“The Kansas Whirlwind” also known as “The Pop-Pop Doctor”

Maximus Loyd “Max” Wilson

1882 – 1934

 

 

An Early Day Professional Motorcycle Racer Turned Auto Racer

 

 

Max Wilson was born on May 16, 1882 (from his own handwriting on his draft registration papers for World War I) in Sedgwick County, Kansas (although his tombstone says he was born on that date in 1883).  He was the older of the two children born to a carpenter, machinist and blacksmith, Alva Napoleon Wilson (1859-1922) and his first wife, Jane Cordelia “Corda” (Radabaugh) Wilson (1860-1952).  In 1892, Max Wilson won first prize for the best constructed toy, a complete locomotive, all of the work by his own hand.

 

In 1894, Max’s father, Alva Wilson, also a master machinist, built a steam powered horseless carriage in his Wilson & Manefee Machine and Repair Shop at 622 West Douglas Street in Wichita that was very different in appearance from the automobiles that others would build after that.

 

As a teenager, Wilson worked as an elevator boy in the five story Sedgwick Block office building at the corner of First and Market Streets in Wichita, Kansas.  His next job was with the Frisco railroad in Wichita.  By 1903, he was a train engineer with that line.

 

 

FIRST MOTORCYCLE BUILT

The first motorcycle built in this city has just been completed.  It was built by Max Wilson, the son of Alva Wilson, the man who built the first horseless carriage ever seen in Wichita.  Mr. Wilson was for some time employed by the Frisco and was the youngest engineer on the road, being but 21 years of age.  He learned to walk beside an iron lathe in his father’s shop and today is an up-to-date machinist, having learned the trade at an early date.  He is a good hand at the business which a glance at the machine will prove, for it was built at odd times when not at work on his daily labor and is a complete success.  It shows much skill in his workmanship as he made all his own patterns.  The machine has a 2½ horse power air cooling gasoline engine, is erected on a tandem frame and is a patent of his own.  Mr. Wilson has no shop at present but hopes to establish one in the near future.

 

Wichita Daily Eagle

March 12, 1905 – page 2

 

Wilson was married in Wichita in 1904 to Edna May Hunter (1884-1949) and they honeymooned in Birmingham, Alabama curtesy of free travel from the Frisco railroad.  They became the parents of two daughters: Evalina N. Wilson (1909-1909) and Evelyn May Wilson (1910-1910).

 

As early as 1901, Wilson was entering organized bicycle races in Wichita.  He began racing motorcycles in amateur meets in 1905 and then entering professional meets beginning near the end of 1910.  He was crowned the Kansas State Motorcycle Racing Champion in 1910 by the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM).  Getting older, he switched to driving racing cars in 1915 but never attained the success with those that he had enjoyed with his motorcycle racing.

 

By the time the article at right appeared in the Wichita Daily Eagle, Max Wilson had left his employment with the Frisco railroad and was working for the Wichita Bridge and Iron Works.

 

Wilson served one term on the Wichita city council from 1911 through 1913.

 

Wilson opened his own machine shop and automobile repair business at his home at 1903 East First Street in Wichita in the early 1900s.  Although he soon sold the business, he continued to work for the new owner, the Jones Auto Exchange at his home.  Next, he went to work as the head repairman for the Hockaday Motorcycle Company in Wichita.  By the 1920s, he had again opened his own machine shop and automobile repair business, this time, working out of his then home at 150 North Minneapolis Street in Wichita.  Late in the 1920s, he sold that business to the Brooks Machine Company and, again, continued to do mechanical work for them at his home.

 

Wilson’s incomplete motorsports record is below:

 

July 5, 1909 – ½ mile dirt oval – Wichita Fairgrounds in west Wichita, Kansas

Motorcycles:  His own 1908 Reading Standard single, an Indian twin and a Thor

Finish:  Wilson won the 2-lap, 3-motorcycle race for 2¼ H.P. motorcycles riding his own 1908 Reading Standard in 1:53.0.  Elwood Turner of Wichita, who was riding an Indian, finished in 2nd place.

              Wilson won the 4-lap, 3-motorcycle race for 2¾ to 3 H.P. motorcycles riding his own 1908 Reading Standard in 3:41.0.  Ray Hockaday of Wichita, who was riding an Indian, finished in 2nd place.

              Wilson finished in 5th place in the 4-lap, 6-motorcycle race for 3¼ to 3½ H.P. motorcycles riding a Thor.  He finished behind winner Ray Hockaday of Wichita who was also riding a Thor; Demmie Day who was riding an Indian; Claude D. Andrews of Wichita who was also riding an Indian and Harlie A. Stephens of Wichita who was riding a Thor.

              Wilson finished in 4th place in the 10-lap, 4-motorcycle race for twin-cylinder motorcycles riding an Indian.   He finished behind winner Claude D. Andrews of Wichita who was riding a Reading Standard; Ray Hockaday of Wichita who was also riding an Indian and Demmie Day who was riding a Thor.    

Feature race winner:  Tie between Claude D. Andrews of Wichita, Kansas who was riding a Reading Standard and Ray Hockaday, also from Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian.

 

August 1, 1909 – 70-miles over public roads – round trip from Wichita, Kansas to Wellington, Kansas via Peck, Kansas and then back on the same road to Wichita

Motorcycle:  Harley-Davidson

Attendance:  5,000

Finish:  Wilson won the 1-lap, 8-motorcycle race in 1:56:30.  Wells Bennett of Wichita, finished in 2nd place, 4½ minutes behind winner Wilson and all 8 riders finished the race.  Wilson did not take the lead until the last half of the race.

Feature race winner:  Max Wilson of Wichita, Kansas who was riding a Harley-Davidson

 

September 6, 1909 – ½ mile dirt oval – Wichita Fairgrounds in west Wichita, Kansas

Motorcycle:  His own 1908 Reading Standard single

Finish:  Wilson won the 4-lap race for single-cylinder motorcycles in 3:36.0.  Ray Weishaar of Wichita finished in 2nd place on his own Indian motorcycle.

              This program rained out after five races so the eight remaining races were postponed until September 8, 1909.

