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Sheepshead Bay Speedway, Oct. 11, 1919. Motorcycle Board Track Race

Possibly one of the most shared archival films from America’s Golden Age of motorcycle racing, this remarkable bit of footage captures competition on one of the country’s fabled board track speedways. However, credited to a Czech Indian rep from the 1920’s, the footage is woefully, if not comically misidentified, citing errors from the locations to the individual names of the racers, errors which have created a considerable amount of confusion among modern day enthusiasts. I recut the film, removing the errors and pulling together the accurate history of the event, which is full of iconic racers, legendary machines, cultural milestones, and world records. So many have watched this film over the years and reconnected with American motorcycle culture’s earliest, and arguably most thrilling days, but I invite you to take a few minutes to revisit this priceless footage, now with an accurate understanding of the history involved, and enjoy a rare glimpse into the excitement of the American board track speedway. Mr. Marik’s film actually comes from the M&ATA National Championship races held at the board track speedway at Sheepshead Bay, near the southern shoreline of Brooklyn, New York on October 11, 1919. The massive 2 mile-long board track speedway at Sheepshead Bay had been one of the first of the larger speedway type tracks built back in September of 1915. At 2 miles long it was one of the largest of its type ever created, the design of which being the precursor of the modern super speedway, with steeply banked corners, flat straights, and massive grandstands at a safe distance off to the side of the track. These large board track speedways hosted countless prestigious automobile races over the years, but the immense size of tracks like Sheepshead Bay also provided America’s motorcycle manufacturers with the perfect venue to raise the ever-increasing speed ceiling. If you are interested in learning more about this event, the records set, the legendary machines used, and the iconic roster of pioneer American motorcycle racers head over the to Film Vault exclusively at to read the full article on this glorious day at Sheepshead Bay in 1919. There you will find other archival film footage which has been edited and reunited with the history behind the frames, along with countless articles recounting the remarkable stories of American motorcycle culture. Be sure to follow along for weekly updates on Instagram and Twitter by subscribing to @Archive_Moto, and please subscribe to the ArchiveMoto Youtube Channel before you leave. Editing, research, and music direction by Chris Price. Music Credits: Bugle Call Blues - New Orleans Rhythm Kings (1922) One Step - Dixieland Jass Band (1917) Gold Leaf Strut - New Orleans Rhythm Kings (1925)
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