100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

Archive for the tag “moto-cross”

Horrific Crash at Motorcycle Race In New Jersey

Bicycles first became popular in the late 1800’s. The French built velodromes around existing athletic tracks with shallow banked 180 degree turns connected by two flat straight area of track. These tracks moved indoors and the shorter spans necessitated steeper banking constructed from wooden planks fitted end to end. The indoor arena was surrounded at the sides by grandstand seating.

In 1910 the first Motordrome was built in Los Angeles, California, board track designed for motorcar and motorcycle racing. The track was built from 2×4 boards and was banked at 25°. As more morotdrome were built and the sport grew, due to refinements in engine technology speeds increased banking was increased. Higher banking produced higher speeds. Spectators who looked  down onto the track from bleachers at the top of the boards were separated by flimsy 2×4 board barriers. Centrifugal force increased the danger and a tragedy was just waiting to happen.
On September 8, 1912 Eddie Hasha was at the New Jersey Motordrome near Atlantic City in a motorcycle race on his Indian motorcycle. He lost control while doing 92 mph. The bike rode the rail for some 100 feet, decapitating a young boy who had put his head over the rail to watch the race then struck a post, throwing Hasha into the grandstands and killing him instantly along with 4 other bystanders. The Indian fell back on the track killing another rider. Several more people were injured as they rushed and trampled each other to get out of the carnage.

Eddie Hasha on his 8 valve Indian motorcycle

The actual race in progress
New Jersey Motordrome near Atlantic City
September 8, 1912

Newspaper article diagramming the carnage
New Jersey Motordrome near Atlantic City
September 8, 1912

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