According to The Wilson Davis Archives, riding mechanic Jim Branahan was fatally injured in an accident at the Fresno Speedway on 01 October 1921 when the car in which he was riding crashed through a fence and impacted the ground below it. He passed away the following day.
On the same day Branahan suffered his accident, two other fatalities happened at the Fresno Speedway, driver Alton Soules and his riding mechanic Harry Barner perished under very similar circumstances.
Confirmation of Jim Branahan's death are unavailable in other sources, including conteporary newspaper articles. Branahan name is not included in the California Death Index.
Another driver was involved in an accident in that same event, Joe Thomas who crashed his Duesenberg during a practice session suffering a badly fractured arm. Thomas survived the accident, he is listed among the contestants of a race at Cotati Speedway, California, twenty days later.
Therefore, there are four different hypothesis to explain who was Jim Branahan:
- Branahan was Thomas' riding mechanic;
- Brahanan's accident took place in another event at the Fresno Speedway that same day. It is worth noting that the Fresno Speedway was the only venue operational in Fresno in 1921.
- Branahan's accident happened on 01 October 1921 but at another track.
- Historian Wilson Davis made a mistake, identifying Harry Barner as Jim Branahan.
Edited by Nanni Dietrich, 08 March 2023 - 10:30.