A Timeline of Motorcycle Racing History on Pikes Peak
1916 - The history of motorcycle racing on Pikes Peak dates back to the very inception
of the race in 1916. It was then that
Floyd Clymer became the first cyclist ever to top the Peak while the road was still under
construction. Floyd went on to win two of the four cycle events scheduled that year,
finished second to “Doc” Vanderhoof in the sidecar feature, and nearly edged Frank
Kuntz in the Colorado State Championship race.
Clymer, originally, from Greeley, Colorado was a likeable but fierce competitor and
received his greatest competition from Frank Kuntz, a Harley rider also from
Greeley. Riding a special home built 8 valve racing Excelsior, Floyd claimed that
although it wasn’t as fast as the factory bikes, he preferred his because it handled
better. Factory sponsorship was strong even in 1916 as not only Excelsior, but Indian,
Harley-Davidson and Thor financed teams of riders exclusively for the Hill.
The bikes then would seem very crude and primitive compared to the fine machinery
available today. Massive twin cylinder four strokes with rigid frames, three speed hand
controlled gear boxes, and up to 80 pounds of pressure in the tires thundered up the
Peak in those days! In the professional “free for all” there was no limit on engine size.
1917, 1918 and 1919 - No racing was held on Pikes Peak due to WWI
1920 – 1953 No Motorcycles on Pikes Peak
1954 - Cycle racing was discontinued in the twenties up until 1954 when the AMA
(American Motorcycle Association) sanctioned the motorcycle events.
1955 - The races returned in 1955 and again the big four stroke twins prevailed.