I’ve been a little busy lately, and so I haven’t had time to write my own version of events . . .
In the meantime, I highly recommend you check out Daniel Statnekov’s excellent website on boardtrack history.
However, before you visit Daniel Statnekov, check out this great video. It’s excellent live coverage from the early 1900s.
and this video from the National Film Preservation Foundation:
Here’s a snipet of an article Daniel wrote, available on his website:
It was a natural consequence that the first motorcycles were tried on the short (1/6th to 1/8th-mile) board tracks, or velodromes, that had been built for bicycle racing. These indoor, wooden speedways were popular with enthusiasts and were viewed by the bicycle manufacturers as dynamic bill boards with which to advertise their product. The velodromes were adequate to demonstrate speed and reliability of the motor-driven two-wheelers, but they were not suited for an all-out motorcycle race. By 1908, however, some of the longer bicycle tracks began to feature the motor-powered cycles. Even so, the board tracks were narrow, and competition was limited to a race between only two machines at a time. This changed in March of 1909 when John Shillington Prince, a former high-wheel bicycle world champion, opened the Coliseum motordrome in Los Angeles. At 3 & 1/2 laps to the mile, the new Coliseum was nearly twice as long as the velodromes and provided a circular, wooden speedway that could handle the 60 to 70 mile per hour speeds that the riders could coax from their otherwise stock machines.Almost immediately, the spectacle of men hurtling at “break-neck” speeds around the new motordromes became a passionately attended spectator sport. Huge crowds thronged to the board tracks that seemed to spring up overnight in cities across the country. This did not go unnoticed by the co-founders of the largest motorcycle producer of the day, the Hendee Company, manufacturer of the Indian “Motocycle.” Both George M. Hendee and Carl Oscar Hedstrom . . .
For more history, visit
Davenport, Iowa – 2006
Davenport, Iowa – 2006
Watch this AMCA Boardtrack Heat Race, July 20, 2012 in Wauseon, Ohio. Yes, these are honest to goodness boardtrack racing machines. It’s a great video!