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Banning, California late 1920s


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#1 Jim Thurman

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 23:00

The town of Banning, California (between San Bernardino and Palm Springs) had a 1/2 mile dirt oval in the late 1920's. Some drivers who got to the Indianapolis 500 raced there.

I've found some results and will post the few I have here, even though they are probably only of interest to myself and one other person here (hi fines :wave: ). This is from the San Bernardino Sun of July 5, 1927.

July 4th, 1927
Larry Smith Victorious In Feature Banning Race
Barney Kloepfer Takes Second Place, While Jimmy Sharp Winds Up in Third.

By SID OLIN
Larry Smith of Los Angeles, won the feature event of the Banning race program yesterday afternoon, driving his car, No.11, over the dirt track in the 15 mile race to set a mark of 19 minutes 44 2-5 seconds. Barney Kloepfer, who won the Memorial day racem was 2nd; Jimmy Sharp, also of Los Angeles, was 3rd and C.C. Ballinger of Pasadena 4th.
All of the racing machines were well bunched as they crossed the finishing line, Kloepfer being less than 10 yards behind the winner.
Ideal Weather Helps Races
Ideal weather conditions and the perfect condition of the dirt oval resulted in the largest Fourth of July crowd that has ever witnessed the race at Banning. A smashup in which three cars were badly damged and Speed Hinkley slightly bruised about the body and head, was the only accident yesterday.
In the opneing, five mile race, Harry Davidson, of Maywood, was 1st. His time was 5 minutes 4 2-5 sec. Barney Kloepfer was 2nd and Jerry Turner 3rd. Jimmy Sharp of Los Angeles won the second event also for five miles.
Ray St. Claire, of Los Angeles, won the third heat of 10 laps, covering the distance in 8 minutes, 7 2-5 seconds. Cliff Wilson was 2nd and C.C. Ballinger 3rd.
Larry Schmidt of Los Angeles established the best time mark for the five mile races when he won the 4th event esttablishing the record of 4 minutes and 55 2-5 seconds. Wally Heisler of Los Angeles was 2nd and C.F. Davis of Cucamonga was 3rd.
Larry Smith, who won 3 of the events, scored his 2nd dirt track triumph when he captured the two lap or 1 mile trophy dash in 58 3-5 seconds. Jimmy Sharp and J.W. Boyce were second and 3rd respectively.
Consolation won by Mike Admire.
Mike Admire, of Beaumont, and formerly of this city, won the 10 mile consolation race. His time was 10 minutes. L. Jordan was 2nd and H. Henry 3rd. It was in this race that 3 cars got into a jam near the southeast turn of the track. Hinkley was thrown from his machine and alhough others were believed injured, it was reported from the Banning hospital that Hinkley had suffered but slight injuries.
The crowd attending the races was estimated at 5,000 persons.

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#2 MPea3

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 01:12

Any idea where the track was?

Totally off topic, I'd love to take the bike down 243 south of town. It's a helluva long ride to get out there though...

#3 Jim Thurman

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 03:32

Originally posted by MPea3
Any idea where the track was?

Totally off topic, I'd love to take the bike down 243 south of town. It's a helluva long ride to get out there though...

4th and Ramsey. Which corner, I have no idea. It would take old topo maps to pinpoint.

And, that would be a nice ride.

#4 Darren Galpin

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 07:07

Make that two others......

#5 fines

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 16:18

Never count out Darren! :D

Jim, many thanks for this thread! :kiss:

#6 TheStranger

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 17:34

Originally posted by Jim Thurman
[B]
4th and Ramsey. Which corner, I have no idea. It would take old topo maps to pinpoint.

Just looking at overhead maps (I've never been to Banning), there's a large parcel on the northwest corner, which seems to me it's large enough for a half mile oval. Of course, this is with the assumption that the track wasn't paved over by what became the US 60/70/99 freeway (now I-10), after the highway designation was moved off of Ramsey.

#7 fines

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 17:40

A few observations:

- I have no Larry Smith in my records until 1939, with Lawrence F. Smith from New Jersey (competed as Fred Smith before, Larry Smith after WW2). I would think it rather unlikely that someone capable of beating Barney Kleopfer and Jimmy Sharp would escape my attention :smoking:, though nothing's impossible! :o But: the article once calls him Larry Schmidt, and perhaps that's the key! I have a Harry Schmidt competing at Colton once in 1928, and the same (?) man entering a Special with Fronty (later Miller Marine) engine for Ernie Triplett, Francis Quinn and others in the late twenties - Quinn apparently bought the car in 1930 and used it, amongst others, to win the AAA Pacific Coast title that year.

- Wally Heisler is most likely William "Bill" Heisler, sometimes also known as "Red" Heisler.

- The time for the third heat 8'07.4" looks a bit slow: 36 mph, when other heats were run off at more than 60 mph! I would guess it's a typo for 5'07.4", or perhaps poor reproduction on the microfilm? Jim?

