America, about racing motorbikes with fast lions in 1920

Door San Daniel gepubliceerd in Verhalen en Poëzie

Barrel Racing:


As a young boy, little to nothing happened in my village. I lived for a while in a rather religious fishing village. Once a year, however, the fair came to brighten our village up. The market square then became a magical place for a week, with a ferris wheel, a pulling rope tent, the usual haunted house. that was actually not all that scary, bumping cars, a caterpillar, which was a kind of rail over which you were quickly transported in a cart and occasionally a cloth came that locked you with mechanical trusses from left to right in a cocoon, it enclosed you under the continuous whining of a horn. That was about the most exciting thing that you could experience as a child. There was Jut's head, which you don't see anymore these days, where sailors with a huge sledge hammer could hit a pin in an anvil, to impress their girlfriend. And that was about it, right? No! We nagged our parents for cotton candy and cinnamon sticks and your father shot the flowers out of line for your mother. So that was it then?




No not really, one very essential attraction came to mind again, as if I had repressed it after so many years, when I happened to look on the internet in an archive of 1920 circus acts in America.


Every once in a while a circus came to our village and pitched its tent literally and figuratively, yes you guessed it, on the market square. I think that circus was circus Toni Boltini. There was a side attraction that traveled with Boltini. It had to do with risk management. I was always wowed by everything that was motoric in essence, but this struck everything. A kind of huge barrel was built and there, in my view, a hero on a motorbike was racing around, with a leather crash helmet on and loudly applauded by everyone who paid to be allowed to look over the edge.




Nowadays one no longer sees these kind of performances, but this was the absolute summit of heroism in the eyes of me and all my friends. The honesty forces me to report that it was a smaller barrel in my village with only a small motorcycle in it. However, the principle is the same, people start driving around quickly and if they go fast enough they send the vehicle to the wall of death.



Our hero had removed the exhaust from the motorcycle so that it would attract more audiences, and we were staring at that hero in adoration, how round after round he flew by until he really hung up completely obliquely.



In America everything surpasses everything, how else can it be. It was not enough to race around against a sloping wall in your car or on your motorcycle, they introduced a new element. The same but with a tiger or lion as a passenger. All of a sudden when I discovered these photos that took me back to my old village, with the race barrel I made the link to why the daredevils always traveled with the circus.



Then you could borrow those animals for a small fee. The spectators thought it was the verge of excitement when someone came rushing by with a roaring lion who wanted to attack the driver every now and then.



That happened a few times, which led to the fact that racing with a lion was eventually banned. As the daredevils devised more and more dangerous stunts and had to drive faster and faster because different vehicles raced around at different heights in the barrel, in an ever-increasing slope, more and more accidents happened. It was bad enough if your car fell backwards, on top of you, but if you were also torn apart by a furious lion, you broke the limits of what the audience could be offered in terms of spectacle. In 1930, this type of dead-wall racing was banned in every US state. To the delight of the lions I would imagine.

 San Daniel 2020

24/02/2020 20:45

Reacties (2) 

25/02/2020 00:57
You won't be surprised that my sympathy is entirely with the lions...
25/02/2020 06:56
No, not at all.. that is where my preference lies as well
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