Ed Kretz (Indian Scout) leading Dick Ince (J.A.P.) in the 26th lap at the Oakland races. I
The Oakland Speedway lay etched, crystal clear, under a November sun that gave glorious promise of warmth and failed to deliver as per contract as we and some couple of thousand assorted Eskimos shivered in the grandstand while Al Chasteen cleaned house for himself, capturing a couple of new Class “C” records, with a Sport Scout that really went to town.
A goodly field was listed. Looking down in the pits it could be seen that the honor of the Wigwam was being upheld by sundry gentlemen of stout hearts and high courage while the Milwaukee camp had no Sisters of Meek. There loomed up Chasteen, elongated veteran of racing from Oakland, who owns to a rather disgusting amount of long track experience. Supporting Chasteen and the Wigwam was Pomona’s Ed Kretz, a racing gent who knows his way around; Meeks Hubbard; stocky, plugging Lou Casazza of San Francisco; Al Bauer of Sacramento; Don Rodman of San Francisco; ace pilot from the Night Speedways, Big Bo Lisman, and Louie Marzotto from Chicago.
Harley-Davidson’s crew boasted Jim Young, 200-mile winner ; Leonard Andres, night speedway veteran; Lee Jamison, T.T. crack from San Francisco; Sal Gatto, plucky little scrapper from San Jose, who came within an ace of cleaning the 200-mile fracas here a few months ago; Ray Eddy, Targo Florio champion, and Sam Arena, night speedway star. It was a good field that should have produced good racing. As it so developed, it did. Dick Ince carried the standard of the JAP’s with a cute 30.50 chrome tanked overhead that went places in somewhat of a hurry.
The pits likewise contained their quota of perennials without whom no race gathering has a savor. Stalked about in the Indian pit, overcoated, eyeglassed, Hap Alzina with a multitude of stopwatches. Everywhere in the Harley-Davidson pit was jerkined Dudley Perkins. A long trail of competition that stretched behind this pair, a trail that wended back to 1915, when the sandy-haired Perkins met the stocking-capped Alzina at Stockton’s mile, at Bakersfield’s mile-dirt, and met again at starting line at San Jose. Where Jefferson met Indian and Don Johns was king. Both visible at this time in their customary pre-race meet attitude-advising counseling, changing. Hap hammered Kretz down into position (it was Kretz’s first time out on dropped bars), Perkins stopwatched the rangy Young and called him in for gear change. Everywhere was that tenseness that passes only with the dropping of the flag. Visible also the modern Merlins of mechanical wizardry. Sandy-haired, white-coveralled “Red” Fenwick, the reverberations of whose famed Dry Lakes motors still echo where speedmen meet-Fenwick in the Indian pit, and opposite him Les Van De Mark, who work in unison. Together they moved from engine to engine, giving last minute touches. Fin Speer and Al Thomason hold forth at the next pit, different men but the same process. Harley-Davidson’s ace, Tom Sifton, silently stopwatched Sal Gatto. Sifton’s motors go and keep going. Today should be no exception. Oakland’s Frank Martoza looked on. One of his was second in the Oakland “200.”