- Sanctioning body may have been NARA (National Auto Racing Assoc.), or quite possibly CARA (Californian Auto Racing Assoc.), although I haven't yet found evidence of the latter organisation operating that early.

#8 Jim Thurman

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 18:35

Originally posted by TheStranger


Just looking at overhead maps (I've never been to Banning), there's a large parcel on the northwest corner, which seems to me it's large enough for a half mile oval. Of course, this is with the assumption that the track wasn't paved over by what became the US 60/70/99 freeway (now I-10), after the highway designation was moved off of Ramsey.

Chris, I think it's pretty likely that freeway was built over at least a portion of the track. Banning fared much better than the small town I lived in as a child. About 80% of it's small business district was lost to the original freeway and when I was still living there, a freeway widening project took out the couple of old buildings left, the only remnants of "town".

#9 Jim Thurman

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 18:45

First, thanks Mark, Darren and Chris for stopping by :wave:

Originally posted by fines
A few observations:

But: the article once calls him Larry Schmidt, and perhaps that's the key! I have a Harry Schmidt competing at Colton once in 1928

- Wally Heisler is most likely William "Bill" Heisler, sometimes also known as "Red" Heisler.

- The time for the third heat 8'07.4" looks a bit slow: 36 mph, when other heats were run off at more than 60 mph! I would guess it's a typo for 5'07.4", or perhaps poor reproduction on the microfilm? Jim?

I entered these, warts and all, as best I could. I was intending to use the copier attached to the microfilm machines, but it wasn't working. My laptop didn't work day 1, so it cost me a lot of research time in transcribing.

I recognized Heisler as Bill Heisler, though this report had him "Wally". I think you've pegged Schmidt.

On the time for the heat. The error on the third heat time could have been a typo in the original, difficult to read microfilm...or, most likely, a typo on my part :blush: While I made some obvious typos that I cleaned up, overall I did pretty good considering I was blazing away, rarely looking at the keyboard :) Turns out I type much faster than I thought I could. Other than quick glances, proofing was something I had to do after I got back home.

As always, thanks for the additions (and correction) :up:

#10 Jim Thurman

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 18:52

On to the 4th of July race the following year, 1928...

I didn't have time to transcribe the entire account, which understandably focused on the death of a young girl who was spectating.

Ted Horn's car went off in one of the turns and rolled several times, throwing a wheel that struck six year old Mary Owens of Beaumont. Horn apparently suffered minor injuries.

The day was filled with ceremonies as Banning's airport was dedicated before the racing program got underway. As part of the festivities, a parachutist jumped over the track, but went off course and landed heavily in rocks nearby, seriously injuring himself.

In the light of these events, understandably this was the extent of the racing program coverage...

In the automobile race program, Speed Hinckley of Glendale won the main event, the opening 10 lap race and the two lap trophy dash.
10 lap race – (4:45 2-5) Hinckely, Al Gordan (sic), Art Spark (sic)
10 lap race – (4:48 4-5) Jimmy Sharp, William Heisler, Francisco Quinn.
10 lap race – (5:08) W. Stanley, Walter Bunz.
2 lap trophy dash – (57 2-5) Hinckley, Sharp, S. Stubblefield
15 lap consolation – (8:02 1-5) S. Stubblefield, Jack Shrimplin
main 25 laps (12:14 1-5) Hinckley, Sharp, Heisler


Francisco?

#11 fines

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 17:03

Originally posted by Jim Thurman
I entered these, warts and all

And I'm glad you did! :) I like it to work from authentic sources, because sometimes even the typos tell a story! Having said that, I am myself certainly guilty of (over) editing source text, it comes with the territory. But for my records, I usually mark typos in the original source (unless they are too obvious), in order to be able to go back and trace errors that I may have made because of limited knowledge - like, suddenly discovering there are two drivers going by the names "Lucky Lux" and "Lucky Loux", competing roughly at the same time and in the same locality! Just the other day, it dawned upon me that Al Smith from Dayton, Ohio and Hal Smith from Dayton, Ohio, are two different drivers, but rarely competing against each other... :blush:

For the 1928 race, I appear to have found slightly better sources than you ;), although mine neglected to mention the Horn accident! : But I have Mike Admire finishing in second in the third heat, between William Stanley and Walter Bunz, and I have also slightly different times for some of the winners: Heat 1, 4'44.6", Main 12'14.4". Apart from the obvious misspellings, I also have "Jack Schrimper" instead of Shrimplin, for what's it worth. Interesting non-starters appear to have been Mel Kenealy (Hooker/Miller), Barney Kleopfer (presumably in his Kleopfer/Frontenac) and Pete Nielson in an "ex-Haugdahl Wisconsin Special" - the old record car?

#12 Jim Thurman

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 22:17

Originally posted by fines

And I'm glad you did! :) I like it to work from authentic sources, because sometimes even the typos tell a story! Having said that, I am myself certainly guilty of (over) editing source text, it comes with the territory. But for my records, I usually mark typos in the original source (unless they are too obvious)

That's my belief too, leave their errors in and work from there. Especially since my original plan was to simply photocopy the items. The only typos I corrected were my obvious ones. The luxury of having a laptop instead of simply a pad and pencil helped tremendously (err, at least on day two). Brevity and editing were a matter of necessity under those conditions.

