Ed Kretz Wins The 200-Mile National Road Race Championship

West Coast entrant rides an Indian to the first National Championship of 1936, at Savannah

By E.c. Smith, Photography by Unknown

There were several nasty spills during the race. Fortunately all were such as to necessitate nothing beyond first aid, with the exception of J.B. Anderson and Summie Thomas. As already explained, Anderson was fatally injured. Summie, who comes from Spartanburg, S.C., turned out to be badly scratched and to have a broken collar bone. It was really wonderful riding on the part of all contestants which kept the whole event so free from accidents.

Credit goes to the sheriff of Chatham County for keeping the crowds back off the course. Likewise credit goes to all the officials and to the Southeastern Dealers Association for the complete detail with which everything was planned prior to the race and how things were handled during the event.

Savannah lived up to the spirit of Southern hospitality, thanks to the efforts of Mayor Gamble and his secretary, Mr. King. Likewise the newspapers extended every facility of their columns to help make the race a success.

Uncle George Blake and your humble servant spent the entire day and most of the day before the event gathering “shots” that will be fashioned into a new motorcycle film.

The winner of the event rode an Indian Sport Scout FCE861MY, equipped with Firestone Tires, Duckworth Chains, Splitdorf ignition and used Valvoline oil. The average speed for the race was 70.03 m.p.h.

A few words from the Winner

So many questions have been asked since I had the good fortune to win at Savannah that maybe I had better answer a few here for chose who haven’t a chance to ask. I am 25 years old, started riding in ‘27 when I bought my first new machine, an Indian, and have ridden “off and on” ever since. Yes, I’m married and we have two children. One is a boy 3 1/2 years old and the other is a girl who was born three days before I shoved off for Savannah. All the fellows in the race down there were good sports, and good riders. Some of the toughest competition came from fellows like Woodsie Castonguay, Jesse James, Rody Rodenburg, Babe Tancrede, Bernard Campanale and a few others. The Nortons were very fast and the Canadians good riders. The course got pretty tough coward the last, especially when It became cut up in the one bad turn. It seemed like some of the ruts were a foot deep. My motor worked like a clock. I stopped twice for gas but did not touch the machine otherwise. I want to give a lot of credit to my pit crew with Harry Pelton as manager and to the fine set of signals which were worked out for me. Everything worked out fine and that means much in any victory. There was no team work between myself and Al Chasteen the other West Coast boy. I saw him only once during the race and that was when I stopped for gas. I had a wonderful trip to the Indian factory and thoroughly enjoyed being entertained by Fritzie’s Roamers. Fritzie played a trick on me though, by announcing in two newspapers that I would give a speech at the club meeting. Yes I gave a short one. I couldn’t see any way to get out of it. Riding around in the snow on skis was great sport but the weather was pretty cold for one who was not used co it. I am glad I went to Savannah, of course happy over winning, and want to thank everyone down there for their Southern hospitality.

By E.c. Smith
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