THE SPEED KINGS – THE RISE AND FALL OF MOTORDROME RACING
WRITTEN BY DON EMDE
Don Emde, a former Daytona 200 winner, Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee, has announced his upcoming new book: The Speed Kings. The Rise and Fall of Motordrome Racing. The richly illustrated, 372-page hardbound book tells the story of the first generation of motorcycle boardtrack racing in the early 1900s, when daring riders sped at 90+ mph around ¼-mile circular motordromes banked at 60-degrees. Thousands came to watch, sometimes at their own peril.
Dirt track racing was where motorcycle racers usually started in those years, honing their skills, but it was the motordromes that turned some of them into national sports heroes. The Speed Kings follows the life and times of Jake DeRosier, Charles “Fearless” Balke, Eddie Hasha and others from their first day of racing to their last.
The Speed Kings. The Rise and Fall of Motordrome Racing actually begins in the late-1800s with the first seven chapters covering early day history of two-wheel racing in America. High-wheel bicycles, velodromes, motor-pacing with gasoline, electric and steam power are all featured in Part I.
In Part II, many motorcycle brands are introduced and dirt track racing starts to get serious at dusty fairground tracks from coast to coast. Also, wooden velodromes for bicycle racing inspire the creation of larger versions for the piston-powered machines. The age of motordrome racing began with one track, but the spectacle became contagious and the public couldn’t get enough, filling motordromes in some cities three nights a week.
Motordrome racing made the front pages of newspapers in the years to come, at first with good news to promote the country’s exciting new sport, but as time went on, news of many tragic events eventually saw it all crash down shortly before the start of World War I.
PART I : PROLOGUE
1. How it all began
2. Bicycle racing in the 1890s
3. The dawn of the self-propelled era
4. Gasoline, electric or steam ?
5. 1898-1900 : Motor-pacing in America
6. Oscar Hedstrom : creator of the Indian motocycle
7. New directions for a new century
PART II : STORY OF THE SPEED KING
8. The first decade of motorcycling
9. The California connection
10. The house that Jack built
11. Sport that made hearts flutter
12. New tracks
13. Return to Los Angeles
14. Double, double, toil and trouble
15. Conflicts in Salt Lake City
16. A rough winter in California
17. 1911 : big changes coming
18. The racing explosion
19. The summer of speed
20. Changing the guard
21. All roads lead to Oakland
22. Approaching the Pinnacle
23. A loss of innocence
24. The explosive summer of 1912
25. The national meet
26. Storm clouds forming
27. Countdown to tragedy
28. Black sunday
29. Investigations and broken hearts
30. The racing world after Vailsburg
31. The last days of Jake DeRosier
32. A league of their own
33. 1913 : year of the Murderdrome
34. Fearless returns
35. Horror at the lagoon
36. The summer of 1913
37. 1914 : New tracks but no league
38. “What is to be, will be”
39. The last hurrah
The book is new, hard cover, 372 pages, English text.
ISBN : 978-0-9972720-1-7