 

September 8, 1909 – ½ mile dirt oval – Wichita Fairgrounds in west Wichita, Kansas

Motorcycles:  Thor and a Harley-Davidson

Finish:  Wilson won the 10-lap novelty race while riding a Harley-Davidson.  His winning time was 9:28.25.   Floyd Hughes of Wichita finished in 2nd place while riding a Thor.  In this race, the riders were required to dismount and hold up their hands at the starting line on each lap.

              Wilson finished in 3rd place in the 6-lap, 5-motorcycle race for 3 to3 ½ H.P. motorcycles while riding a Thor.  He finished behind winner Ray Weishaar of Wichita who was riding his own Indian and Clifford Ray who was riding a Thor.

              Wilson finished in 3rd place in the 50-lap, 9-motorcycle “Free-for-All” race behind winner Ray Weishaar of Wichita who was riding an Indian, and Dan Randall who was also from Wichita.

Feature race winner:  Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian.

 

November 25, 1909 – 70-miles over public roads – round trip from Wichita, Kansas to Wellington, Kansas via Peck, Kansas and then back on the same road to Wichita

Entries:  15

Finish:  Wilson entered this race but any results of this race have yet to be located.

 

 

A WICHITA GENIUS MAKES MOTORCYCLE WHICH IS SUCCESS

Max Wilson has Invented Machine which has Several Superior Features

Has Built Three

 

CAN RUN SLOWER THAN OTHER POP POPS

Also Has Considerable Speed and is Good Hill Climber

Expects to Keep on Building Them

 

Although Wichita has not as yet secured a factory for the building of motorcycles on a large scale, it can still claim the honor of having had motorcycles – three of them – built from the ground up in this city.  These machines have all been built by Max L. Wilson, head repairman for the Hockaday Motorcycle Company and, incidentally, one of the mechanical geniuses of the state.

 

This third machine, which has just been finished, is called the Wilson Special and is not only successful in the way of developing power and speed, but also compares favorable with factory-built machines in general appearance.  At a recent demonstration, Mr. Wilson made the machine carry his wife and himself up a steep hill east of the city, where many motorcyclists are forced to walk and push their machines.

 

The engine for this machine was, of course, purchased from a factory, as were the tires and some other parts.  The engine is a large single-cylinder affair capable of developing from 4½ to 5½ horsepower.  The tank of the machine holds three gallons of gasoline while the oil tank holds three quarts.  This supply will carry the machine 175 miles.  A whistle of Mr. Wilson’s own invention is used on the machine instead of a horn.

 

The machine is driven by a 2-inch flat belt.  The ability to regulate the speed is one of the special features, it being possible to drive the engine as slowly as the rider can balance, or up to 55 miles per hour.

 

The machine was put in running order some time ago and has been thoroughly tested by the maker to get every part working smoothly.  It has just been sold to O(ra) C(lintonOrie”) Sweet of this city at a good price.

 

This young inventor comes by his talent naturally, his father having been the first man to build an automobile in the country.  Mr. Wilson has a picture of himself as a boy, seated in this machine which looks like a milk wagon, in front of the old Eagle building on Douglas Avenue.  This picture was taken in 1896.

 

Besides the three motorcycles, Mr. Wilson has a perfect working model steam engine which he has built entirely by himself.  His home on East First Street is a veritable wonder house of toys and trinkets he has built for his own amusement.  A sort of phonographic music box of his invention was one of the features in the Hockaday booth at the Automobile show last fall.  He is considering the building of a fourth motorcycle at once.

 

Wichita Daily Eagle

March 6, 1910 – page 13

 

May 20, 1910 – ½ mile dirt oval – Wichita Fairgrounds in west Wichita, Kansas

Motorcycles:  His own 1908 Reading Standard single, a Thor and his own “Max Wilson special” which was a motorcycle that he had built himself.  [Note:  There was another man whose surname was Wilson, who entered motorcycle races in the Wichita area in these days so that is why Max Wilson included his first name of “Max” as part of the name of his “Max Wilson special”.]

Finish:  Wilson ran a mile against the clock on his own 1908 Reading Standard single, going the 2-laps in 2:03.0.

              Wilson won a 10-lap race in 7:05.0 while riding a Thor.  Dan Randall of Wichita finished in 2nd place while riding his own N.S.U. double motorcycle.

              Wilson finished in 3rd place in the 25-lap, 7-motorcycle Australian Pursuit behind winner _____ Norton of Kansas City, Missouri who was riding a Merkle motorcycle and Dan Randall of Wichita who was riding his own N.S.U. double motorcycle.

              Wilson finished in 4th place in the 4-lap, 6-motorcycle novelty race behind winner _____ Norton of Kansas City, Missouri who was riding a Merkle motorcycle; Claude D. Andrews of Wichita who was riding an Excelsior and Ray Hockaday of Wichita who was riding a Thor.

              Wilson was credited with a 4th place finish in the 10-lap, 5-motorcycle trade (professional) machine race behind winner Ray Weishaar of Wichita; R. L. Cooper of Topeka, Kansas and _____ Norton of Kansas City, Missouri who was riding a Merkle motorcycle.  Wilson dropped out of the race after 6 laps with his “wheel stand” dragging.

              Wilson won the ⅛ mile “slow race” in 4:12.5 while riding his own “Max Wilson special”.  2nd place was Wells Bennett of Wichita.

Feature race winner:  Dan Randall of Wichita, Kansas who was riding a N.S.U. double motorcycle.

 

August 10, 1910 – ½ mile dirt oval – Wichita Fairgrounds in west Wichita, Kansas

Motorcycles:  His own “Max Wilson special” which was a motorcycle that he had built himself.  [Note:  There was another man whose surname was Wilson, who entered motorcycle races in the Wichita area in these days so that is why Max Wilson included his first name of “Max” as part of the name of his “Max Wilson special”.]

Finish:  Wilson finished in a close 2nd place in the 20-lap, 2-motorcycle match race behind Wells Bennett of Wichita who was riding a Racycle motorcycle.  Bennett led the 1st 11 laps before being passed by Wells.  Bennett regained the lead on the 18th lap and led the final two circuits of the racetrack.

Feature race winner:  Wells Bennett of Wichita who was riding a Racycle motorcycle

 

August 13, 1910 – ½ mile dirt oval – Riverside Park at Kingman, Kansas

Finish:  Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 20-lap race behind Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

 Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 4-lap novelty race behind Wells Bennett of Wichita.

