Henderson Team Wins Oakland 868-Mile Elimination Run

From the February 1918 issue of Motorcyclist Magazine

Oakland, Cal., Feb. 4.-With three Hendersons still running perfect at the end of the second 18-hour trial, the officials on the point of exhaustion from their long vigil, and the breaking of the tie nowhere in sight, the finale of the Oakland Motorcycle Club’s big double-header endurance-elimination contest came to a finish yesterday afternoon.

Out of the 21 original starters, but three remained perfect after something like 868 miles of riding, in two installments of 18 and 20 hours each, respectively. The trio of survivors, who couldn’t be eliminated under the rules in the hardest contest of its kind ever held, were Roy Artley, Homer Loudenclos and Al Clarke, all riding solo on 1918 Hendersons. It was a clean-up for the four-cylinder crew.

In the first half of the contest, which was held the previous week, “twenty-one riders started on 16 machines, there being five sidecars in action. After 372 miles of running in 18 hours, 12 machines and 16 riders were perfect, the five sidecars all coming through unpenalized.

Seven machines and nine riders who scored perfect in the first half, started in the second and final round, and three survived, the two sidecar, which went into action in the wind-up, being eliminated.

Equipment of the winning Hendersons included Berling magnetos, Duckworth chains, Persons saddles, A.B.C. generators, Santa Ana twin spotlights on Artley’s and Loudenclos’ machines, and Prest-O-Lite, with Old Sol lamp and Brilliant burner, on Clarke’s machine. All three used Firestone tires and came through on original air. In fact, Firestone cleaned up the tire honors, all machines starting on Firestones except two. Eleven of the 12 perfect scores in the first half were made on Firestones. Loudenclos used a Corbin-Brown speedometer.

A cash prize of $50 offered to the winner of the run will be divided among the three survivors, while second prize is awarded to Edward Allen on a Henderson, the last man to be eliminated. Allen almost lasted to the finish, which would have given Henderson four perfect and a 100 per cent showing on machines entered.

At 10 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 26th, H.T. Welling, president of the Oakland Club, was given the word to go, at the Service Garage, San Leandro, and the first half of the big contest was on. The first section of endurancing called for 372 miles of riding in 18 hours on a 20-mile schedule per hour. The course was a 63-mile circuit, from San Leandro to Alvarado, to Warm Springs, to Pleasanton, to Dublin, to Castro Valley and return, the route to be covered six times. All kinds of riding surface was embraced from gravel beds to chuck holes, and miles of dusty roads.

Five minutes after Welling left, Glen Stokes and Albert Burns pulled out amid cheers, in their Excelsior sidecar. The others followed at five-minute intervals.

Checkers were stationed from 13 to 20 miles apart, and this part of the management was efficiently handled. Huge bonfires at the checking controls were popular with the riders as they rolled in. The night was crisp and cool, and as dawn approached the cold became really severe. Some of the riders dismounted and ran alongside, pushing their machines for a spell, to speed up their circulation.

San Leandro was selected for the start and finish, to avoid as much as possible the heavy Sunday traffic in the city proper. Being a suburb, the contest really began and finished in Oakland proper.

The checkers had little time for snoozing, the large field of entries and close schedule bringing riders in pretty regularly. Several ladies assisted in the checking, serving throughout the night and bravely fighting off sleep. Among the fair sex, who served as checkers were Mrs. C.A. Lewis, whose husband was competing, and Mrs. Charles Meyer, wife of the president of the S.F.M.C. Other checkers were E.D. Stevens, E.A. Quigley and Charles Meyer.

As Sunday wore along, interest became greater and large crowds stopped to watch the riders arrive and depart. Throughout Saturday night the crowd at the control never fell below 100, spectators constantly coming and going.

Five Go Out in First Half

Although it was the easiest section, the first half of the contest brought the elimination of five machines. Bud Clarke, on the only Reading Standard entered, was unfortunate enough to slam into a chuck hole, which tore his frame apart, and put him out for good.

Lee Franco, on an Indian, lost himself, taking the road to Stockton instead of to San Leandro. He lost so much time that he was hopelessly out also. A.H. Brown was the only Harley-Davidson rider to be put out in the first half. He spilled and smashed his lighting equipment. Ed Tomlin’s Cleveland picked up a big spike in his rear tire, ripping a two-foot gash in the tube. No tire being expected to stand such abuse, Tomlin was retired then and there. Ignition trouble proved the jinx for H.T. Welling on the Excelsior.

The Henderson quartet were favored with good fortune, all four coming in perfect. Artley broke an intake spring, and rode with it 18 miles before replacing it, this being the only trouble of the four-cylinder brigade.

Sidecars made a good showing, all five starters finishing perfect. There were no tandem entries.

Next to the Henderson all-perfect performance, Harley-Davidson came in for second honors, with four of the five starters finishing, and these perfect. Their mechanical troubles were very slight. Excelsior, Indian and Cleveland, each had one of their two entries finish perfect.

Prominent among the perfect scores was Lester Manning, motorcycle speed officer of Alameda County. Manning, in his daily work, rides a big Indian, but for the contest, decided to straddle a Cleveland. Despite his 203 pounds burden, he finished perfect, much to his delight.

At 7:45 Sunday night, Jan. 27, the last rider was checked in. Those with perfect scores were allowed a choice of taking merchandise prizes and calling the run ended, or, of having their machines locked up for a week and competing in the final on the 2d. Nine riders elected to start in the second half, the others taking merchandise prizes and withdrawing.

Rider Machine Endurance Elimination Al Clarke Henderson Perfect Perfect Roy Artley Henderson Perfect Perfect Homer Loudenclos Henderson Perfect Perfect Edward Allen Henderson Perfect Out Geo. Mein Ben Lessen Harley-Davidson SC Perfect Non-con Sidney Monroe Harley-Davidson Perfect Non-con F.E. Karslakei C.S. Lutgen Harley-Davidson SC Perfect Non-con Ed. Garrigues Roy Ford Harley-Davidson SC Perfect Non-con A.H. Brown Harley-Davidson Out Non-con Glen Stokes Albert Burns Excelsior SC Perfect Out H.T. Welling Excelsior Out Non-con Chris Loretz Excelsior Perfect Non-con C.A. Lewis Indian Perfect Non-con Lee Franco Indian Out Non-con B. Clarke Reading-Standard Out Non-con Ed. Tomlin Cleveland Out Non-con Lester Manning Cleveland Perfect Out

Some Of The Star Performers In Oakland’s Big Road Event 1-Stokes and Burns in the Excelsior Sidecar Beating It to a Perfect Score in the First Half. 2-Lester Manning, the 200-Pound Policeman Who Brought a Cleveland Home Perfect. 3-Sidney Monroe-Perfect of Course-on a Harley-Davidson. 4-You All Know Him-Artley on a Henderson. One of the Winning Trio. 5-Al Clarke, Another Henderson Perfect Performer.