Thanks for the extra info on the additional entries.

One of the few photos I've seen from Banning was Mel Kenealy. Our late buddy Don Radbruch asked me for some info on Kenealy for one of his history pieces in National Speed Sport News, and when it appeared in NSSN, the accompanying photo was of Kenealy at Banning.

I still feel the Riverside paper (the Press-Enterprise) would likely have had better coverage of the Banning races.

#13 Jim Thurman

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 22:24

July 4th, 1929 (several typos on names in this one, not by me, from the original source :D )

BANNING RACE WON BY SHARP
San Pedro Speed Demon Scores Two Triumphs on Half Mile Dirt Speedway

Jimmy Sharp of San Pedro, driving a Mahoney Special, won the feature event on the half mile dirt track at Banning yesterday afternoon, covering the distance in 14 minutes, 20 2-5 seconds. Walter May was 2nd and Nick Martino was 3rd.
The feature race of the Independence day program was replete with thrills in which Martino, an Italian driver, threatened to take first place and victory on at least four different occasions during the 15mile race.
Sharp secured his first speed triumph when he captured the second 10 lap heat, driving a daring race against a field in which Stubblefield and Brunmier gave the winer a close competition.
The large holiday crowd attending the seven races witnessed the greatest collection of driving talent that has been entereed in any Banning race. All events were free from accidents and a fast track made competition close.
Mel Keneally won the opening 10 lap heat in 4:43 3-5. May was 2nd and Speed Hinckley took 3rd.
The second 10 lap hea race went to Sharp in 4:42 1-5. The third 10 lap heat was won by Carl Ryder in 4:47 2-5. Nick Martino was 2nd and Bill Bundy 3rd.
The 3 lap trophy dash was won by Keneally, Art Boyce was 2nd and Ernest Tripplet was 3rd. The slow time of 1:24 2-5 was regisitered.
In the 15 lap consolation race, Ernest Triplett drove a great race to win against a fast field in 7:07 1-5. Al Gordan was a close second and Billy Heisler trailed Gordan.

#14 Jim Thurman

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 20:16

Upon further research, here's a look at the 1927 season at Banning...

March 20, 1927
Lew Moore of L.A. Wins Feature Banning Event
Dale Pence of Redlands Drives Car Into Four Others, But Escapes Without Injury

Lew Moore of Los Angeles, driving car No. 5, won the 15 mile Buck Jones sweepstakes race, the principal event on the Banning dirt track auto racing program yesterday afternoon. Moore covered the 30 laps in 15 minutes, 10 2-5 seconds.
A crowd that numbered more than 3,000 persons witnessed the seven events, all of which proved fast and thrilling despite adverse weather conditions, due to heavy wind during the afternoon. With one exception, the races were not marred by an accident.
Dale Pence of Redlands, driving car No. 24, furnished a thrill when his machine crashed into four automobiles parked near the track. The steering rod on Pence's racing car broke and it swerved off the track and through the railing. Pence escaped without being injured. At the time of the accident he was leading the field and entering the final two laps of the sweepstakes race.
Clouds of Dust Bring Perils
During the early part of the race the track was in fast condition, but after several events had been held, the wind added considerable hazard for the speeders because of the clouds of dust blown from the track.
Ed Winfield of Pasadena won second place in the sweepstakes and B.A. Metheley of Los Angeles took third place.
Although previous marks for the Banning track were not shattered two of them were tied and fast times made in all races considering existing conditions.
In the first event of 10 laps Lew Moore won taking the five miles in 4 minutes and 49 seconds. Ed Winfield was second and Bob Zien of Venice third.
Barney Kleopfer of Los Angeles won the second event of 10 laps setting a time mark of 4:51, with Dale Pence of Redlands a close second.
The third event was captured by Bert Spencer of Redlands, who drove the five miles in 5:05, with B.A. Metheny second and R.M. Van Leuven of Bryn Mawr third.
In the fourth event, also for 10 laps, Francis Quinn of Pasadena came in first. His time was 5:04 for the five miles. Ernest Tripletts of Los Angeles and Emmett Larsen of Maywood followed in order.
Other Drivers Share Honors
The San Bernardino motorcycle race of 10 laps was won by Paul Wilcox, who set the time of 5:29 for the distance. John Connor was second and H.E. McKee, third.
“Speed” Hinkley of LaVerne won the Redlands special event of 15 laps. Jack Thiels of Riverside was second and F.W. Bobzien was third.
In the seventh event of the race program, booked as the Ascot special, Bobzien nosed into the lead in the final lap to win with a close finish in the 10 mile event, establishing the time of 10:05 for the race, that found most of the drivers bunched throughout the 20 laps. Mike Admire of Beaumont was second and Jack Field of Riverside won third place.