               Wilson finished in 3rd place in the 9-lap Australian Pursuit behind winner Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle and Billy McClure of Kingman, Kansas.

Feature race winner:  Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

 

August 28, 1910 – 70-miles over public roads – round trip from Wichita, Kansas to Wellington, Kansas and then back on the same road to Wichita

Purse:  $40

Finish:  Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 1-lap, 4-motorcycle race behind winner Wells Bennett of Wichita.  Bennett’s motorcycle died within ½ mile of the finish and he had to walk the remaining distance.  In spite of this, he finished 8 minutes in front of Wilson.

Feature race winner:  Wells Bennett of Wichita, Kansas

 

September 17, 1910 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Attendance: “several thousand”

Purse:  $300

Finish:  Wilson won the 10-lap race for single cylinder motorcycles followed by Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian single.

              As a member of the victorious Harley-Davidson team, Wilson was one of the winners of the 4-lap relay race that defeated the Indian team.  The Harley-Davidson team thus collected $50 from the purse.

              Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 10-lap race for twin cylinder motorcycles.  Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas won the race.

  Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 5-motorcycle Australian Pursuit riding a Harley-Davidson single, behind winner Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian single.

  Wilson won the 10-lap handicap race followed by Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian single.

  Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 10-lap handicap race for singles and twins that was won by Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian single.

              Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 10-lap “Free-for-All” race behind winner Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

Feature race winner:  Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

 

October 12, 1910 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

These races were promoted by Earl Nelson Sapp of Hutchinson, Kansas

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Attendance:  10,000

Finish:  Wilson finished 2nd in the 10-lap, 4-motorcuycle “Free-for-All” handicap race behind winner Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian single.

              Wilson finished 2nd in the 20-lap, 5-motorcuycle “Free-for-All” race behind winner Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian single.

Feature race winner:  Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian single.

 

December 26, 1910 – 52-miles over public roads – round trip from Wichita, Kansas to Newton, Kansas and then back on the same road to Wichita

Finish:  Wilson DNF after breaking a drive belt.

Feature race winner:  Wells Bennett of Wichita, Kansas who was riding a 4 H.P. Indian.

 

April 8, 1911 – ½ mile dirt oval – Wichita Fairgrounds in west Wichita, Kansas

Finish:  The political battle between the motorcycle riders and the horse racing interests swung in favor of the horse racers as they were able to secure the use of this racetrack and to exclude the motorcycle and automobile racers from using it even though they had obtained permission from the Midland Valley railroad, who owned the racetrack, to use it so, these scheduled races were canceled.

 

 

We Are Pleased to Announce

 

 

 

 

    That we are now able to make you a special low price on the famous Harley-Davidson Motorcycle.  All 1911 models have been reduced until they are now in the reach of all.

 

Read

These

Prices

 

    The up-to-date and serviceable Harley-Davidson with magneto for only $225.  Also, the Harley-Davidson with battery only $200.  These are remarkable reductions for this high-grade machine and we hope you will come and let us demonstrate some of the good features of this machine.

 

   This picture represents Max Wilson, the famous racer, on one of these motorcycles.  Mr. Wilson is scheduled to enter the road race tomorrow afternoon to Hutchinson and return, a distance of 122 miles.  Mr. Wilson will ride one of these Harley-Davidson machines which we are now selling for $200.

 

HONER & CHANEY

Phone Market 4954                                                           230 North Main Street

 

The picture in this ad shows Max Wilson sitting astride a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

Wichita Beacon

Wichita, Kansas

August 12, 1911 – Page 7

:

 

May 4, 1911 – ½ mile dirt oval – Wichita Fairgrounds in west Wichita, Kansas

Finish:  These races were postponed until May 6, 1911 due to rain.

 

May 6, 1911 – ½ mile dirt oval – Wichita Fairgrounds in west Wichita, Kansas

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Purse:  $150

Finish:  Wilson won a 10-lap race for single cylinder motorcycles in 6:55.8.  Ray Weishaarof Wichita, Kansas finished in 2nd place while riding an Indian single.

              Wilson won the 17-lap Australian Pursuit in 12:03.40.  Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas finished in 2nd place in this race as well, while riding a twin Indian.

Feature race winner:  Max Wilson of Wichita, Kansas who was riding a Harley-Davidson single.

 

May 20, 1911 – ½ mile dirt oval – Oakdale Park at Salina, Kansas

Motorcycle:  His own Wilson Special

Finish:  Wilson ran the fastest 2-lap time trial of 1:20.0.  Paul “Speck” of Ellsworth, Kansas ran the 2nd fastest 2-lap time trial on an Indian motorcycle.

              Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 10-lap handicap race behind Paul “Speck” of Ellsworth, Kansas ran the 2nd fastest 2-lap time trial on an Indian motorcycle.

              Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 6-lap race for single cylinder motorcycles behind Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

              Wilson finished in 3rd place in the 10-lap race for single cylinder motorcycles behind Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle and Ralph L. Cooper of Topeka, Kansas who was also riding an Indian motorcycle

Feature race winner:  Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

 

June 9, 1911 – 25-mile dirt road course – Oakdale Park at Salina, Kansas

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Results of these motorcycle races have yet to be located.  [Note that Wilson had entered races at Wichita and Salina on the same day although it is unclear if he actually participated in Salina program.]

 

June 9, 1911 – 25-mile dirt road course – Wichita Fairgrounds in west Wichita, Kansas

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson DNF the 50-lap, 4-motorcycle “Championship of Kansas” race as he “smashed a tire in the seventh mile” and was forced to retire.”  He was awarded 4th place behind winner Wells Bennett of Wichita who completed the distance in 33:48.0.  Ray Weishaar of Wichita finished in 2nd place while Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas finished in 3rd place.

Feature race winner:  Wells Bennett of Wichita, Kansas

 

July 4, 1911 – ½ mile dirt oval – Wichita Fairgrounds in west Wichita, Kansas

These races were promoted by Frank L. Wright of Kechi, Kansas

Motorcycle:  All entries in these races were limited to 1-cylinder motorcycles.  Wilson entered his own Harley-Davidson single. 

Finish:  Wilson won the 2-motorcycle race over Ray Weishaar of Wichita who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

              The scheduled race between Wilson and Harold L. Peterson of Wichita who was driving a Crawford automobile and was the winner of the auto races on this afternoon, was canceled for an undisclosed reason..

