Originally posted by Buck Lovell on Wednesday, 23 November 2011 in Buck Lovell's - American Biker Blog
DEFINITELY NOT BETTY CROCKER
Way back in the early 1930's Speedway motorcycle racing was all the rage, and crowds attending these events boisterous and noisy. The event itself was boisterous, and noisy in that the motorcycles had no mufflers, and no brakes. Them's the rules boys. No brakes you say? How did they stop the machines. Well…they dragged their feet. Speedway machines were very lightweight, the 30.50 cubic inch single cylinder motor being mounted in very spindly round tube frame. The frames were so spindly and flexible in fact, that under hard acceleration many motorcycle simply shed the drive chain when the sprockets became misaligned. Being as lightweight as they were, these brakeless motorcycles had a very high power-to-wweight ratio, and could accelerate like lightning. Speedway motorcycles typically had no transmission, simply a jackshaft to transfer twist from the power-plant to the rear wheel. They really didn't need brakes, motor compression slowed them down, and foot dragging accomplished what the brakes would have done if they had been present. Most anybody who's ever watched porefessional Speedway racing goes back for more, it's just pure entertainment. And live entertainment at that.
Anyway, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, the Indian Motocycle Company (no "R" in the name is correct for this time era) and many other domestic and foreign motorcycle manufacturers fielded racing machines and sponsored riders for the tremendous brand name exposure this type of racing ensured.
A gentleman, and Los Angeles resident named Albert Crocker owned an aluminum foundry that cranked out products made of this lightweight metal. It was a very lucrative business, and generated large amount of profit dollars for mister Crocker. After attending a few Speedway races, and with encouragement from his friends, Albert Crocker decided to manufacture Speedway motorcycles to compete with the then dominant Harley-Davidson, Indian, and other brand name motorcycles. Using the Speedway rule book, Mr.s Crocker produced Speedway machines from about 1931 to around 1936. His single cylinder Crocker Speedway racing motorcycles proved to be superior, and the Crocker Speedway machines won many more races than they lost. This, of course means that he had excellent riders, but the machines were of such excellent quality, that soon customers and other motorcycle riders were clamoring for the Crocker Motorcycle Company to produce a street motorcycle with a twin cylinder motor. This around 1936. They wanted machines that could compete with the recently introduced Harley-Davidson EL motorcycles, and the existing Indian Chief lineup. But that's another story for another time. You'll see it here on the blog.