The American Oval Board Track: Murderdrome
June 18, 2012 12:34 PM Subscribe
posted by furnace.heart (11 comments total)
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to today's MotoGP
contests, with top speeds upwards of 215mph (346kph)
, early days of modern-day American motorcycle racing
still reached speeds of 95mph (152kph) on dangerous wooden 45° banked tracks
that earned the nickname Murderdromes by the end of the 1920's. Riders often raced
with no brakes and leather helmets
. But mostly, just a sweater
and a smile.
At a time when the American motorcycle industry was dominated by bicycle builders,
races took place on 1.5 mile (2.4 km) 20-25° banked velodromes constructed out of planks of wooden 2-inch (51 mm) x 4-inch (100 mm) boards, laid out lengthwise. The first board track motordrome, the Los Angeles Coliseum Motordome
, was completed in 1909 followed by half a dozen across the country.
By the 1920's builders started constructing newer Motordromes with steeper banks, like the New Jersey Motordrome in Nutley, had a slope of 45° the sport not only grew more dangerous for the riders, but for the spectators as well. During a race at the New Jersey Motodrome, rider Eddie
"The Texas Cyclone" Hasha
was killed, along with several spectators, making the front page of the New York Times.