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1910 Harley Davidson
Board Track Racer Motorcycle
"Raced Neck to Neck with Death"
Before the 1910 Harley, motorcycles were already in circulation. By 1903 Harley had already released their bikes to the world. However, it wasn't until 1910 that Harley took a motorcycle into the racing world. After years of inevitable street racing with ill-equipped bikes, Harley decided to design a bike that was specifically made to test its limits on the track.
Thus giving us, the Board Track Racer.
- Motordome, Beverly Hills CA
Motordomes were the wooden panel tracks designed for racing motorcycles in the early 1910's and 20's. They were made up of 2-by-2 and 2-by-4 pieces of lumber, often jagged and rough surfaced. They varied in sizes up to 1.5 miles long, and were designed to send motorcycle speeds up to 100 mph.
And though the wooden tracks were successful for speed, they spoke nothing to safety. Often nicknamed the "Murderdomes," these wooden race tracks were most notably known for the deaths and danger they inevitably brought. Since racing motorcycles were designed for speed and only speed, the bike's didn't have starters or breaks. That along with the unsteadiness and rigidity of the wooden tracks lead to countless deaths for both riders and spectators. Crashes were constant and when riders went down, they were being impaled by wood planks and deathly splinters along their faces and bodies.
"Dancing with the Devil" Board Track Racing Documentary
But the dangers didn't stop crowds from coming in masses. The danger of the whole event was often what brought spectators out. The thrill and adrenaline brought on from the newness of speed and all its dangers was the lure of racing for both the audience and the drivers. However, by the early 1930's the board track motordromes had lost their appeal to the public, and race cars were taking center stage. But even though the racing faded, Harley Davidson had instilled their name and legacy for all motorcycles to come.
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