Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bobby Walthour, Sr.

Bobby Walthour on a board track in 1909

Robert "Bobby" Howe Walthour, Sr was born January 1 1878 in the small town of Walthourville, named for his grandfather, near Savannah, Georgia. 

Bobby Walthour became a professional bicycle racer in 1896 as a track sprinter racing on highly banked velodromes with a wood or cement surface. He developed into a successful six-day racer.
Bobby Walthour resting at a six-say race in 1914.

Paced racing was a natural fit for Walthour's skills. This is racing done in the slipstream of either a multi-rider bicycle or a motorized vehicle. Originally the pacing was done by bicycles with two to five riders. Around 1899 he discovered racing done in the draft of a motorcycle. The rider on the bicycle behind the motorcycle is referred to as a "stayer" in this type of racing. 
Waltour behind his pacer Gussy

Motor-paced racing was a dangerous sport. Many participants were killed or seriously injured. Walthour reckoned that during his career he had crashed more than 250 times. In an article in the Washington Post in 1915 he was said to have:

           "broken his right collar bone twenty-seven times; broken left collarbone eighteen times; suffered rib fractures thirty times; had more than forty stitches taken in both legs; has more than 100 scars as a result of bruises; he has about sixty stitch marks in his face, forehead and had as a result of sewed up wounds; has broken six of his ten fingers; has been pronounced dead twice and fataly injured at least six times."

Bobby racing in France during the year 1909

Walthour spent most of his retirement years living in New Jersey. His son, Bobby Walthour, Jr., became a great cycling champion in the 1920 and 1930s.

Bobby Walthour, Sr. died in Boston at the age of 71.

Bobby Walthour, Sr. warming up in France in 1909.

Bobby Walthour, Sr.

Racing in Germany

Bobby Walthour, Sr on a sports card.

No comments:

Post a Comment