Racing With the Old Timers

By Monty Graves, Photography by Unknown

It seems as though the facts in the case are somewhat as follows : The Middle Atlantic Motorcycle Dealer s’ Assn. and the Motorcycle Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan New York staged a monster Gypsy Tour at Saylor’s Lake, Saylorsburg, Penna. The boys assembled on Saturday night and in one group were such lights as Reggie Pink, Joe Petrali, Crocky Rawding and many of the night speedsters. One individual of national importance devoted most of his time to exploding huge fire crackers behind the boys who were standing in groups. It was sort of a childish stunt but it appealed to that particular hombre and served to work up a certain amount of enthusiasm for horse play among the others. “Smoky Joe,” not to be outdone conceived the idea of having various of his friends thrown into the lake.

As the evening wore on, nerves shattered by cannon crackers and further jaded by wet feet and wet clothes began to react. So they pulled a fast one on Joseph. While Smitty, Petrali, Heiserman and others were indulging in a little food and possibly a little liquid the shell shocked squad quietly sneaked out and let all the air out of Joe’s tires. Then they picked up a new machine which belonged to Reggie Pink and hid it on a back porch. Joe laughed long and loud at Pink’s discomfiture and when the last dog was hung, so to speak, he finally went to his car. They say that what Joe had to say could be heard echoing from vicinity for some time after 5 :00 A.M. So, friends, our old “Smoky” is now known throughout the length and breadth of the East Coast as ‘’Flat Tire’’ Petrali.

Love Letters of a Night Speedway Racer

Dear Motorcycle Racer:

Tuesday A.M. I roll out of bed. My first wide-awake thought comes to me as my sleepy gaze roves to the morning paper.

“How did Ben come out last nite at Stockton?” I wonder. Quickly I turn to the sports page. Wow! In impressive headlines I see your name. Gee, Fellow, I swell with pride just as though I were your mother. You’ve won again! Your time has improved, too. I am so proud of you, but not in a personal, gloating way. Rather in the way that you must feel when you see your favorite movie actress carrying away filmland’s highest awards. I just stand there, thinking of you and grinning at the wall until some member of the family makes a personal comment that sends my thoughts flying.

During the day my heart beats out, “Ben won! Ben won!” Then, towards evening, I begin to wonder how you’ll do at Emeryville. If you don’t do so well as the nite before I find myself saying, “Not so well.” Then I add fiercely, “this time.” I console myself with the thought that, win or lose, you are the best and that you’ll prove it Thursday and Friday at Fresno and Sacramento. I begin to build up your future victories on the track.

I see you flying across the finish line. The announcer’s booming voice calls your names as the winner. Gee, you’re a grand guy! I’ve forgotten that you ever lost any competition, racing or otherwise; but I can never forget those that you’ve won, andthe ones you’re going to win.

I have other moments of conflicting emotions over you, too. You’ve been too busy to write to me. In my innermost soul I understand this, yet I can not restrain that fleeting moment of hurt each time I look for mail and there is nothing from you. I begin to wish that you were the boy next-door, who works in town and has his evenings free. But, you without your motor? Without your hard-earned name? No. I’d rather have you as you are. I look at your photograph-the photo of the best motorcyclist alive and I am content to just know you and to wait for your letters, though they be far between.

Now, Boy, please write me your reactions. I’d love to hear from you soon.

Sincerely and with love,


By Monty Graves
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