Don Emde On Creating The Speed Kings

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By Evans Brasfield

If you know only one thing about Don Emde, it is probably that, with his 1972 Daytona 200 victory, he became the first – and only – son of a Daytona 200 winner to duplicate the feat. Since those days, Emde has devoted his life to motorcycling. He is the publisher of Motorcycle Dealer News and the author of several books. His first was the 1990 history of the Daytona 200, which is often referred to as the Bible of Daytona 200 history.

In 2016, Emde published Finding Cannon Ball’s Trail, in which he chronicled a reconstruction of Cannon Ball’s historic 1914 cross-country record run. Not content to merely reconstruct the route through available technology, Emde and his colleague, Joe Colombero, traced out the route and then led a centennial retracing of the route – down to the minute of the start with a group of 30 riders, including many motorcycle industry notables.

Being a life-long collector of motorcycle magazines and memorabilia, Emde has served on the Board of Trustees of the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, including a stint as its Chairman. So, it should come as no surprise to learn that Emde’s latest book also looks to enlighten its readers about another era in motorcycle racing, the rise and fall of motordrome racing. The Speed Kings outlines in extraordinary detail, both in photography and text, the short but vibrant history of motorcycle board track racing. The result is a 372-page large-format book that was the first motorcycle-related book to win the Motor Press Guild’s Book of the Year award.

Joe Wolters leads Jake DeRosier and Charles “Fearless” Balke at Los Angeles Stadium in February of 1912. Image: Stephen Wright Collection (Don Emde)

Despite the years Emde spent writing The Speed Kings, he still has a lot to say on the topic, …read more

Source:: Don Emde On Creating The Speed Kings


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