The Indian grins and so do all the big wigs in the clan when Chasteen gets hearty congratu
From the first came the division of the sheep and the goats. The mighty five drove to the front and the battle was on. Chasteen and Kretz, Sport Scouts running like jeweled watches; Young and Gatto, Harley-Davidson forty-fives tossing clean notes out into the November air. Ince, distinct, bellowing, the J.A.P. notes coming sharp and hard into the stands. Eddy, methodical, unperturbed! First it was Ince. The flying southern lad made his bid for the front on the backstretch. Behind him trailed Chasteen and Kretz. Under the same blanket ran Eddy and Young and Gatto. The big six were under way. A brown jacket slid smoothly into the front and a white helmet loomed behind the dropped bars. Goggled eyes peered ahead and Chasteen moved into the lead, but not for long. The pack accepted the challenge and moved up with him. Chasteen seemed to gather the blanket right with him and the tail end of that blanket, that is signalized by “draft,” moved down the stretch with him. Excitement grew in the stands. It became plain that the pack went out with but one thought and that to let no man see too much daylight.
Chasteen clipped back into pace as running mate, Ed Kretz, moved up into the gunner’s position. Then suddenly the formation broke. They broke draft like alarmed geese, and a hammer and tongs battle ensued. All took their turn at leading, Ince, Kretz, Eddy, Gatto, Young. Chasteen dabbled along in third and refused the challenge. Excitement in the stands mounted. This was a 30-miler and it was being run like a one-lap sprint.
The blanket still covered the six. There was nothing for the race-wise to be guided by. One turned to his neighbor to remark on the leader, and by the time he turned back, first place had changed hands four times. One thing was evident -that somewhere among these six rode a new record holder. The pace was scorching. The terrific pace was proven by the vanguard. Motors dropped from the running in that group. No one watched however. Eyes were welded to the knot that moved with terrifying precision into the corners, where they rode in dangerous proximity, sliding elbow to elbow as they came out of the turns.
Twelve miles saw no change. Rather it saw every change. Everyone led and no one was out in front. Still the perfectly functioning team of Chasteen, Kretz and Ince shifted pace in front to trade betimes with another perfectly functioning team of Gatto, Young and Eddy. One cranking throttle and off they would go again into a mad merry whirl of spinning wheels and screaming motors. Gatto tried his run on the backstretch in the thirteenth. He was in the rear at the moment. He came high, right against the rail. Young turned on the heat below him. There was a gasp from the crowd. Gatto fell! Young sliding below, slid up into the stocky San Josean, tangled with him and Gatto dropped. The machine slid 50 yards! Young wobbled and recovered. Gatto’s bike hung crosswise near the top of the track. Gatto ran to the infield. We learned later that he received a broken arm. The six had now become four. Young was out although he plugged along to remain in the running.
Still the pace remained terrifically high. These were stock machines, remember, and they were lapping somewhere around 85 and possibly touching close to the 100 mark at the end of the straightaways. Chasteen’s motor ran with the effortless burble of perfectly tuned machinery. Kretz functioned steadily, clicking off and on with beautiful precision. Ince, sharp J.A.P. exhaust note still superbly clean threatened at any time. The stolid Eddy, like a lance at the back of his adversaries was there under the blanket. It was a smaller blanket now, covering four. The lead still changed on both straightaways, now Kretz leads, now Chasteen, Kretz in pace. Ince turned on the heat on the stretch and three begoggled riders dropped behind-inches behind-to accept draft.