Classic Board Track Racing


During the years between 1910 and the end of the 1920s, thrill-seeking motorcycle riders from rough-hewn roots converged on circular or oval race courses built from planks of “green lumber”.

This type of track, often enormous and bracketed by grandstands filled with yowling, well-lubricated fans, was often called a motordrome. Less sanguine scribes of the day referred to them as “murderdromes” for their penchant to produce spectacular, high speed racing. The breakneck racing on them also resulted in vicarious thrills and regular, grisly casualties among riders. In a few notorious incidents, swaths of spectators were injured (and even killed) as the riders left the track and scythed them down in their seats.

The majority of the American national championship races were contested at such venues across the nation during the 1920s from California to Ohio to New York.

While board tracks were relatively inexpensive to construct, they fell apart with alarming speed and regularity. As a result, they lacked durability and required a great deal of maintenance to remain rideable.

Tracks survived for as little as three years, and were summarily abandoned.


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