Florida was looking to buy a 1929 or older BMW to compete in the Cannonball Endurance Run, a cross country ride on pre 1930 motorcycles. I found this very interesting as I also dreamed of someday competing in this event, but in 2010 the event was limited to Pre 1916 motorcycles so the possibility of riding a BMW did not exist because BMW motorcycles did not exist until 1923.
I had a 1928 R62 sitting in my museum for nearly 20 years and although I really didn't want to sell it, I was convinced it would be the right bike for the Cannonball. After talking to Joe and hearing about his machinist talents and experience with other brands of vintage motorcycles, primarily Indians, I was convinced that Joe would be the perfect guy to take a BMW to victory in the Cannonball.
Joe and I struck a deal on the old R62, he purchased the bike and Blue Moon Cycle will be one of his sponsors. I plan to be in New York for the kick off in September and follow the tour at least part way on a newer BMW. Joe with the help of a few friends is in this for the long run. This is a serious ride and it takes a serious commitment of time, talent and money to make it work. If you would like to lend time, talent or money to this endeavor, give us a call, we are still looking for a few good sponsors.
My name is Joe Gimpel, Jr and I’ve lived in Port Orange, Florida for the past 20 years. I was born and raised with two sisters in Langhorne, Pa which is near Philadelphia. My family had a business that made specialty valves for many different applications. My degree is in mechanical engineering and I was responsible for the design of some of our valves that are used throughout the world. I sold the business and retired 21 years ago.
I was 11 years old when I started riding. By age 16 I was working on old Indians and Harleys. My father, Joe Gimpel, Sr, began acquiring old V8 Fords and I’ve spent many years helping him work on restoring them to pristine condition. I’ve also restored several exotic cars including a 1925 Bentley Grand Prix and a 1934 Graham Indy car that won an award at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 2010.
As President of the Sunshine Chapter of the AMCA I have had a lifelong love of vintage bikes. My most modern machines are a 1999 Victory and a 2004 BMW R1150R. I work on many different makes and models of bikes but the old beemers are my specialty.
I avidly followed the 2010 Cannonball Race via the computer and knew quite a few of the participants. Too bad that none of my bikes were age appropriate. Well, with the change in the age requirement for this year’s race I decided that I’m up for the challenge plus it’s one more thing I can cross off my ‘bucket list’. I chose the 1929 R62 because of the challenge of doing another ground up restoration and the hope of being able to ride it cross country, start to finish.
I got the bike from John Landstrom at his shop Blue Moon Cycles. I’d met John years before at auctions where I noticed someone was buying up a lot of the old BMWs. The R62 has been in his museum and was in fair condition, not started in 25 years but not a rust bucket either. I’ve put all new modern bearings and seals in and am having the original paint scheme replicated. I will ride it 500 – 1000 miles before the event to make sure it meets my expectations. Mechanically we’ll be good; the weather will be the biggest challenge. My road crew consists of a long time friend and rider from my hometown and another handy person that I’ve worked with in the past. Between the three of us I have every expectation to successfully finish the race, with the dream of all three of the entered BMWs placing first, second, and third.
I am looking forward to the experience and opportunity to be a part of this year’s Cannonball, the camaraderie of the other riders and crews, and then being able to take the bike to vintage shows and meets in the years to come so that other people can see and appreciate how great these old bikes are.
The ProgressJoe is making progress on his Blue Moon Cycle sponsored 1928 BMW R62. Everything is going together on schedule, the never been opened engine held few surprises, the crankshaft spec'd out fine so it did not have to come apart. Main bearings were replaced with upgraded bearings. Joe plans to put several hundred miles on the bike before September.