Any form of motorcycle racing is dangerous. But it’s hard to compare anything seen today to the board track racing of the twenties and thirties. These tracks were built out of wooden boards, with steep inclines of up to sixty degrees that allowed for faster cornering speeds, but also exposed the rider to more intense G-forces. The motorcycles had no brakes or suspension, and riders wore virtually no protective clothing. Spectators would sit at the top of the track and look down on the high-speed competitors.
These courses were so dangerous that the press of the day dubbed them ‘murderdromes.’ Indeed, in one famous accident at the Playa del Rey track in California, six lost their lives and another twenty were injured. Eddie Hasha, the “Texas Cyclone,” lost control of his bike after a mechanical failure while travelling nearly 100 miles per hour. Centrifugal forces caused the bike to careen to the top of the track, sliding along the guard rail and killing four instantly. The motorcycle then hit a post, throwing Hasha from it, and slid back down the track and into the path of another racer. A panic in the crowd ensued, and more were injured as they rushed to clear the stands.
This incident and others like it lead to the sport falling out of favor with the public. Spectators began to gravitate towards dirt-track racing, and this brutal form of racing soon fell by the wayside of history.