Labor Day of 1912 featured motorcycle races at York Fairgrounds

On Labor Day, September 2, 1912, during the intermission between the flights at the Aviation Meet within the York Fairgrounds, an extra attraction, not on the program, was introduced, in the form of motorcycle races by local amateurs.

Two five-mile and a ten-mile race were run. Stewart Boeckal, of 297 West Market Street, won two of the three motorcycle races with his single cylinder Indian Motorcycle. Carl Rudy took first place in the other five-mile race with his twin cylinder Thor Motorcycle.

Another early owner of an Indian Motorcycle in York County was Fred LaMotte of Red Lion.

Fred stands behind his Indian Motorcycle in this photo provided by his daughter Dorcas LaMotte Townsley. The photo originally appeared in the post LaMotte’s Indian & Harley Motorcycle Feedback.

Continue reading for the full results of unplanned Motorcycle Races at York Fairgrounds during the Aviation Meet in 1912.


Coverage of the unplanned Motorcycle Races at the York Fairgrounds, during intermission of the Aviation Meet in 1912, was included within an article on Page 1 of the September 3, 1912 issue of The York Daily:

Races on MotorcyclesStewart Boeckal Wins Two Events

More than 2,000 people thronged the grandstand and the field around the track, and equally as many were on the outside. During the intermission between the flights an extra attraction that was not on the program was introduced, in the form of motorcycle races by local amateurs.

Two five-mile and a ten-mile race, the latter a handicap between single and twin cylinder machines, were run. Stewart Boeckal, 297 West Market Street, captured both events in which he was entered, the single cylinder and the 10-mile handicap race.

Spills in Motorcycle Races

Three of the contestants in the motorcycle race, Roy Shetter, C. Spangler and H. Smid, were thrown from their motorcycles in making the turns, but escaped injury. Besides the bending of several spokes in Shetter’s machine, no other damage was caused. H. Smid was rapidly gaining on Boeckal in the 10-mile race when his machine skidded. This put him out of the running for first place, he finished third. Carl Rudy took first place in the five-mile race for twin cylinder machines, his time being 7-minutes and 5-seconds. Menk finished second. Both used Thor machines.

Boeckal easily outdistanced the other contestants in the five-mile race for single cylinder machines, his time being 7-minutes and 42-seconds. Curvin Rhinehart was second.

Boeckal’s time in the 10-mile contest was 13-minutes and 59-seconds. All the single cylinder machines were given a handicap of one minute over these with double cylinders. Spangler, who finished second in a twin cylinder, was a half lap behind Boeckal, who had made a lap and a half in the handicap. Smid, who finished third, stood a fair chance of beating Boeckal in his twin cylinder Indian when his machine skidded. Boeckal used a single cylinder Indian.Illustrations of the two cylinder Indian and Thor motorcycles that raced at the York Fairgrounds in 1912 are similar to those of the same era; as depicted in The Harrisburg Auto Show edition of Harrisburg Telegraph (Issue of March 14, 1914 from the Digital Collections of Penn State University Libraries):

This is the third in a series of posts about the 1912 Aviation Meet, at the York Fairgrounds; related posts are:

Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts


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