Thursday, October 22, 2015

How Racing Teams Worked 100 Years Ago - Episode #36

By: David L. Morrill
@ Mototique

Updated: December 31, 2016

Indian Racing Team Fort Erie, Ontario - July 1911
Chris Price @ Archive Moto
This photo was originally shared by Chris Price of Archive Moto. According to Chris, it shows the Indian Racing Team Camp, known as the Wigwam, at the FAM Championship Race held at Fort Erie, Ontario in July 1911.

This enhanced section of the above photo, was shred by Marcello Villada. It gives us a rare glimpse into the logistics of professional motorcycle racing in the early teens. It shows Indian Racing Team members, along with the shipping crates for their race bikes.  So how did this work?

Marcello Villada Collection
The various motorcycle companies involved in racing, would prepare their bikes at their race shops. Once the bikes were prepared, they would be loaded into the crates shown in the photo, for shipping.

Maldwyn Jones and his Flying Merkel Racer
 with his shipping crate - 1914
Ralph Goins Collection
The bikes were then shipped by rail, accompanied by mechanics, to the races which were held across the the country.

Indian 8 Valve Racer
Barber Vintage Motorsport Museum Collection

In the meantime, the racing team members would receive telegrams instructing them to travel to the races, by rail, and arrive on a specific date. When the bikes arrived at the rail depot of the towns, where the races were held, the were transported to the track by either truck, of by horse drawn livery wagons.

Harley Racers headed to the Dodge City Races
R. I. Jones Collection
When the races were over, the bike were then returned to the factories, and the riders returned to their home cities.

This is a rare glimpse behind the scene of professional motorcycle racing over 100 years ago!


Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum Collection

Classic American Iron

Chris Price @ Archive Moto

Marcello Villada Collection

Ralph Goins Collection


  1. Do you know if Ed Wilcox had a son named Al? If so, the story continues.... In the meantime, I'll see if there is possibly more I can did up on DeGroat here in Ham Town.

  2. I believe Ed Wilcox had two daughters, but not a son. I have been in contact with DeGroats family here in Alabama, and they have shared their information on his racing, and law enforcement career. If you run across any new information, let me know Please!