May 30, 1927
Los Angeles Pilot Wins Honors in Banning Races
Kleopfer Wins Feature Attraction, Making 60-mile Average for 50 laps


Barney Kloepfer of Los Angeles, driving car No. 33, won the feature event of the racing program held at Banning yesterday afternoon before a crowd estimated to have numbered more than 4,000 persons. Kloepfer drove his machine over the 25-mile distance in 25 minutes and 29 seconds. The races were held under the auspices of the Banning American Legion post.
In capturing the “Lefty” Flynn sweepstakes and the prized trophy for the main race of 50 laps, Kloepfer led his nearest rival by a distance of approximately 75 yards. “Speed” Hinckley of LaVerne was second and Bob Bobzeen of Venice third. Four drivers were closely bunched as Kloepfer crossed the line and it caused the judges to hold a discussion before they announced the racers who had won second, third, fourth and fifth places. Harry Shurtz of Riverside loomed as a probable winner in this event but tire trouble after he had completed more than half the distance caused a delay that prevented placing in the money.
In the opening event of 10 laps, Bill Spence, of Los Angeles, won first place, Bob Bobzeen was second and Bill Bundy, of Riverside, third. The time for the five mile race was four minutes and 59 seconds.
Harry Shurtz, of Riverside, won the second race of 10 laps. Dale Spence was a close second. Time, 4:57.
Barney Kleopfer added his frist triumph over the half-mile dirt track when he set the lowest time for the 10 laps, leading his nearest rival by a considerable distance. His time was 10 minutes and 17 seconds.
With the exception of one racer running off the track and two others having narrow escapes as the tires were thrown, the program yesterday was not marked by any injury to drivers. Ideal weather and the splendid condition of the track were important factors contributing to the most successful race program that has ever been held at Banning.

July 4, 1927
Larry Smith Victorious In Feature Banning Race
Barney Kloepfer Takes Second Place, While Jimmy Sharp Winds Up in Third. (please see post #1 for this account)

#15 Jim Thurman

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 20:21

This one, fines is going to :love:

The first article is somewhat abridged. I kept the content and edited some of the hyperbole.

Riverside Enterprise, Sunday, September 4, 1927, page 6
BANNING TRACK GROOMED FOR FAST AUTO RACES ON MONDAY
Lou Moore, Hollywood's “bashful boy wonder” is perhaps one of the most popular drivers with the fans and will be remembered as the runner-up in the years' championship. He and Ernest Tripplett are the youngest drivers on the track and by far the most spectacular. Lou will drive the McDowell special No. 5.
Mel Kenealy holder of the world's half mile dirt track record of 26 4-5 seconds, made in Harry Hooker's No. 99. Kenealy has also distinguished himself at Banning by winning the two lap trophy dash three times in succession. Mel will drive Mikkelson's front wheel drive car Monday.
Dale Pence “The Flying Cop” from Redlands (is mentioned in the article next)
“Speed” Hinkley, famous Ascot sprint champion and winner of the main event last year when he broke the track record for fifteen miles, has his Rajo Special. Hinckley, who hails from Iowa got his racing experience breaking in broncos.
Barney Kleopfer is rated as one of the most daring drivers. He drives his own Frontenac No. 33, has won the main event on the Legion track and drives to win it for all time.
Bill Spence, driver of Hooker's No. 99, has won several heats on the oval. At one time he drove Eddie Meyer's No. 52 on the track. Mike Admire is an old Banning favorite and has always driven Brown's Chevrolet Special. He is a consistent driver and has several times come in first under the checkered flag.
Herman Schurch, a German driver recently added to the list of Pacific Coast Racing Stars will drive the Lind Special No. 14. Other drivers of note are: Phil Pardee of Pasadena, Christy Vest of San Pedro; Ernest Triplett of Glendale; Armen Palouzian of Los Angeles, John Mason, Jimmy Sharp, Walter May, Gravey DeWitt, Hap Hafley, all from Los Angeles.

Riverside Enterprise, Tuesday, September 6, 1927, page 3
SPEED HINKLEY TAKES HONORS
Takes Three Events in Auto Races at Banning
Piloting his fast race chariot over what was regarded as the “fastest” track that the Banning Legion dirt oval has been accorded in its history, Speed Hinkley, hero of many other classics there, yesterday monopolized the Labor Day races with three victories among which were the Legion and Main Event trophy events.
Hinkley drove thrilling races to triumph in the three competitions. His first win came in a five-mile race, which distance he covered in 4 minutes and 43 seconds and he next annexed the two-lap sprint for the Legion Trophy. He turned the two circuits in 56.2 seconds and cinched the second pedestal of the three-leg Legion cup.
By winning the thirty-lap Main Event , Hinkley captured the second leg on the Legion Trophy. Barney Kleopfer was second and Dale Pence's car was flagged third. Though six cars left the track in the exciting events, no one was hurt, Harold Wiefels of the Banning Legion Post reported.
Ernie Triplett established a new record in the fifteen mile consolation race, which he won in 7 minutes, 15 seconds, the old record being 7 minutes, 14.4 seconds.

