Sunday, May 22, 2011

Junior Vanderbilt Cup Race

The Kids Race

Forty youngsters dare-deviled around a ten-mile course at Venice, California, some little time ago in the Junior Vanderbilt Cup Race. They all had homemade one or two cylinder cars and they were all after one of the six silver cups and a share in two hundred and fifty dollars of prize money.

Albert Van Vrankin, Jr., sailed home with the first prize in a little over thirty-seven minutes, although in the middle of the race he ran into a ditch, turned turtle, and had to extricate himself and his car.

Most of the machines were ingenious adaptations of motorcycle engines to four-wheel crafts. Many of these cars, some of which are easily controlled, are capable of amazing speeds.

At the race, the ten thousand spectators, including Barney Oldfield, Earl Cooper, and Teddy Tetzlaff, who judged the finish, cheered wildly as the contestants whirled around the track.

Regular road racing rules governed the contest and the fourteen-year-olds traveled the course with splendid judgment and daring of older heads.

Besides the Junior Vanderbilt, there were races for push-mobiles, which furnished a great deal of amusement for the crowd. A broad incline was used to give the push-cars a good start and most of the boys had trouble in getting to the bottom right side up. Some of the spills looked dangerous to the crowd but none of the drivers were injured.

The difficulties for boys in constructing cars for the Vanderbilt are told only by the perfection of the machines, because the adaptation of a motorcycle engine to an automobile is a very difficult mechanical job. The dozens of cycle car manufacturers that have sprung up within the last few months have given testimony freely that the thing can't be done. A special motor for the little car of the "common people" has been built by most of the manufacturers, and many different schemes of transmission and differential have been used.

Originally published in Technical World Magazine, May 1914.
Written by Harvey Edmonds

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