Monthly Archives: September 2014

Tragedy on the board track

Aged only 18, Ray Seymour was already an accomplished racer. During the 1909 season, he set several records at the LA Coliseum at 72 mph and 73 mph in June. Then in July he secured the world record for the mile at 76.6 mph. He went on to win more races at Playa del Rey, the LA Coliseum and other locations across America riding a Reading standard.

Ray Seymour

Ray Seymour

Reading Standard decided in 1910 to stop sponsoring racers, so Seymour moved to Indian and got his own factory tuned 8 valve. Seymour was leading the race in the New Jersey Motordrome on Sept 8, 1912, when his Indian teammate Eddie Hasha lost control and crashed. The accident killed Hasha, racer Johnny Albright, and 6 spectators. The spectators were children who were watching the race from the stands just above the upper guard rail. All but one of the dead were less than 21 years old. This was the deadliest event in board track racing history, and the public outcry from it forced the NJ Motordrome to close forever on that day. In time, the outrage from this and other accidents ultimately killed off the sport of board track racing.

Eddie Hasha

Eddie Hasha

Two of the injured later died in hospital bringing a total of eight spectators killed.

Seymour leads the race on Sept 8, 1912, Hasha is on the far right.  This photo was taken seconds before Hasha lost control and made the hard right turn up to the rail in the crash that killed 8 people.

Seymour leads the race on Sept 8, 1912, Hasha is on the far right. This photo was taken seconds before Hasha lost control and made the hard right turn up to the rail in the crash that killed 8 people.

104

105

Jake de Rosier’s brush with the law

April 16, 1910: De Rosier, arrested on charges of corrupting the morals of an underage girl, told The Times that he thought he had treated Pearl well, but assumed she was much older.

01

02

03

04

05

In 1911, De Rosier, riding an Indian motorcycle, set several speed records at the Los Angeles Motorcycle Stadium, nicknamed the “pie pan,” but ran out of gas before finishing 100 miles. He was clocked at 41.2 seconds for a mile; 10 minutes, 35 seconds for 15 miles; and 1 hour, 6 minutes, 35 seconds for 92 miles, The Times said. On March 10, 1912, he was thrown against a barricade at nearly 100 mph. He died of his injuries Feb. 25, 1913, in Springfield, Mass., at the age of 33.

Ken Sprayson framed Norton 500

This Norton is pretty special. It is believed to be a ken Sprayson frame built in 1957 for Geoff Duke to run a 350 in. In it’s current guise it has a Norton 500 twin in it. The frame is unusual in having a tapered single front down tube. Chain oiler built into the frame.