Here we have a moment captured in the final days of the American motordrome, a rare glimpse inside the Omaha Stadium Motordrome in the Fall of 1914. The godfather of the American motordrome, Jack Prince came to the United States a British high wheel bicycle champion in the late 1800’s, and it was in Omaha, in 1889 that he won the title of World Champion. Twenty-five years later, after a successful career as a bicycle racer, salesmen, velodrome builder, motordrome inventor, racing ambassador, and fervent board track promoter, Prince returned to Omaha in September, 1914 to build what would be his last circular motordrome race track.
Prince would go on to innovate track design, pushing the motorsport world further by adapting the board track once again in 1915 with the introduction of the massive board track super speedway. This new type of venue, the first of which being the 2-Mile Speedway Park in Chicago provided a much safer environment for both competitors and spectators alike with their immense scale and broad oval shape. These speedway’s brought about the second generation of board track racing in America, a sport now consumed with auto racing and incredibly high speed factory-driven motorcycle competition, ushering in a new golden era of motorsport in the late-teens and early twenties. The last of its kind, the Omaha Stadium Motordrome was 1/3 of a mile long with a continuous 60 degree banking, one of the steepest Prince ever built. Racing at the Omaha track, which was actually located across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa was a short lived affair however, as America’s final motordrome held events for less than a year, from September 1914 until July 1915 when it too was replaced by one of the new larger wooden speedways.
Pictured here, from the early days of the ephemeral Omaha Motordrome are some of the last of America’s iconic motordrome racers in the Fall of 1914. From left to right are Dave Kinnie, Wilmer “Tex” Richards, Charlie Suddeth on the Excelsior, Roy “Red” Milner, Henry Lewis, and Dutch Meyers. The gent with his back to the camera and the number 1 pinned to his sweater is most likely Cyclone’s J.A. McNeil or Larry Fleckenstein, though based on his stature I believe it to be McNeil.