Feature race winner:  Max Wilson of Wichita, Kansas who was riding a Harley-Davidson single.

 

July 23, 1911 – ½ mile dirt oval – Athletic Park in Arkansas City, Kansas – Sanctioned by the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM)

These races were promoted by Wells Bennett of Wichita, Kansas

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson won the 6-lap open professional race in 4:03.0.

              Wilson won the 4⅛-mile Australian Pursuit in 1:07.0 (?).

              Wilson won the 1-mile “Free-for-All” in 1:24.0.

              Wilson won a 1-mile, 2-motorcycle match race.  Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding a 4 H.P. Indian motorcycle, finished in 2nd place.

              Wilson tied for 2nd place with Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding a 4 H.P. Indian, in a 3-motorcycle, 1-mile exhibition race.  Wells Bennett of Wichita, Kansas won this race by 2 seconds, in 1:14.0 while riding a 7 H.P. Indian motorcycle.

              Wilson won the 10-mile open race in 13:05.0.

Feature race winner:  Max Wilson of Wichita, Kansas who was riding his own Harley-Davidson single.

 

August 13, 1911 – 125-miles over public roads – round trip from Wichita, Kansas to Hutchinson, Kansas and then back on the same road to Wichita

Finish:  Wilson DNF this race due to a broken exhaust pipe.  It was won by Harlie A. Stephens of Wichita who was riding an Excelsior and finished in 2:41:35.00.  Wells Bennett of Wichita, Kansas finished in 2nd place 9:24.09 behind Stephens while riding an Indian motorcycle.

Feature race winner:  Harlie A. Stephens of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Excelsior

 

August 17, 1911 – ½ mile dirt oval – Pratt County Fairgrounds at Pratt, Kansas

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson won the 4-motorcycle, 10-lap race in 6:41.5.

Feature race winner:  Max Wilson of Wichita, Kansas who was riding his own Harley-Davidson single.

 

August 29, 1911 – ½ mile dirt oval – Oakdale Park at Salina, KansasSanctioned by the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM)

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Attendance:  1,200

Finish:  Wilson’s Harley-Davidson suffered a broken valve and DNF the 1st 6-motorcycle, 20-lap race which was won by Ralph L. Cooper of Topeka, Kansas who was riding a Flying Merkel motorcycle.  Wilson was awarded 6th place in this race behind Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle; Leland “Kid” Young of Salina, Kansas who was riding a Harley-Davidson; Walter T. Cunningham of Wichita, Kansas who was riding a Harley Davidson; and Frank Honer of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

              Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 2nd 6-motorcycle, 20-lap race behind Ralph L. Cooper of Topeka, Kansas who was riding a Flying Merkel motorcycle.  Wilson’s 2nd place finish earned him $20 in merchandise prizes.

Feature race winner:  Ralph L. Cooper of Topeka, Kansas who was riding a Flying Merkel motorcycle.

 

August 30, 1911 – ½ mile dirt oval – Conway Springs Fairgrounds at Conway Springs, Kansas

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson won the 1st single cylinder race which paid him $20 from the purse.  Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian single, finished this race in 2nd place.

Feature race winner:  Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian.

 

September 5, 1911 – ½ mile dirt oval – McPherson County Fairgrounds at McPherson, KansasSanctioned by the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM)

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson finished in a close 2nd place behind winner Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle in the 5-motorcycle, 20-lap race in 7:19.0.

Feature race winner:  Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle

 

September 6, 1911 – ½ mile dirt oval – McPherson County Fairgrounds at McPherson, KansasSanctioned by the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM)

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson won the 4-motorcycle, 10-lap race in 6:54.5 over Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

Feature race winner:  Max Wilson of Wichita, Kansas who was riding a Harley-Davidson single.

 

September 7, 1911 – ½ mile dirt oval – McPherson County Fairgrounds at McPherson, Kansas – Sanctioned by the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM)

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson won the 3-motorcycle, Australian Pursuit in 2:30.0 to collect $20 from the purse.  Sid E. Reimer of Wichita finished in 2nd place.

Feature race winner:  Max Wilson of Wichita, Kansas who was riding a Harley-Davidson single.

 

September 27, 1911 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson ran but did not place in the 7-motorcycle, 6-lap “Free-for-All” race for stock motorcycles won by Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.  Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas finished in 2nd place while riding an Indian motorcycle.

              Wilson ran but did not place in the 7-motorcycle, 6-lap “Free-for-All” race for stock motorcycles with all equipment on it that was won by Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.  Leland “Kid” Young of Salina, Kansas who was riding a Harley-Davidson finished in 2nd place.

              Wilson finished in 4th place in the 4-motorcycle, 6-lap “Free-for-All” for single single-cylinder motorcycles, behind Wells Bennett of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle; Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was also riding an Indian motorcycle and Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

              Wilson finished in 3rd place in the 4-motorcycle, 20-lap championship race behind Wells Bennett of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle and Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle

  Wilson finished in 3rd place in the 4-motorcycle, 10-lap match race behind Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle and Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

  Wilson ran the 4th fastest 2-lap time trial of 1:17.2.  That was slower than the time trials run by Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle; Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was also riding an Indian motorcycle and Wells Bennett of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

Feature race winner:  Wells Bennett of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

 

October 7, 1911 – ½ mile dirt oval – Douglass Fairgrounds at Douglass, Kansas

Motorcycles:  He entered a 4 H.P. Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson won the 3-motorcycle, 10-lap motorcycle race in 7:34.0.  He was followed by Wells Bennett of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle and finished in 2nd place.  Frank Honer who was also from Wichita, finished in 3rd place also on an Indian motorcycle.

Feature race winner:  Max Wilson of Wichita, Kansas who was riding a Harley-Davidson single.

 

October 12, 1911 – ½ mile dirt oval – Oakdale Park at Salina, KansasSanctioned by the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM)

Max Wells was one of 4 Kansas motorcycle racers that were promoted to professional status by Dr. B. J. Patterson, vice-president of the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM) after these races were run.

Motorcycle:  Wilson’s own Harley-Davidson single

Attendance:  1,500

Finish:  Wilson ran the fastest 2-lap time trial for a closed port motorcycle of 1:23.0. which broke the old track record for that class of motorcycle by 3 seconds.

