When Versus first came on the Sports front it cost our race about 7/8K.
Then they got bigger and wanted 25 K plus. Our recompense was to sell our
race to advertisers and keep the profit. That was a little out of our
league. So we had to pass.
Now quite a few years later people still remember the coverage for a few
years and said how great it was and do we still/will we have it again.
I remember the camera man in the last corner before the 300 yards to the
finish, right where the racers came close to the curb and he could see their
He said when he felt the rush of speed and the sweat drops hit him, he
almost fell off the platform!!
No other sport, any speed gave that intimate feeling as if he was teleported
into the melee!!!
>From then on he was a super tifosi!!
Palos Verdes Estates
As usual, a great post from Ted Ernst! I never rode in the Somerville race, but Beloved Spouse and I rode our Schwinn Town & Country up to the race and back (from our home in Cranbury) one year when it was very hot. If you have never stood close to a large pack passing at very high speed, make an effort to go to a crit race. The whirring sound of chains, tires, and heavy breathing is just otherworldly. A must do experience.
harvey sachs mcLean va
Ted Ernst wrote\u2026
As a followup to my post about Jeannie Robinson/Omelenchuck,s track bike up
for auction, I only rode the Tour of Somerville once back in 1953.
It was a wild and wooly race.
I wasn't always the fastest guy in sprints, but pretty strong, so I
break away in many races, tried to jump away 4 or 5 times but they knew
better than to let me go and chased me down very hard.
This was the 10th anniversary and first place was a Chevy car!!!
The guys knew me a little and didn't want me soloing off. My last jump
with about two to go, they chased me down and got me with about 3/4 lap to
go if Iremember.
I got to sit in close to the front and recover a little before sprint.
Hughie Starr took advantage of the lull after they caught me and shot out
with about 1/2 lap to go and got just enuf of a gap that the mad charge
the long straghtaway couldn't quite haul him in.
I was winding it up with the guys after the turn with the front of the
field when some crazy guy came swooping across my/our beam, whacked my RH
pedal and tore off my toe strap buckle, how he got by me, veering off and
not any of us falling still makes my imagination stagger.
I got out of seat for the jump the last 1/4 mile,almost lost my foot with
that strap gone.
Remember it was all fixed gear track bikes no brakes. My right foot was
flopping with the speed and rotation so I held on to my legs and hips for
dear life and managed a 4th in the field sprint.
Got a Nice TV, first one for our house so Mom was pleased, but the car
have been just a little nicer. Oh well.
The next year in '54 I went back to Somerville with revenge in mind.
Ray Gasiorowski(Romic Bikes), John Polacek, and I drove to Somerville for
The day before we went out for a little stretch the leg ride and I was in
back, John in front, Ray was outside on the paved shoulder.
A long trailer Milk truck was drumming along from Pennsy to N.Y., the driver
must have fallen asleep at the wheel, drifted over, and clipped us.
The police report said he was going over 50MPH and the crash jarred him
awake so that his truck was jackknifed in the large geen parkway between
two double lanes of the divided highway.
Now it gets interesting.
Police estimate I was thrown about 55/60 feet from point of impact!
My bike had the rear brake and seat stays munched into the seat tube.
John had a fractured skull and was out for three days, Ray was knocked down
but able to ride the race.
I had a fractured 4th and 5th lumbar verteba, broken nose, twisted but not
broken left ankle,and my left eye lid was torn so bad they thought I lost
At the accident scene a priest came by and John and I were messed up so bad
he thought we were dead or dying and gave us last rites.
I started to come around and started thrashing so much trying to get up
they sat on me to keep me down.
I woke up in the hospital looking up at a brite light and the first
heard was the doc saying I was going to be OK but he was cutting about 1/4
inch of my eyelid and couldn't believe my eye was not injured.
As I was recovering in the hospital the nurses kept wondering during nite
check if I wasn't peeking at them because my eye wouldn't be covered with
the shortened lid, took several years for that to stretch and far enuf to
close, my left ankle hurt for over 15 years about Memorial Day time, and if
I sat with my foot at the wrong angle it hurt for over twenty years till it
finally went away.
My back healed but I had to always watch how I would lift because it was
just enuf to make me look bent over like a 100 year oldster.
Even thogh I started racing again after the Tour Of Somerville in '55, and
had a fair career, it always let me know it wasn'tquite 100%.
That's why I respect and admire all the athletes that overcome adversity to
give it their all.
That's all you get today.
Palos Verdes Estates