Jim Young Wins 200-Mile Class C Speedway Title

By Chet Billings, Photography by Unknown

From the August 1935 issue of Motorcyclist Magazine

“Shades of Old Ascot, Tacoma and Dodge City.” Such might have been the thoughts of any old-timer as he gazed over the field of riders and observers on the day before the 200-mile Class C speedway race in Oakland.

As the hour approached noon there were almost as many machines and men in the pits as it was expected there would be the day of the race. A sidecar outfit drove through the gates and into the infield. Red Fenwick got off and started to unload an Indian. Fenwick nursed motors when they had long distance races on Muroc Dry Lakes.

A smiling faced individual stepped up to shake hands with Red and to ask who was going to ride the machine. He was Otto Walker, one time member of the famous Harley-Davidson racing team. Before Red could reply another fellow, tall and slim and smiling, stepped up to slap Walker on the back. He was Floyd Clymer.

It turned out that the machine Fenwick was fondling was to be ridden by Fred Ludlow. Red had nursed motors for Ludlow in the old days. In fact between them they nursed as high as 127 m.p.h. out of motorcycles. At the mention of Ludlow’s name Clymer was seen to rub his palms together and Walker to fidget. “I’d like to ride myself,” said Walker, “if my rheumatism wasn’t quite so bad.”

While that group was reviewing a bit of the past, the reviewing being enlivened a bit by the appearance of Ray Garner, other groups were beginning to form. It seemed almost as though the job of trying out machines had been forgotten. There was Bill Church, Les Dreisbaugh, Ludlow, Dud Perkins, Hap Alzina and others; every one an old competitor and famous in his own right.

But what started out like an old-timer’s convention was changed into a scene of hustling activity by the arrival of Sam Arena, Tom Sifton, Ed Kretz, the Rathbuns, one Sal Gotto and several more younger faces. These boys were too busy making history to discuss it. Before long motors began to warm up and shortly after machines began to turn the oval.

As if at a signal reminiscing ceased and stop watches sprang into sight. Instead of old records being recited, cogitation over the winning time of the morrow was on every lip. Some there were who took into consideration the roughness of the track, the heat, the experience or lack of experience of Class C riders and guessed that “fifty” would take it. In opposition to these conservatives were more daring minded ones who said that night speedways had changed the scheme of things and that the world would see a Class C record nearer “forty.” Of course it was the time per lap in seconds they were discussing. “Forty” would be 90 m.p.h. and “fifty” would be 72 m.p.h.

It appeared that the boys at that time on the track were getting around in “forty-seven” and “forty-eight.” Then came the pros and cons of whether or not equipment would stand the pace. At about that time someone put a watch on a lad who it developed was getting around in “forty-seven.” By the gods, who should it turn out to be but “Mose the Second” that day and night message carrier and light lighter from Muroc. Was he having a good time? At least he enjoyed himself until he found his mother had been watching him. She greeted him with, “Well, what was holding you back?”

A fellow without a helmet, using ordinary eye glasses for goggles and with about a yard of white shirt tail streaming out behind treated the assemblage to a “forty-six” or two. When he rolled into the pits a present day rider was heard to say, “Gee, that guy wasn’t doing so bad. Who is he? I wonder if he is going to ride tomorrow?”

“Yeah that fellow used to ride some I guess,” says the buddy, “His name is Clymer. I don’t think he’s ridin’ tomorrow though.”

By Chet Billings
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