  Wilson finished in 4th place in the 4-motorcyhcle professional race for closed port motorcycles.  Finishing ahead of Wilson were winner Leland “Kid” Young of Salina who was riding a Harley-Davidson.  Young’s time for the 20-laps was 6:46.6.  Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas finished in 2nd place while riding an Indian motorcycle and Wells Bennett of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle finished in 3rd place.

  Wilson finished in 3rd place in the 4-motorcycle, 20-lap professional race for open port motorcycles.  Finishing ahead of Wilson were winner Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.  Leland “Kid” Young of Salina who was riding a Harley-Davidson, finished in 2nd place.  For his 3rd place finish in this race, Wilson received a “reliner, a Hagstorm Porcelain & Mica motorcycle spark plug and blow out patch.”

  Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 10-lap, 3-motorcycle professional race for “stock machines” behind winner Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.  Warner and Wells Bennett of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle, started this race holding onto each other for 1-lap.  When Wilson passed the two, they parted and Warner was able to repass Wilson.  Wilson received 8% of the gate receipts for his 2nd place finish.

  Wilson finished in 3rd place in the 18-lap Australian Pursuit behind winner Wells Bennett of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle and Leland “Kid” Young of Salina who was riding a Harley-Davidson.  Wilson won a Hagstorm Porcelain & Mica motorcycle spark plug and face mask for his 3rd place finish.  Hogstorm spark plugs were made in Lindsborg, Kansas at that time.

Feature race winner:  Wells Bennett of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

 

November 30, 1911 – 60-miles over public roads – round trip from Wichita, Kansas to Wellington, Kansas and then back to Wichita

Finish:  Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 1-lap, 6-motorcycle race behind winner Walter T. Cunningham of Wichita who was riding a Harley-Davidson.  Wilson’s time was 1:45.20 which was just 6 seconds slower than Cunningham’s time.

Feature race winner:  Walter T. Cunningham of Wichita, Kansas who was riding a Harley-Davidson.

 

January 21, 1912 – Various streets around the city of Wichita, Kansas

Motorcycle:  Wilson’s own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson won the 1-block slow race with George Woodwell finishing in 2nd place on an Excelsior.

              Wilson finished in 2nd place in the quick stop contest behind Will Braitsch of Wichita who was riding an Excelsior.

  Wilson finished in 2nd place in a race to pedal a motorcycle for 1-block.  That race was won by Harlie Stephens of Wichita who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

  Wilson tied with Will Braitsch of Wichita at 59.0 seconds in the 1st 2-motorcycle race around a square block.  Braitsch was riding an Excelsior.  To break the tie, it was decided to rerun the race.

  Wilson tied with Will Braitsch of Wichita at 55.5 seconds in the 2nd 2-motorcycle race around a square block.  Braitsch was riding an Excelsior.  To break the tie, it was decided to run the race again for a 3rd time

  Wilson finished in 2nd place behind Will Braitsch of Wichita who was riding an Excelsior.  Bratisch rode the distance in 55.25 seconds while Wilson finished in 55.75 seconds in the 3rd 2-motorcycle race around a square block..

  Wilson finished in 2nd place behind Will Braitsch of Wichita who was riding an Excelsior.  In 25.0 seconds, Braitsch rode 3 laps around a tight circle of 4 men standing in the street.

            Feature race winner:  William Henry “Will” Braitsch of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Excelsior.

 

February 11, 1912 – Hill climb on the west side of the 60-foot Observatory Hill on the east edge of Winfield, Kansas

Motorcycles:  He entered a new 4 H.P. 1912 Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson won the single cylinder class as he was the only one in that class to reach the summit of the hill.  Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian single was awarded 2nd place for making it up the hill farther than any of the competitors except Wilson.

Feature race winner:  Phillip D. Gardiner of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Excelsior twin.

 

After the hill climb in Winfield, the 22 riders ate lunch at the Jewel restaurant in Winfield and then traveled as a group to Douglas, Kansas, via the Walnut River road, to Douglass where the 2nd race meet of the day was held.

 

February 11, 1912 – ½ mile dirt oval – Douglass Fairgrounds at Douglass, Kansas

Motorcycles:  He entered a new 4 H.P. 1912 Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 2-lap race for single cylinder motorcycles behind winner Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian.

              Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 4-lap race for both single cylinder motorcycles and motorcycle twins that had finished in the 1st two positions in preceding races.  The winner was Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian single.

Feature race winner:  Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian single.

 

May 11, 1912 – ½ mile dirt oval – Oakdale Park at Salina, Kansas

Motorcycle:  Wilson’s own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  These races were postponed until May 14, 1912 due to “bad weather”.

 

May 14, 1912 – ½ mile dirt oval – Oakdale Park at Salina, Kansas

Finish:  Wilson’s name does not appear in the published race results.

Feature race winner:  Wells Bennett of Wichita, Kansas.

 

July 4, 1912 – ½ mile dirt oval – Cowley County Fairgrounds on the west edge of Winfield, Kansas

These races were promoted by Martin Baden & Roy Nunn of Winfield, Kansas.

Motorcycles:  Wilson entered two Harley-Davidson singles

Attendance:  4,000

Finish:  Wilson finished in 2nd place behind winner Wells Bennett of Wichita, Kansas who was riding a Thor single in the 5-motorcycle, 2nd 20-lap heat race after Wilson, tumbled over his handlebars, then slid over the banking and off of the racetrack in the southeast turn.  2 of the other motorcycles passed him before he could get back onto the racetrack.

              Wilson was running a close 2nd place behind winner Wells Bennett of Wichita, Kansas who was riding a Thor single in the 5-motorcycle, 3rd 20-lap “Free-for-All”, but Wilson blew a tire out and had to retire from the race.

Feature race winner:  Wells Bennett of Wichita, Kansas who was riding a Thor single.

 

 

Augusta Daily Gazette

Augusta, Kansas

June 15, 1915 – page 4

 

September 3, 1912 – ½ mile dirt oval – McPherson County Fairgrounds at McPherson, Kansas – Sanctioned by the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM)

These races were promoted by Phil Zimmerman & M. M. Huyett.

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 6-lap race behind winner Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

              Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 10-lap race behind winner Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

Feature race winner:  Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

 

September 4, 1912 – ½ mile dirt oval – McPherson County Fairgrounds at McPherson, Kansas – Sanctioned by the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM)

These races were promoted by Phil Zimmerman & M. M. Huyett.

