Just a couple of quick followup posts today as some folks have asked about Charlie Balke and Arthur Mitchel from my Board Stars &Brass Knuckles Series. Photos of Jake DeRosier, Robert Stubbs, and Eddie Hasha were included in parts 1, 2, and 3 of the series, but it’d be a shame to leave out the other two founding fathers of speed from the story. If you missed any of the previous posts check out the Archive section HERE.
This is New Orleans native Arthur Mitchel, one of the country’s first professional motorcycle racers he actually built his career in Los Angeles as the sport was first coming together. Despite being one of the top riders around in the fall of 1911, Mitchel didn’t fair too well at the races in Birmingham as his oddball factory Thor was quite outmatched by the speed of the new Excelsior 7 and the youthful daring of both Charlie Balke and Eddie Hasha. A veteran without question of both dirt and boards by 1911, Mitchel was 31 years old, one of the oldest still active in the sport, though his age didn’t seem to effect his performance at the Riverview Stadium Motordrome in Chicago earlier that summer. This photo was taken during a month long clinic Mitchel put on for the younger boys in August on the boards at Riverview, where he claimed top honors in a string of races onboard his 7HP Merkel twin including a new record for a mile with an average speed of over 85 mph.