Vintage Boardtrack Motorcycle Racing

16 Responses to “Vintage Boardtrack Motorcycle Racing”

  1. 1 Ryder01 Apr 17th, 2016 at 9:31 am

    So cool

  2. 2 Jimmy Mc Apr 17th, 2016 at 10:32 am

    MASSIVE board track – wow!

  3. 3 Boomer Apr 17th, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Some thoughts came to mind while watching this. First; it took a heck of a lot of lumbar to build such a huge and wide track. Florida isn’t exactly known for its forests so this was imported from somewhere to the North most likely.

    Did you notice all the dust being kicked up by the bikes? Not in the same pattern you would see on a dusty road but maybe a combination of dust from on top of the lumbar and also from below it by the flexing action of the wood as the bikes go over it.

    How are these boards secured? Nails would quickly work themselves out from all the flexing so what did they use? Tree sap and flour? I honestly have no idea what kind of tech was available back then. Did they ever come loose and fly up in the face of another rider? The fact they even built them at all, considering the expense, is huge testament to the racing spirit world wide. Those involved were truly lucky back then and now.

    Indian was a really badass bike back then which begs the question; why did they fail in the 50’s? Bad management or was it something else? There are probably some great books explaining this but if someone happens to know the straight up truth of it; I hope they share it here.

  4. 4 KIrk Perry Apr 17th, 2016 at 10:57 am

    That’s a lot of tongue & groove knocked together. Oak? Pine wouldn’t hold up. There were splinters to suffer-through too. Manly sport it was.

  5. 5 richards Apr 17th, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Nicker, Cyril…FYI! RE: Previous post regarding “Indian, 8 valve board racer”. I wrote an email to the National Motorcycle Museum (A really great MC Museum)In Anamosa Iowa to ask the if anyone could identify the reason there are flames shooting out of the head??? I got the following reply.

    MY QUESTION…I just viewed a video on tube of a 1915, 8 valve Indian, board track, V-twin, racer. I’m wondering if anyone there can answer a question regarding this bike. There are flames exiting near the bottom of the head. There a ports that are emitting blue flames and I (we) can not figure out what’s the purpose, we are assuming they are (partially ?) burned compression gases. Can anyone explain?

    Thanks in advance for any help you can give…

    REPLY…The holes in the bottom of the cylinders are (also) the exhaust ports, they dump most of the combustion pressure when the pistons approach BTC, less exhaust to exit out the top and less pressure to compress against, A standard hot rod trick of the era. (I believe he means the “bottom of the heads”)

  6. 6 nicker Apr 17th, 2016 at 1:53 pm


    Cool, learn something new every day.
    So the holes were drilled into the OEM head-casting as additional exhaust “ports” to relieve back-pressure…???

    If that was a “standard hot rod trick” it could explain designs of the era that had two exhaust pipes per cylinder. Or it was simply one of those mods hot-rod tricks that spread by monkey-see-monkey-do …???

    Can understand the slots at the bottom of the cylinder to vent excess crankcase pressure.

    Thanks for the follow-up.


  7. 7 coma Apr 18th, 2016 at 6:39 am

    Amazing footage! The music is pathetic though.

  8. 8 willy d Apr 18th, 2016 at 7:01 am

    A tip of the hat to those past warriors on motorcycles. Who needs stinking safety equipment. A leather helmet is all you need.

  9. 9 Jim Tom Apr 18th, 2016 at 7:56 am

    THis was wonderful! Thank you !

  10. 10 Ed Youngblood Apr 18th, 2016 at 8:27 am

    To my knowledge, Daytona Beach never had a board track. This is more likely Sheepshead Bay, NY. That “dust” you see the bikes kicking up is oil vapor. They had total loss lubrication systems. Oil dripped into the engine and was burned or blown out. The tracks consisted of 2x4s set on edge, providing a stronger, less flexible surface. Wood treatment had not yet been developed, so this was just raw wood, which weathered quickly. Few of these monster tracks lasted ten yours. Often they became inoperable in only five or six years because they weathered and fell apart.

  11. 11 KIrk Perry Apr 18th, 2016 at 8:46 am

    There’s a 1920’s film of the Hollywood board track. In a couple of clips, there’s kids under the track supporting the boards as bikes roared past. After which several of the kids would raise their heads above the track and grin, and then duck back down…like whack-a-moles.
    At the end of the film, they’re walking ta racer off the field….all splintered-up in obvious racking pain.

  12. 12 Gym Apr 18th, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Watching this film reminds me of riding on the freeways here in Phoenix, dodging all the debris falling off trucks and roofs of cars, not to forget the snowbirds and retards on their phones trying their best to kill you.

    This board track stuff looks tame in comparison.

  13. 13 Zenaldo Apr 18th, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Some great history here…very cool…some of our “roots” as it were…

  14. 14 Neal Bolam Apr 18th, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Thanks Cyril for allowing us to step back in time and see this amazing part of our sport in motion. I have read many books and articles on the early racing, but it is fantastic to see it live.

  15. 15 Steal Your Face Apr 19th, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Ed Youngblood, what happened to Motohistory?
    That was a very cool web page. Did you retire?

  16. 16 boston jim Apr 20th, 2016 at 8:08 am

    That was AMAZING ! But, I’m a little confused? I thought the 1st Daytona Race was 1938, combo track & beach. I believe an Indian won the 1st one. My friend Ben Campanale from Worcester, Ma., riding a H-D, won the 2nd Daytona Race as a Privater ! H-D signed him up for the next year, gave him a new racing bike, he didn’t win, but his bike, from the year before did, it won 2 years in a row. Ed Youngblood, can you confirm that fact? Thanks, BJ
    PS, I visited the New Indian Museum in Springfield, Ma. last July on INDIAN DAY, AWESOME !

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Cyril Huze