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Attendance:  3,000

Finish:  Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 6-lap race behind winner Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

              Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 10-lap race behind winner Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

Feature race winner:  Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

 

September 5, 1912 – ½ mile dirt oval – McPherson County Fairgrounds at McPherson, Kansas – Sanctioned by the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM)

These races were promoted by Phil Zimmerman.

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 10-lap race behind winner Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

Feature race winner:  Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

 

September 6, 1912 – ½ mile dirt oval – McPherson County Fairgrounds at McPherson, Kansas – Sanctioned by the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM)

These races were promoted by Phil Zimmerman.

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 6-lap race behind winner Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

              Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 10-lap race behind winner Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.  Wilson actually passed Warner on the straightaways only to have Warner pass him back in the turns.

Feature race winner:  Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

 

September 21, 1912 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas

These races were promoted by Harry Taylor.

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson finished in 3rd place in the 1st 6-lap race behind winner Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle and Walter T. Cunningham of Wichita who was riding a Harley-Davidson.

              Wilson finished in 3rd place in the 2nd 6-lap race behind winner Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle and Walter T. Cunningham of Wichita who was riding a Harley-Davidson.

Feature race winner:  Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

 

October 12, 1912 – ½ mile dirt oval – Oakdale Park at Salina, Kansas

These races were promoted by Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas

Motorcycle:  Wilson’s own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson’s name does not appear in the published race results.

Feature race winner:  Leland “Kid” Young of Salina

 

October 29, 1912 – ½ mile dirt oval – Pratt County Fairgrounds at Pratt, Kansas – Sanctioned by the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM)

These races were promoted by Dr. Anthony of Pratt, Kansas.

Attendance:  2,500

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson ran the 3rd fastest 2-lap time trial of 1:19.0.  That was only slower than the time trials run by Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle and Roy Good of Coffeyville, Kansas.

              Wilson finished in 2nd place in several races run on this afternoon but just which races and how many races have yet to be learned.

Feature race winner:  Roy Good of Coffeyville, Kansas

 

By 1913, race promoters across Kansas had begun touting Max Wilson, now aged 31, as the oldest motorcycle racer in the Midwest.

 

July 4, 1913 – ½ mile dirt oval – Cowley County Fairgrounds on the west edge of Winfield, Kansas

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Attendance:  6,000

Finish:  Wilson finished in 4th place in the 1st 4-motorcycle, 10-lap heat race behind winner Roy Rinehart of Arkansas City, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle; Frank Mansfield of Arkansas City and also riding an Indian and Pete Hickerson of Winfield, Kansas who was riding an Indian as well.

  Wilson was credited with finishing in 4th place in the 2nd 4-motorcycle, 10-lap heat race behind winner Roy Rinehart of Arkansas City, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle; Frank Mansfield of Arkansas City and also riding an Indian and Pete Hickerson of Winfield, Kansas who was riding an Indian as well.  Wilson started last and passed leader Rinehart on the 5th lap of the race but he only held the position for a quarter of a lap before suffering engine trouble and dropping out of the race.

  Wilson was credited with finishing in 4th place in the 4-motorcycle, 20-lap “Free-for-All” race behind winner Roy Rinehart of Arkansas City, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle; Pete Hickerson of Winfield, Kansas who was also riding an Indian and Frank Mansfield of Arkansas City, Kansas who was riding an Indian as well.  While Mansfield did manage to finish the race, he only did so after twice crashing into the fence around the south curve of the racetrack and being thrown from his motorcycle.  Wilson did not actually finish this race due to engine trouble.  Rinehart received $37.50 from purse for the afternoon and Mansfield was paid a like amount for his.

Feature race winner:  Roy Rinehart of Arkansas City, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

 

November 27, 1913 – ½ mile dirt oval – Cowley County Fairgrounds on the west edge of Winfield, Kansas

Motorcycle:  Wilson entered his own Harley-Davidson single but wound up riding an Indian motorcycle for 145 laps of the 200-lap “Kansas State Championship” race.

Attendance: “large crowd”

Finish:  Wilson finished in 5th place in the 8-motorcycle, 200-lap “Kansas State Championship” race behind winner Lou Hoyt of Milan, Kansas who was riding a Harley-Davidson; Walter T. Cunningham of Danville, Kansas who was riding a Harley-Davidson; Elza C. Swigert of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Indian and Frank Mansfield of Arkansas City, Kansas who was also riding an Indian.

Feature race winner:  Lou Hoyt of Milan, Kansas who was riding a Harley-Davidson.

 

December 25, 1913 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kay County Fairgrounds northeast of Newkirk, Oklahoma

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Results of these races have yet to be located.

 

April 15, 1914 – ½ mile dirt oval – Anthony Downs on the northeast edge of Anthony, Kansas

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Attendance:  3,000

Finish:  Wilson started in 14th position in the 15 riders who started the 200-lap feature race but he did not finish in any of the 1st three positions, which were all of the results that have been currently been located.

Feature race winner:  Ed Roy of Wichita, Kansas who was riding a Thor.

 

June 6, 1914 – ½ mile dirt oval – Anthony Downs on the northeast edge of Anthony, Kansas

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson finished in 2nd place in the Australian Pursuit behind winner Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

              Wilson finished in 3rd place in the 10-lap feature race behind winner Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle and Ray Weishaar of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Excelsior.

Feature race winner:  Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas who was riding an Indian motorcycle.

 

June 13, 1914 – ½ mile dirt oval – Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas – Sanctioned by the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM)

This race was promoted by Walter T. Cunningham of Danville, Kansas

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Attendance:  700

Finish:  Wilson was running in 2nd place on the 130th lap of the 200-lap feature race when he was forced out of the event with a broken intake valve.  11 riders had started the race.

Feature race winner:  H. Swigert of Wichita, Kansas who was riding an Excelsior.

 

July 4, 1914 – ½ mile dirt oval – Cowley County Fairgrounds on the west edge of Winfield, Kansas

This race was promoted by Col. Carl L. Dees, Roy Rinehart and Roy Hume, all of Arkansas City, Kansas

Attendance:  900

Finish:  Wilson finished in 2nd place in the 200-lap, 7-motorcycle race in 2:10:00 which was 4 minutes behind winner Roy Rinehart of Arkansas City, Kansas.  Wilson had installed an extra gas tank on his Harley-Davidson so he could go the distance without stopping but that gas tank sprung a leak so that Wilson not only had to stop, but he also had to tear the added gas tank off his motorcycle as well.

