This has got to be one of the most extreme forms of motorcycle racing ever. Riding stripped down and highly tuned bikes like Cyclone, Flying Merkel, ACE, Harley-Davidson, Excelsior and Indian, these all-American heroes raced around banked oval circuits constructed from wooden boards - a bit like a gigantic, highspeed wall of death (literally). Board racing was immensley popular up until the 1920s. It was also very brutal and fatalities were high amongst riders and spectators!
One of the early stars was Eddie Hasha who set a 1 mile record of 95mph at the Playa Del Rey circuit near Los Angeles on May 1st 1912. Over the years, the sport began to get a bad reputation, not just because of the casualties but also illegal gambling, the consumption and selling of "moonshine" and even prostitution too!!Edde Hasha himself eventually became a victim of the sport that made him famous, He was killed in 1921 at the Newark track in New Jersey when he and a few other riders flew all off the banking killing themselves and a number of spectators too... Brutal and frightening it may have been but I just wish I could have witnessed this spectacle for myself.
If you want to see more amazing photos and read about the history of these crazy adrenaline junkies take a look at http://statnekov.com/motorcycles/index.html Highly recommended!