Friday, June 10, 2011

Motor-Paced Track Racers 1910-1930s

Motor-Pace Track Races were wild and dangerous events. They didn't have motorcycles perfected at this time and they certainly didn't have very good tires. Often times the huge motorcycles used for pacing the cyclist would blow out a rear tire, which usually caused serious injury to the cyclist and was often fatal. The bicycles were fixed gear machines that were specially designed to place the cycle as close as possible to the pacer. Note the backward forks and small front wheels. Captions are below each photo.

Click on the images to enlarge them
Dickentman being paced by Bretschneiger - Steger. 1910

Dutchman Piet Dickentman (Jan 4, 1879-Oct 13, 1950) was one of the most successful track racers of his day. Dickentman showed remarkable qualities early on in his career which lasted well into the twenties. Dickentman was so successful that he was able to afford tandems rather than soloes as pacers until the outbreak of WWI. He considered them safer than soloes.

Dickentman's bicycle is a Model 32 BrennaborBrennabor were highly engaged in pro track racing at the time, probably also making the huge motorized pacing tandem. The big tank between the riders on the moto houses the fuel, while the lever sticking out behind it belongs to the manual oil pump.

Image from the 1923 French professional motor-paced championship, held at the Parc des Princes in Paris. The pilot of the second motor isn't wearing a helmet, and only the brakesmenwear the heavy leather jacket.

Buffalo, Velodrome, 1923....a blow-out, a crash, a ruptured fuel tank, and Demenou's moto bursts into flames. On the right - a driver appears to be using a fire extinguisher, while the man on the left is probably trying to pull the burning moto away from the wooden track, wooden canopy, and wooden grandstands.

Robert "Toto" Grassin, in white, passes Gustave Ganay during the 1924 Grand Prix Darragon.

Grassin was French National Stayer Champion in 1924 (ahead ofGanay), and World Champion in 1925.

Ganay won the Mont Faron Hill climb in 1920 and 1923, and was French National Stayer Champion in 1926. He died August 23rd 1926 after a crash on the track at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

On September 30th, 1928, Belgain racer Leon Vanderstuyftregained the Paced Hour Record, covering 122.771 kms (76.29 miles). On the left Vanderstuyft's trainer Rody Lehmann holding the monstrous motorbike. Note the massive chain and complex front suspension. On the right, Vanderstuyft on his bike. Note the front chainring.

Action from the 1930 French Motor-Paced Championship at theParc du Princes in Paris. Here Georges Paillard leads Francois Urago(of Urago bicycles fame). Urago (inset) would go on to win the title.

A view of the wooden track in Brussels, Belgium during the 1930 World Cycling Championships.

British rider Harry Grant (No. 5) passes Georges Wambst (No. 2 - France) for a second time during the 1935 "Les Cent Miles" at theParc des Princes in Paris. This event had the riders racing behind motors for 160 kms, "cent miles".

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