#16 fines

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 09:23

:clap: Superb stuff, thanks Jim! :clap:

Originally posted by Jim Thurman
This one, fines is going to :love:

How'd you know? :D

#17 Jim Thurman

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 17:16

Originally posted by fines
:clap: Superb stuff, thanks Jim! :clap:
How'd you know? :D

You're welcome Michael. Glad to see someone interested in the same obscura I am.

How'd I know? Just a hunch...;)

I was stunned to find a preview piece giving some background on the cars, such as it is.

A couple of notes: the Riverside paper had decent coverage, with one notable positive exception (the September 1927 preview) and one glaringly negative exception (see next post : ), but generally less space devoted to the Banning races - simply because Riverside was smaller than San Bernardino then and the paper was fewer pages and published less frequently than the San Bernardino Sun.

And, as always, these are warts and all. Most typos are theirs from the time. Errr, with the exception of me overlooking "driv" and "steerng" on my first proof :blush: Taken care of now ;)

Some major warts in the next one...

#18 Jim Thurman

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 17:22

Moving on to 1928. We begin with a nice mess. The first report appeared in the Riverside paper as provided by UP wire:

May 31, 1928 – Francis Quinn drove a thrilling race to win the 50 lap feature event on the American Legion speed program here yesterday.
He won another first place, in a 10 lap affair. Speed Hinckley needed only a place to win the year's championship troph and got it by coming in third in the feature.
Event 1 10-lap: Woody Woodruff, Stubbyfield, Hinckley 4 minutes, 47.3/5
Event 2: Quinn, Kleopfer, Charles Gettleson. 4:47 2/5
Event 3: Walter May, Mel Kenealy, J. Field. 4:54
Event 4: (20 lap consolation) : Wm. Heisler, Al Gordon, Mel McKee. 9:52.
50 lap feature: Quinn, Kleopfer, Hinckley. 24.56

But, wait, here is what appeared in the San Bernardino Sun for the same race!...

BANNING RACE HONORS GO TO LOU LINDSAY
Fast Time Recorded in Several Events; Kleopfer Trails as Second in Main Sprint

E.L. Lindsay, Los Angeles auto racer, won the feature event on the Banning dirt oval yesterday afternoon recording the exceptional time of 11:59. Barney Kleopfer was a close second.
In addition to winning the main event of 25 laps, Lindsay annexed the honors in the opening 10 lap event. His time was 4 minutes, 47.5 seconds. Harold Davidson was second and Hinckley third.
Francis Quinn equalled the time of the first trial heat in the second 10 lap event. He was followed by Kleopfer and C. Vest, respectively. The third heat went to Walter May of LA in somewhat slower time than the first two followed by Cliff Wilson and Malcom Ealey.
William Heisler, of Los Angeles won the consolation prize in that race when he raced across the finish line, an easy winner in the time of 9:53. Jimmy Sharp took second and Al Gordon was third. Gordon barely nosed out Harry Jacques in his Redlands special, owned by Louis Meyer, winner of the Indianapolis classic today.
Speedy Babs, Ontario daredevil, opened the Banning program by leaping from a speeding airplane at a height of 2,000 feet.

Malcom Ealey ;)

#19 Jim Thurman

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 17:30

The July 4th. 1928 race is covered in post #10.

San Bernardino Sun, Sunday, September 2, 1928, pg. 12. Article listing expected entries, no car detail
entries: Mel Kenealy, Bill Bunday, Al Gordon, “Speed” Hinkley, Barney Kleopfer, Dale Pence, William Heisler, Francis Quinn, Edward Hale, Walter Bunz, D. Skipworth, B.O. Dash, Kenneth Nelson, Walter May, R.H. Prince, Carl Ryder, Floyd Roberts, Clayton Martin, Ira Lackey, Cliff Wilson, Fred Lyons, C. Vest, Nick Martino, Melvin McKee, H. Demmet, C.M. Mikkelsen, Earl Mansell, Kenney Stoddard, Jimmie Sharp and Arvol Burnmier. Jack Buxton high point man of California will be here to make things interesting for the old time racers on the local track.

Jack Buxton of San Jose, Gene Woodford, Art Sparks mentioned in article the next day.

Race of September 2, 1928 as reported in the Sun
Jimmy Sharp wins 25 lap main
Mel Keneally captured the opening 10-lap race in which Speed Hinckley, second and Melvin McKee, third staged an exciting race. Billy Heisler trailing less than 10 feet to annex fourth. Time: 4:51.1-5.
In the second 10-lap race the drivers finished in the order of starting. Floyd Roberts had the pole and crossed the finish line first. Kleopfer second and Buxton third. Time: 4:52.
Jimmy Sharp maintained his early lead in the third 10-lap race and won with Mansell getting second. May was close behind Mansell. Time: 4:00 3-5.
Hinckley, Keneally, McKee in the trophy dash.
Consolation: R.H. Prince got away to a good lead, but in the twelfth lap, Bundy who had passed 4 machines on his wild dash to overtake the leader. At the finish (15 laps) less than a car length ahead of Prince. Time: 7:17 2-5.
Main: Sharp beat Hinckley by less than a car length. Kleopfer third. 12:01.2-5
Five of the nine cars entered, finished. Seven machines went over the bank or into the spillway but three of the drivers were able to get back in the race. Buxton had two accidents during this event but escaped injury.
Most of the interest in the main event centered on the outcome of the gruelling pace set by Sharp and Hinckley, track rivals of the past season. Hinckley made several desperate attempts to overtake Sharp but failed by a close margin in the twenty fifth and final lap.

