A Stephen Wright restoration, from an important Long Island collection
1912 Indian V-Twin Board-Track Racer
Engine no. 75D900
Every discipline in motorsport has its keepers of the flame, and when it comes to the life-and-death game of board-track racing, Stephen Wright is one of those people. In the Teens and Twenties, motorcycle racing on huge pine-planked speed bowls some with banking set an incredible 60 degrees was a big enterprise. Factories used victories to sell the public on the speed and reliability of their road machines. Winning racers became stars. Crowds were immense. Wright has immersed himself into those glory days. A transplanted Brit, he is a historian with several seminal books about early American motorcycling to his credit. He also undertakes immaculate restorations of board-trackers, his handiwork appearing in museums and finer collections.
The 1912 Indian track racer shown here is one of Wright's restorations. Starting in 1911 Indian's favored riders would have access to fire-breathing 8-valve race bikes. This racer, with two-valve heads, represents what a well-connected privateer, say a large dealership's best hired gun, would have been provided to do battle with the factory stars. Rather than a "keystone" chassis one where the crankcases tie the frame tubes together a more standard loop-type frame is used. The 1000cc V-Twin would have been down on power to the factory 8-valves but was still a formidable piece, and more reliable to boot. In fact, it was a two-valve-per-cylinder Indian ridden by Albert Burns that was the first motorcycle to average 100 mph during a national championship race. Here's a great example of the kind of bike that made up the backbone of board-track racing. Offered on a bill of sale.