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1916 Indian Board Track Racer

Tue, 12 Mar 2013 00:00:00 -0700

The simplicity of this 1916 Indian Board Track Racer is what makes it so beautiful.

Board Track was popular during the early part of the 20th century where cars and motorcycles competed at these stadiums where the surface was composed of wooden boards. It was an idea copied from velodromes used across Europe for bicycle racing and ultimately led to the oval racing phenomenon - like NASCAR - that still captivates Americans today.

The depression of the 1930s killed off board track's popularity but some stories from that era bring me out in goosebumps: during some of the races, engineers and workers would be tasked with maintaining the boards as the cars and motorcycles raced overhead. I imagine it was a terrifying place to earn a crust.

Fortunately, some of these early motorcycles still exist and they stand as a testament to just how simple a racing motorcycle can be. A 1,000cc L-head 'powerplusengine', no brakes, skinny tyres and a bicycle seat.

I guess Flat Tracking is where it's at these days but wouldn't it be great if Board Track was given another lease of life using more modern materials?

By Ben Cope

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