Sidecar Cycle Racing, Then & Now

Larry 'n NassauBack in the days of Wide World of Sports I got a kick out of watching scenes of motorcycle sidecar racing, usually in Great Britain. It’s been ages since I’ve given it any thought but while perusing the Internet I came across an article about the current state of the sport. While not as popular as after WWII it still has its fans and like most sports, technology has not stood still.

The races I remember were basically a road bike with a piece of plywood, a grab bar, and a wheel bolted to the bike’s side. A driver sat on the bike and a second person rode on the plywood throwing his weight back and forth to avoid the cycle losing traction or centrifugal force propelling both into the next county. Speeds of that era rarely broke 90 mph.

In today’s world of sidecar racing the machines are specially built with the cycle and sidecar being an aerodynamic unibody design made of carbon fiber and other modern substances. The job of the team remains the same but the speeds today get real close to 200 mph.

I don’t know what the life expectancy of a sidecar racer is but I’m betting it’s lower than a mild-mannered librarian.

Check out this YouTube video clip.

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