English Dirt Tracks

Ray “Tauser” sets Hard Pace Riding-

By W.H. Neighbour

From the March 1931 Issue of Motorcycle Magazine.

Ray Tauscher of Portland, Oregon, a hillclimbing product of the Northwest, has become a performer of class on the small dirt tracks of England and Australia. At present he is on his second visit to Australia as a member of Frank Arthur’s team of dirt track tigers, and doing very well.

Ray was anxious to visit Australia in 1929, but just before leaving Oregon he met Cecil Brown. Brown, like Sprouts Elder, gained his fame on Australian tracks and then proceeded to England.

After talking with Brown, Ray decided to visit the English tracks first as the season was just commencing and consequently contracted to ride for Joan Hoskins, the ex-Australian promoter at the Wembley Stadium in London. That was in 1929, and Ray has been on the warpath for dirt track honors ever since. It is interesting to note that Tauser, as Ray is now called, created a new one lap record on his first appearance at this famous ground. Following that he enjoyed quite a run of success on various English circuits of all sizes and shapes from three laps to five laps to the mile.

The latter are known as trick tracks. They contain straights and it is thrilling to see the riders dash down the short straights, go into a full-lock broadside to negotiate the corner, then tear up on the other side. It was a hard school for Ray but he won out by sheer riding ability and finally linked up with Frank Arthur.

Arthur is the famous Australian who netted $30,000 during the 1929 season.

Ray continued with so much success that he was contracted to ride on sixty different tracks in the British Isles, the principal ones being London, Birmingham, Leicester, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. At the conclusion of the English season, Ray was keen on visiting Australia and became one of the principals of Frank Arthur’s team of tigers. Landing in Australia during the latter part of 1929 he made a few scattered appearances as his visit was more in the nature of a holiday. Being booked to ride in England in April, 1930, Ray steered a course for home in Oregon for a four-weeks’ stopover with his people prior to going to the big smoke.

Sliding the bends once more in the old country, Ray made a successful debut with the Wimbledon Stadium team and ran into third place in the first English Championship. The Wimbledon track is controlled by International Speedways, Ltd., who control most of the tracks around London.

The Portland boy was now a successful contender for the big money and one of his many achievements was to share the quarter mile record of the Stamford Bridge track with two other British riders at a speed of 47 miles an hour. Although the speed doesn’t sound very high, the going is terrific on a tiny flat track, causing intense excitement.

Tauser, Arthur, Grosskreutz and Duckett figured in most of the team work against the British riders and at the conclusion of the season in October left for Brisbane, Australia, which is Arthur’s home town.

On the team’s appearance at the Davies Park quarter mile track, Ray surprised them all by winning the World’s Dirt Track Derby over the mile which put him in instant favor with the fans.

Ray, as the winner of the Derby, then met the runners up who happened to be Vic Huxley and Dick Smythe, two of the world’s best, in a $500 match race. This was the star attraction of the night and again Tauser shone out as the victor. This was a meritorious win against recognized champions and Ray’s stock as a drawing card soared skyward. The team then left for Sydney to compete at the Wentworth quarter mile track and Tauser’s riding against the local boys was very impressive. His style appealed to the Sydney fans and during his two weeks’ stay he was made very popular, more especially at the benefit performance at the Wentworth track on New Year’s eve. On this night, Ray was matched against Max Grosskreutz, his teammate, for a two lap event, and what a thriller it was. During the whole distance both riders were rubbing shoulders to the cheering delight of the fans, and the match panned out a dead heat. Sufficient to say, it was one of the finest and most thrilling match races ever seen at the Wentworth, and both riders were accorded a splendid reception. Both Ray and his opponent received a gold watch to mark the occasion.

Tauser, with the other members of the team, gave the sport a wonderful boost in Sydney, and at the height of their popularity left for Melbourne under contract to the Motordrome track. Ray rode with marked success in that city, and at the present juncture is in Adelaide, South Australia, where he is to compete in the Australian one mile championship.

This annual event attracts all the champions, the prize money amounting to $1500 with big contracts for the winner to ride in England.

At the conclusion of his engagements in this country, Ray leaves for England via America, where he intends to revisit his home town, Portland, during the early part of March.

This ex-hillclimbing star from the Northwest is now 25 years of age and at the peak of his career as one of the finest exponents of the small tracks. With a genial personality, the gameness and sportsmanship that makes a man famous, Ray Tauser stands today as one of the best drawing cards the dirt track sport has ever known. Tauser now rides a dirt track Rudge.

By W.H. Neighbour
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