Jake De Rosier in 1909

The article in the attachment below discusses a narrow escape by champion motorcyle racer Jake De Rosier. It was published in the June 7, 1909 Indianapolis News. The excitement took place at Clifton Stadium in Passaic, New Jersey. De Rosier was 1.31 miles into a five-mile exhibition run on his Indian Motorcycle his rear tire exploded. He is credited with averting an accident that apparently the writer felt was likely to include spectators in the front row of the track.
The sensational description is unclear. It describes a cool De Rosier maintaining control of the bike and steering it down the banking of the board track. However, it also describes boards being ripped and large splinters entering the rider's side. One splinter is estimated to be seven inches long and pierced his clothing at a point near his heart.
De Rosier apparently fell as the article reports that he stood up as track workers ran to him. He is quoted, "Everything is alright."
Another rider, Sunny Briggs of Boston, was reported as having a similar accident at the same spot the previous year. Briggs hit the guardrail and was killed.
Before De Rosier's accident, he completed a mile in 53.6 seconds which was 2.6 seconds faster than the track record he had established some time earlier. In other racing that day Elmer Collins of Lynn, Massachusetts beat Carlo Vanoni (reportedly of Italy, but promoters liked to claim people were of foreign origin even if they were born in America because they believed a message of international status gave their events more appeal, but who really knows?). Collins did his first mile appreciably slower than De Rosier at 1:23.
Keep in mind that this incident occurred just over two months prior to De Rosier's dramatic appearance at the first motorized competition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the August 1909 FAM motorcycle meet.

DeRosierNews060709.pdf1.72 MB