Feature race winner:  Roy Rinehart of Arkansas City, Kansas.

 

July 19, 1914 – ½ mile dirt oval – El Dorado Fairgrounds at El Dorado, Kansas

Attendance: 700

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Finish:  Wilson’s name does not appear in the published results of these races.

Feature race winner:  Max Wilson of Wichita, Kansas who was driving his own Ford that he had built himself from Ford parts.

 

July 22, 1914 – ½ mile dirt oval – Ellsworth County Fairgrounds east of Ellsworth, Kansas – Sanctioned by the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM)

These races were promoted by Paul “Speck” Warner of Ellsworth, Kansas

Motorcycle:  His own Harley-Davidson single

Attendance:  800

Finish:  Wilson’s name does not appear in the published results of these races.

Feature race winner:  Ray Weishaar of Topeka, Kansas who was riding an Excelsior.

 

April 22, 1915 – 2.409 mile paved straightaways with dirt corners, road course – Carhart in Linwood Place in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Sanctioned by the American Automobile Association (AAA)

This race was promoted by C. R. “Dick” Carhart of Oklahoma City

Car:  Wilson entered his own Ford special 2-seat roadster that he had built himself during the last half of 1914 from $250 worth of Ford parts.

Purse:  $5,000

Finish:  These races were postponed until April 29, 1915 due to rain.

 

April 29, 1915 – 2.409 mile paved straightaways with high banked dirt corners, road course – Carhart in Linwood Place in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Sanctioned by the American Automobile Association (AAA)

This race was promoted by C. R. “Dick” Carhart of Oklahoma City

Car:  Wilson entered his own Ford special 2-seat roadster that he had built himself during the last half of 1914 from $250 worth of Ford parts.

Attendance:  14,000

Purse:  $5,000

Finish:  Wilson’s name does not appear in the published race results.

Feature race winner:  Bob Burman of Jackson, Michigan who was driving a Peugeot

 

June, 1915 – ½ mile dirt oval – Griswold a.k.a. South Riverside at the west edge of South Riverside Park in Wichita, Kansas

These races were promoted by Max Wilson, W. W. “Billie” Hedrick and George T. Walker who were all from Wichita, Kansas

Car:  Wilson entered his own Ford special 2-seat roadster that he had built himself during the last half of 1914 from $250 worth of Ford parts.

Purse:  $50 with Wilson and George T. Walker to each put up half.  When the race had to be postponed, the purse was doubled.

Finish:  Wilson challenged W. W. “Billie” Hedrick of Wichita, Kansas who was driving a 1910 Model 10 Buick owned by George T. Walker who was also from Wichita, to a best 2-out-of-3, 2-car, 6-lap match race.  Hedrick and Walker accepted the challenge so Wilson applied to the Wichita city commission for permission to use the racetrack.  That permission was denied so the best 2-out-of-3 series of races was postponed until June 20, 1915 and moved to the El Dorado Fairgrounds at El Dorado, Kansas.

 

June 20, 1915 – ½ mile dirt oval – El Dorado Fairgrounds at El Dorado, Kansas

These races were promoted by Wilbur A. Beaumont of El Dorado, Kansas

Car:  Wilson entered his own Ford special 2-seat roadster that he had built himself during the last half of 1914 from $250 worth of Ford parts.

Attendance: “several hundred”

Finish:  Wilson ran the 3rd fastest 2-lap time trial which was only slower than the time trials run by Harold Peterson of Wichita, Kansas who was driving a 24-H.P. Buick and W. W. “Billie” Hedrick who was also from Wichita and who was driving a 1910 Model 10 Buick owned by George T. Walker who was also from Wichita.  Walker’s 1910 Model 10 Buick was named “Hellen Blazes”.

              Wilson was defeated by W. W. “Billie” Hedrick of Wichita, Kansas who was driving a 1910 Model 10 Buick owned by George T. Walker who was also from Wichita, in the best 2-out-of-3, 2-car, 6-lap match races.

  Wilson finished 3rd in the 6-lap, 4-car “Free-for-All” race behind winner W. W. “Billie” Hedrick of Wichita, Kansas who was driving a 1910 Model 10 Buick owned by George T. Walker who was also from Wichita, and Harold Peterson of Wichita, Kansas who was driving a 24-H.P. Buick.

  Wilson won the 10-lap, 3-car feature race in 7:18.0, followed by W. W. “Billie” Hedrick of Wichita, Kansas who was driving a Model 10 Buick owned by George T. Walker who was also from Wichita; and Harold Peterson of Wichita, Kansas who was driving a 24-H.P. Buick.

Feature race winner:  Max Wilson of Wichita, Kansas who was driving his own Ford that he had built himself from Ford parts.

 

 

Max Wilson seated in his Wilson special Ford

The Wichita Daily Eagle

Wichita, Kansas

October 12, 1915 – page 7

 

September 5, 1915 – ½ mile dirt oval – El Dorado Fairgrounds at El Dorado, Kansas

These races were promoted by M. J. Main

Car:  Wilson entered his own Ford special 2-seat roadster that he had built himself during the last half of 1914 from $250 worth of Ford parts.

Attendance:  500

Purse:  $400

Finish:  Wilson won the 24-lap Australian Pursuit over Charlie Shaffstall of Coffeyville, Kansas who drove a Studebaker special to a 2nd place finish.

              Wilson won the 20-lap race in 12:16.0 with L. O. Gribble of Marion, Kansas who finished in 2nd place driving a National.

Feature race winner:  Max Wilson of Wichita, Kansas who was driving his own Ford that he had built himself from Ford parts.

 

October 14, 1915 – 1½ mile dirt oval – Speedway Park at Wichita, Kansas

These races were promoted by Tom Hurst of Wichita, Kansas

Car:  His own Wilson special Ford roadster

Attendance:  14,125

Finish:  Wilson finished in 4th place in the 7-lap K.O.M. Classic auto race behind winner William “Candy” Cunningham of Fredonia, Kansas who was driving the Yellow Kid Ford; Herbert LeRoy “Roy” Gillett of Fredonia, Kansas who was driving the Wampus Cat Ford and William Ernest “Ernie” Crum of Wichita, Kansas who was driving a Buick.  7 cars were scheduled to start this race but only 5 were able to actually start the race.