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#20 fines

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 09:57

Originally posted by Jim Thurman
Moving on to 1928. We begin with a nice mess. The first report appeared in the Riverside paper as provided by UP wire:

May 31, 1928 – Francis Quinn drove a thrilling race to win the 50 lap feature event on the American Legion speed program here yesterday.
He won another first place, in a 10 lap affair. Speed Hinckley needed only a place to win the year's championship troph and got it by coming in third in the feature.
Event 1 10-lap: Woody Woodruff, Stubbyfield, Hinckley 4 minutes, 47.3/5
Event 2: Quinn, Kleopfer, Charles Gettleson. 4:47 2/5
Event 3: Walter May, Mel Kenealy, J. Field. 4:54
Event 4: (20 lap consolation) : Wm. Heisler, Al Gordon, Mel McKee. 9:52.
50 lap feature: Quinn, Kleopfer, Hinckley. 24.56

But, wait, here is what appeared in the San Bernardino Sun for the same race!...

BANNING RACE HONORS GO TO LOU LINDSAY
Fast Time Recorded in Several Events; Kleopfer Trails as Second in Main Sprint

E.L. Lindsay, Los Angeles auto racer, won the feature event on the Banning dirt oval yesterday afternoon recording the exceptional time of 11:59. Barney Kleopfer was a close second.
In addition to winning the main event of 25 laps, Lindsay annexed the honors in the opening 10 lap event. His time was 4 minutes, 47.5 seconds. Harold Davidson was second and Hinckley third.
Francis Quinn equalled the time of the first trial heat in the second 10 lap event. He was followed by Kleopfer and C. Vest, respectively. The third heat went to Walter May of LA in somewhat slower time than the first two followed by Cliff Wilson and Malcom Ealey.
William Heisler, of Los Angeles won the consolation prize in that race when he raced across the finish line, an easy winner in the time of 9:53. Jimmy Sharp took second and Al Gordon was third. Gordon barely nosed out Harry Jacques in his Redlands special, owned by Louis Meyer, winner of the Indianapolis classic today.
Speedy Babs, Ontario daredevil, opened the Banning program by leaping from a speeding airplane at a height of 2,000 feet.

Malcom Ealey ;)

A fine mess, indeed! :(

This example serves well to highlight the perils of newspaper research: the wire reports from the agencies are usually sort of semi-reliable, in that they are often fed directly by the promoter of the race, or at the very least written by an experienced hack with "some" knowledge of the subject, however skindeep that may be. There's still enough opportunity for the newspapers to mess up, however, be that by shortening or other means of editing, so that much of what actually appears in the papers the next day is nothing short of garbled blather - if you're lucky, that is! I'd reckon that the vast majority of wire reports is binned without too much (or any!) thought given to it...

Then there's the local event that gets extra coverage by a local newspaper, and that's the gold dust one's generally after when doing newspaper research - sometimes you can even hit a veritable gold mine, a true dorado, with days of coverage previewing the event, profiles of important and not so imortant participants, full entry lists, details of the cars entered and then a two-and-a-half-page event "analysis", with full results, lap charts, notes of entry changes, interviews with winners and losers and so on and so on and so on... but watch out, if the report includes the phone number of the trophy queen, you're likely to wake up any second! :lol:

On the other hand, the local newspaper may send a young and inexperienced journo apprentice, who's never seen as much as a bicycle race in his life - I'd guess that's the scenario we are dealing with in this case! :( My prior info about this race was almost literally the same as the UP wire report in the Riverside paper, including the typos, plus a couple of details of which anon. Most of the typos do not present real problems when you're sufficiently versed in the subject, like Hinckley and Stubbyfield for Hinkley and Stubblefield, and you can also easily guess that Woodruff and Gettleson stand for Woodford and Gelston. Worse are mistakes like confusing laps with miles, second place with third and so on, or typos in elapsed time - often impossible to correct without a second (non-wire!) source!

Having said all that, the wire reports looked reasonable enough to me, nothing out of the ordinary, which is good because you don't want to read that, say, Minardi has won the last Grand Prix when you didn't have a chance to watch the race, because you are bound to mistrust your source if you do! One or the other report had a bit of extra info, and so my database shows Gelston having an accident in a front-drive machine (almost certainly the Mikkelson Special), and Chris Vest getting hurt in another (?) accident. This is interesting, because the San Berdoo paper mentions Vest finishing third in the second heat, and the UP wire gives that position to Gelston! Perhaps there was just a single accident, and Vest replaced Gelston in the Mikkelson for some reason???

