Crashes were just plain dangerous; A panic-stricken situation. It would stop the show and your heart. These crash photos represent a split moment in time where everything was out of control for that driver or rider.
Most of the people in attendance didn’t want to witness a crash, but they knew it was eminent. The competition was so fierce and intense, that just the danger and potential of a crash was enough to quench any desire to see one.
Steam from the radiators, fire from the fuel tanks and the sight of the ambulance and wreckers rolling out to the track were familiar. Sometimes a fuel tank would split and once they removed everything, they would light it to burn off the excess fuel so the race could continue without too much delay. The sound of the crowd was the loudest part of the crash and the results were marked by fire extinguisher powder.
Improvements to performance, safety and protective gear owe their thanks the dangerous crashes of the past. The more crashers there were, the more reasons there were to find better ways to protect the competitor. As for the motorcycle, the hay bale should be in the Hall of Fame as the best safety device, still to this day.