|From Aldo Carrer's wonderful 'The Dawn of the Motorcycle' - 1903, 'over 100km/h', Parc de Princes.|
By H. O. Duncan.
|From James Sheldon's 'Veteran and Vintage Motorcycles' (Transport Bookman, 1961), "A typical French small-track racer of 1902 with many interesting features. The ornament on the rider's waistcoat is the oiling system"!|
|H. Cissac, July 27, 1905, 16hp (2500cc) Peugeot, 110lbs, 87.32mph. From Gerry Belton's 'All the Years at Brooklands' (Centenial, 2007)|
|This 1903 Buchet boast two enormous parallel cylinders, and a riding postion familiar to any owner of a bevel-drive Ducati 900SS|
|Marius Thé, 1903 Buchet racer; Marius raced from 1896 for Peugeot. From Ixion's 'Motor Cycle Reminiscences'|
|Cissac on a Board Track in France, from Carrer|
|Carrer again; the cover shot from 'The Dawn of the Motorcycle'. Italy 1904, Count Dionigi Albertengo of Monasterolo, Turin. 12hp Marchand, top speed 124km/h|
Ixion wrote: "The Parc de Princes track in Paris maintained a large programme of events, and men like Cissac [photos 3 and 5] thought nothing of evolving leviathan motorcycles, sometimes of 20hp. [4000cc] Occasionally two or three of these monsters would visit England, but our tracks were too gently banked for them...At this time [ca 1900] the French manufacturers and riders easily headed the industry." Racing on public roads was banned in England at this time, and not until the Brooklands track was completed in 1907 did any real race track exist in England. The French and Austrians held the major International competitions, which had incredible weight restrictions (ie, maximum weight of 108 or 120lbs!), thus forcing development of the racing machines in some very odd directions.
|Another from Carrer; 'A French rider at a race in England' - same race as Marius Thé above.|
|Artist's rendition of an early 'monster' race, from an old postcard put out by Continental Tires, 1921. Taken from 'Motorcycling Through History During the Golden Age of Postcards', Jerry Hooker, 2004|
The impact of these 'corrections' was certainly felt in the design studios, and focussed the industry on the betterment of the Motorcycle per se. As the public justification for racing has always been to 'improve the breed', these restrictions have kept us true to our word at least (although we know that racing is fun regardless of any purported Greater Good!).
|Glenn Curtiss postcard from 1907, also from 'Golden Age of Postcards'|
|Reproduction Curtiss V-8 (you know you want one), from the Curtiss Museum website|
Dave Richmond from the Isle of Wight sent this article; he currently hosts 'The Engine Room' blog):
"Hi there, fellow motorcycle obsessive; while reading your blog mention of cycle pacers [in the Board Track Racing on Film post] I thought you might like the following, published in The Motor Cycle 105 years ago...I had the huge good fortune to write for The Motor Cycle in its final years, and developed a habit of photocopying articles that tickled my fancy. I'm now semi-retired and am collating them into what might become a book, or blog. I look forward to seeing the pics on your fine blog in due course, and would be happy to send you some more snippets. Like you, I was a regular visitor to Verralls many moons ago at the Tooting site. Happy days."