Other differences are also explainable, like Cliff Wilson and Jimmy Sharp finishing second in heat 2 and the consy, respectively, as the way in which the UP wire presents the results is actually made for errors such as these to creep in! ): And the owner of the Redlands is Eddie Meyer, rather than his now-suddenly-famous brother, but we can forgive mistakes such as these easily. The same goes for the rather charming typo "Malcom Ealey" for Mel Kenealy! :D :up: But what about Harold Davidson? I have a Harry Davidson or Harold Dawson in just a few other Coast appearances during 1927/8, was it perhaps a nom-de-course for Stubby, still well short of being 21? Or was it a change of driver, or another name that slipped through the UP results roster, with Stubby's name in turn missing from the San Berdoo report??? :

But most of all: WHO THE xxxx IS LOU LINDSAY??? :confused: :confused: And why has the Berdoo paper him winning a 25-lap race, with matching elapsed time??? :confused: :confused: :confused: The only explanation for the latter fact I can offer is that the journo perhaps left the speedway premises at half distance of the main event, catching the time announcement over the tannoy and thinking the race was over - an EXCEPTIONALLY DAFT scenario, if true!!! :o As for "Lou Lindsay", or "E. L. Lindsay", the only even remotely similar name in question would be that of Otto Lind, a car owner and sometime driver from Los Angeles, whose greatest feat as a driver in my records so far was a second place behind Jack Buxton in a 20-miler at Chowchilla in 1927, against VERY feeble opposition! Frankly, I simply cannot see him leading an event from drivers such as Kleopfer and Hinkley, and though it could be a possibility that Lind's car won here at Banning, it has to be said that Francis Quinn's regular ride in those days was the Ballinger/Rajo, and he was programmed to appear in that very car at Ascot just three days earlier! :|

#21 Jim Thurman

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Posted 30 April 2009 - 21:46

July 4th is covered in post #10...

An item in the San Bernardino Sun previewing the Laboy Day, 1928 races featured a list of entries:

Mel Kenealy, Bill Bunday, Al Gordon, “Speed” Hinkley, Barney Kleopfer, Dale Pence, William Heisler, Francis Quinn, Edward Hale, Walter Bunz, D. Skipworth, B.O. Dash, Kenneth Nelson, Walter May, R.H. Prince, Carl Ryder, Floyd Roberts, Clayton Martin, Ira Lackey, Cliff Wilson, Fred Lyons, C. Vest, Nick Martino, Melvin McKee, H. Demmet, C.M. Mikkelsen, Earl Mansell, Kenney Stoddard, Jimmie Sharp and Arvol Burnmier. Jack Buxton high point man of California will be here to make things interesting for the old time racers on the local track.

The following day an item mentioned Jack Buxton of San Jose, Gene Woodford and Art Sparks.

Jimmy Sharp Wins 25 lap main
Mel Keneally captured the opening 10-lap race in which Speed Hinckley, second and Melvin McKee, third staged an exciting race. Billy Heisler trailing less than 10 feet to annex fourth. 4:51.1-5.
In the second 10-lap race the drivers finished in the order of starting. Floyd Roberts had the pole and crossed the finish line first. Barney Kleopfer second and Jack Buxton third. 4:52
Jimmy Sharp maintained his early lead in the third 10-lap race and won with Earl Mansell getting second. Walter May was close behind Mansell. 4:00 3-5
Hinckley, Keneally, McKee in the trophy dash.
Consolation: R.H. Prince got away to a good lead, but in the twelfth lap, Bill Bundy who had passed 4 machines on his wild dash to overtake the leader. At the finish of the 15 laps, Bundy was less than a car length ahead of Prince. 7:17 2-5.
Main: Sharp beat Hinckley by less than a car length. Kleopfer third. 12:01.2-5
Five of the nine cars entered, finished. Seven machines went over the bank or into the spillway but three of the drivers were able to get back in the race. Buxton had two accidents during this event but escaped injury.
Most of the interest in the main event centered on the outcome of the gruelling pace set by Sharp and Hinckley, track rivals of the past season. Hinckley made several desperate attempts to overtake Sharp but failed by a close margin in the twenty fifth and final lap.


