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Sep 14, 2018

Book Excerpt: SPEED: The One Genuinely Modern Pleasure

Board-track superstar Jake De Rosier poses with his Indian, circa 1910. Photo courtesy Don Emde Collection.


     Jake De Rosier's 998cc Indian is fully on its side, just about parallel to the ground and 30 feet above it, as he sweeps around the speedbowl's west banking, closing in on the race leader.

     Wood splinters thrown up from the pinewood boards by Paul "Daredevil" Derkum's Reading-Standard motorcycle stab De Rosier's knuckles. Hot oil from its engine smears his goggles and stings his cheeks. Now he lets his machine run loose, allowing centrifugal force to take him high up the wooden banking at around 90 mph, then he lets gravity take over, plunging down the boards to swoop past Derkum, into the lead.

     Leaving the angry noise of Derkum's steed behind, he aims at the east banking for the final time: Last lap, pay day. The g-force sucks him deep into the planking, the Goodyear Blue Streak tires squirming ominously as his right hand works the oil pump to feed fresh lubricant into the straining engine. He can almost smell the fat wad of dirty dollar bills that will be his, for cheating death and beating the rest once again...

Speed: The One Genuinely Modern Pleasure, By Mat Oxley

From The Book Excerpt in the September 2018 Issue of Roadracing World

Motorcycle board-track racing took America by storm in the early years of the 20th century. But before long, motordromes became known as murderdromes. Mat Oxley's sensational excerpt from his new book, Speed: The One Genuinely Modern Pleasure, makes for compelling reading, in the September 2018 issue of Roadracing World magazine.

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