Petrali Wins Two National Championships

Three New Records At Syracuse

By E.c. Smith, Photography by Unknown

Time for the fifteen-mile was 11:10.83-a new record, beating the former record of Jim Davis, of 11:29.56. That record was made in 1929.

The final event was the Twenty-five Mile National Championship. By the time it was called, everybody but the riders were jittery. The clean sweep, could Joe make it? Twenty-five miles is different. The riders would be more discreet. There were motors to be considered. These were the words passed along the rail and through the stands as the boys sat on their motors waiting for the start. They made the lap and came up a roaring cavalcade for the flag.

Freddie Toscani had found more horses and was hitching them up, right there at the start. Joe and Jim were wheel-to-wheeling it right up in front. Andy Hader, star of the last year’s performance, had found the sweet spot and was making the best possible use of it. Louis Balinski crept up on Joe and Jim at the five miles and hung on. Most of the time he hung onto Joe who was in front position.

The expected motor-nursing never came. The pace was even more furious than before. Davis dropped back a length. Saving the motor? Maybe. It looked as though something had to let go up there in front, and Jim Hader and Toscani were in a fine position to take advantage of anything that might happen. But at twenty miles Joe and Louis were still riding hub and hub.

At this juncture nature imposed an extra hazard. It began to sprinkle. The boys came past the stands wiping the mist from their goggles. There was a hurried consultation among the officials. Starter Pink came out with the flags. The referee checked with each rider as he came along and each gave the O.K. signal. Still it sprinkled. Twenty-one miles, twenty-two! Joe and Louis were still wheel to wheel! Joe’s clean sweep of the meet was possible! The starter came out with the yellow flag-one more to go! And it was the longest lap any of us had ever seen.

Then the sun came through and as it did so, the two leading riders, still Petrali and Balinski, flashed into the stretch. Valiantly did the former champ try to jump pace, and just as valiantly did Joe Petrali, clean sweeper, National Champion, make his final bid and won. Hader had come out of the field and crossed the line for third place, with Davis in fourth and Toscani fifth.

Time was 18:44.52-and a new record, lowering the former record of 19:4.85, held by Andy Hader.

Three records broken! A clean sweep for Joe Petrali and the finish of the greatest race meet we have ever witnessed it.

By E.c. Smith
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