#22 Jim Thurman

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 06:56

San Bernardino Sun, Friday, May 31, 1929
Francis Quinn Captures Feature Auto Race on Banning Track
Francis Quinn of Los Angeles won the feature race of the Memorial Day auto racing program at Banning yesterday afternoon, registering the time of 18 minutes, 25 2-5 seconds for the 35 laps over the half-mile dirt track. Second place went to Billy Heisler and third position was won by Harry Stubblefield. The main event was one of the most thrilling during the six events. Jimmy Sharp who was leading in the early laps escaped injuries when his car turned over. Another accident during a special race in which Carl Ryder and Brunmier escaped injury when their cars crashed, offered a second speed thrill. Walter May won the opening 10-lap heat in 4:51 1-5. Fracnis Quinn was second and Earl Mansell was third. Stubblefield won the second 10-lap race. Brunmier was second and Ryder third. Time 5:2. Jimmy Sharp captured the third 10-lap race with William Heisler second and Carl Ryder third. Time 4:55 3-5. The 20-lap consolation race was won by Carl Ryder with Harry Jacques second and Al Gordan third. Time 10:43 3-5. A special 15-lap race was won by Moody with Al Gordan second and Speed Hinckley third. Time 7:49 3-5.


#23 fines

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 08:26

Thanks, Jim! :up:

This was a race where I had a complete entry list, but no results. The entries come from an LA paper a few days before the event, and may not be entirely accurate, but here they are anyway (incl. typos, and with annotations by me):

#1 Charles Gelston, McDowell Special - owner probably Ray Gelston
#3 Jimmy Sharp, Mahoney Special - owner Tom Mahoney
#6 Stubby Stubblefleid, Redlands Special - actual name Stubblefield, owner Eddie Meyer
#7 Melvin McKee, Mikkelson Special - owner C. M. Mikkelson
#9 William Heisler, Fronty Special - owner Bill Heisler or John Stricker
#11 Carl Ryder, Evans Special - owner C. D. "Pop" Evans
#12 Speed Hinkley, Western Gas Special - owner possibly Alvin Kingsley
#15 Earl Mansell, Fronty Special - owner possibly Charley Caraba
#18 Mel Keneally, Simplex Special - actual name Kenealy, owner Russ Garnant
#20 P. E. Christman, Dink Special - actual name F. E. Christman, owner L. D. "Dink" Sullivan
#21 Bobby Scovill, Rajo Special - presumably Bob Scovell, owner possibly Eddie Gates
#22 Bill Bundy, Fronty Special - owner Bill Bundy
#31 Driver unnamed, Ford Special
#34 Cliff Wilson, Super Rajo Special - owner presumably Cliff Wilson
#36 Roy Hoag, Chevrolet Special - actual name LeRoy Hoag, owner possibly William Hinton
#37 Clarence Downing, Rajo Special
#40 Christy Vest, Paloutzian Special - owner Armen Paloutzian
#42 Driver unnamed, Ford Special - owner possibly Floyd Bobzien
#43 Kenny Stoddard, Rajo Special - owner Eddie Gates
#45 Driver unnamed, Lewis Special
#46 Driver unnamed, McDowell Special - owner Cecil Ballinger (or Ballanger)
#47 Walt May, Multi-Ford - owner probably George Riley
#48 Driver unnamed, American Special - owner Leo Monson
#49 Driver unnamed, Ford Special - owner possibly L. D. "Dink" Sullivan
#50 Harry Jaques, Chevrolet Special - actual name Jacques, owner possibly himself
#52 Leo Connor, Garnet Special - owner possibly Russ Garnant
#51 Mel Miller, Fronty Special
#53 Driver unnamed, Ford Special - owner possibly Ted Simpson
#66 Al Gordon, Green Special - owner possibly Carl "Pop" Green
#83 Pete Neilsen, Chevrolet Special - actual name probably Nielson
#95 Dewey Shipworth, Foothill Special - actual name Skipworth, owner probably himself
#99 Francis Quinn, Hooker Special - owner Harry Hooker

Not named are Arvol Brunmier and Bill Moody, but the former had been driving the #20 Dink in earlier events that season, and may have replaced Christman.

I also have the point standings from after this event, although I don't now recall the source! I have an idea, though, and may find it again later, but in the meantime here are the points of the 1929 AAA Pacific Coast Championship after what I make out as ten rounds so far:

1 Kenealy, 113.93
2 Ernie Triplett, 97.72
3 Bill Spence, 61.67 - sadly, he died at Indy the same day as the Banning event :cry:
4 May, 46.65
5 Heisler, 45.46
6 Sharp, 41.17
7 Johnny Sawyer, 36.51
8 Phil Pardee, 36.30
9 Woody Woodford, 34.81
10 Quinn 32.50
11 Stubblefield, 23.92
12 Nick Martino, 23.79
13 Johnny Kreiger, 21.59
14 Hinkley, 20.37
15 Ryder, 16.65
16 William Harper, 15.00
17 Roscoe Ford, 14.92
18 McKee, 14.88
19 Jack Buxton, 11.43
20 Hoag, 11.25
21 Moody, 10.35
22 Brunmier, 10.00
23 Gelston, 9.20
24 Scovell, 8.00
25 Jacques, 7.60
26 Stoddard, 7.58
27 Wilson, 7.50
28 Tony Radetich, 7.00
29 Chet Gardner, 6.50
30 Gordon, 6.15
31 Mansell, 5.00
32 Vest, 5.00
33 Robert Dryson, 3.00
34 Babe Stapp, 3.00
35 Downing, 2.00