PUSHBIKE racing on banked wooden tracks known as velodromes was massively popular in Europe and North America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Very early motorcycles, little more than pushbikes with crude engines amidships, were employed to assist the cycle racers in getting up to speed. The motorbikes were soon way faster than their people-powered equivalents, much more exciting to watch and soon became the main game.

The first banked mile-long board track built specifically for car and motorcycle racing — dubbed a motordrome — was built from 4x2-inch pine boards in 1909 in Los Angeles. Riders on Indians, Excelsiors and Harley-Davidsons vied for huge purses of up to $25,000 per meeting, albeit at some risk to their personal well-being. Longer tracks of up to two

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