#43 Dave Volnek
During the 2014 Cannonball, Dave had signed up to come along as support and mechanic for his friend Jeff Lauritsen, who was a registered rider. Being pit crew and wheelman is a full-time job all on its own, but Dave ended up putting on some miles on the Lauritsen bike, too. Being in the wind was something he was used to since he literally ran the wheels off his little used three-wheeler when he was four years old and these days manages to keep his 1978 Harley on the road and in a healthy running condition. Mechanical reasoning is clearly a part of his DNA.
At 12 years old he asked for a wire-feed welder and eventually took over welding jobs for his parent’s farm, where the mechanic tasks were endless. At 14 he started restoring a 1958 Chevy truck, so he was well versed in making old stuff run, but wrenching on the old bikes was a newfound passion discovered during the Cannonball and seemed to feed his soul. And that was all it took. The 37-year-old Nebraska farm boy was hooked, although not for the reasons one might think. He’d fallen in love with the adventure and excitement during his first run from Daytona to Tacoma, but returning to the Cannonball for the 2016 race was because of the people he’d met. It was the characters who share the miles, the camaraderie and the sense of family that made the biggest impression on the young farmer.
He showed up at the starting line in Atlantic City, New Jersey, registered with his own bike and ready to see the country, although he struggled over feelings that the old Indian was just too special to be abused by the arduous route. After sharing miles of crappy weather that included oppressive heat and days upon days of rain, he still managed a smile beyond the exhaustion, but it wasn’t clear if our favorite farmer with a true heart was going to sign on for another migration. Turns out he’s willing to test his own fortitude, but not the Indian’s. Dave will leave the crops of Nebraska to join the rest of the clan for another cross-country tour next September as support crew once again.