Feature race winner:  William “Candy” Cunningham of Fredonia, Kansas who was driving the Yellow Kid Ford.

 

October 21, 1915 – ½ mile dirt oval – El Dorado Fairgrounds at El Dorado, Kansas

Car:  Wilson entered his own Ford special 2-seat roadster that he had built himself during the last half of 1914 from $250 worth of Ford parts.

Finish:  The crowd was so small that the promoter reduced the “guaranteed" $600 advertised purse.  At first, the drivers refused to race for the reduced purse but that upset the spectators so the drivers agreed to run one race for the reduced purse.  Results of that one race have yet to be located.

 

May 25, 1916 – ½ mile dirt oval – 9-mile unnamed road course at Alva, Oklahoma

Attendance: “the largest crowd ever assembled in Alva”

Car:  4-cylinder Buick

Finish:  Wilson was credited with finishing in 3rd place after he broke a spring in the 3-car, 100-mile race behind winner H. A. Noah of Alva, Oklahoma who was driving a 4-cylinder Studebaker and William Halbert “Hal” Kruegel of Pond Creek, Oklahoma who was driving a Ford.

Feature race winner:  H. A. Noah of Alva, Oklahoma who was driving a 4-cylinder Studebaker.

 

May 26, 1916 – ½ mile dirt oval – 9-mile unnamed road course at Alva, Oklahoma

Car:  4-cylinder Buick

Finish:  Wilson was credited with finishing in 4th place in the 6-car, 150-mile “Free-for-All” race after he dropped out of the race on the 15th lap.  Those finishing ahead of Wilson were winner R. A. Pittman of Woodward, Oklahoma who was driving a “light 6” Buick and finished the race in 2:59.32 to collect $400 from the purse; Jake Struckler of Enid, Oklahoma who was also driving a Buick “light 6” and William Halbert “Hal” Kruegel of Pond Creek, Oklahoma who was driving a Ford.

Feature race winner:  R. A. Pittman of Woodward, Oklahoma who was driving a “light 6” Buick.

 

May 31, 1916 – ½ mile oiled dirt oval Stock Pavilion 1-mile east of Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma

Attendance:  1,000

Car:  4-cylinder Buick

Finish:  Wilson was leading the 4-car feature race and hugging the inside rail when he lost a wheel forcing him to swerve dramatically before pulling off of the racetrack and dropping out of the race leaving the victory to Kruegel.  Jake Struckler of Enid, Oklahoma who was driving a Buick “light 6”, was slightly injured when he swerved to miss Wilson’s car, ran off of the racetrack and over an embankment.

Feature race winner:  William Halbert “Hal” Kruegel of Pond Creek, Oklahoma who was driving a Ford.

 

April 5, 1919 – ½ mile oiled dirt oval – Stock Pavilion 1-mile east of Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma

These races were promoted by Jake Strickler of Enid, Oklahoma

Car:  Chevrolet Scat

Attendance:  4,000

Finish:  Wilson ran the 5th fastest 2-lap time trial of 1:35.0 which was only slower than the time trials run by Jake Strickler of Enid who was driving a Hudson “Super Six”; Glenn Breed of Dallas, Texas who was driving a Hudson “Super Six” #1; Leo Rice of Ardmore, Oklahoma who was driving a Dodge special and Johnny Mais who was driving his own Mercer #24 he had named “The Texan”.

  Wilson finished in 2nd place behind winner Johnny Mais who was driving his own Mercer #24 he had named “The Texan”, in the 5-car, 10-lap race for “light cars”.  Wilson won $25 from the purse for his 2nd place finish.

            Wilson was seriously injured as the cars entered the 1st turn of the 30-lap feature race.  He suffered a broken collar bone, 3 broken ribs, a wound to the forehead and internal injuries as a result of the smashup.  His Chevrolet Scat was struck from the rear by a Chalmers being driven by Ray Rice of Enid.  The collision caused Wilson’s Chevrolet Scat to be boosted up into the air before it overturned throwing Wilson over the windshield and to the ground 10 to 12 feet from the racetrack.  The Chevrolet Scat “was a total wreck having the radiator broken, the front wheels completely demolished and the steering gear a mass of splinters and twisted iron.  Wilson was rushed to the Enid Springs Sanitarium after the accident.”  A collection was taken for Wilson among both the drivers and the crowd and $191.40 was raised for the injured driver and his wife.

Feature race winner:  Glenn Breed of Fredonia, Kansas who was driving his own Hudson “Super-Six” #1.

 

April 6, 1919 – ½ mile oiled dirt oval Stock Pavilion 1-mile east of Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma

These races were promoted by Jake Strickler of Enid, Oklahoma

Car:  Chevrolet Scat.

Finish:  Wilson and Glenn Breed of Fredonia, Kansas had previously arranged to run a 2-car match race on this afternoon but that race was canceled due to Wilson’s injuries and to his Chevrolet Scat being destroyed in the accident.

            Feature race winner: Leo Rice of Ardmore, Oklahoma who was driving a Dodge special.

 

 

After World War I, Wilson founded a company to build miniature live steam locomotives and, by the early 1930s, Wilson was not only known as an auto mechanic but also as an expert machinist and miniature train builder.  He helped Herbert J. “Herb” Ottaway (1912-2004) built his first miniature live steam locomotive in the early 1930s.  Ottaway toured the Midwest with that train for a few years and found it to be so popular that he decided to build a permanent home for it.  That permanent home became the Joyland Amusement Park in Wichita.

 

Wilson eventually sold his Max Wilson Miniature Railroad Company to Ottaway and the business went on to build a total of 89 miniature trains.

 

Max and May Wilson divorced in the summer of 1916 and Max moved to Garden Plain, Kansas where he went to work as a mechanic at the Wulf Brothers Auto Company.  He also put his auto racing on hold during this time.  The couple remarried in 1919 and moved back to their home at 1903 East First Street in Wichita.  In place of the time that had been spent racing, the couple now took several camping trips throughout the western United States.

 

Max Wilson had lived in the Wichita area his entire life, passing away there on March 19, 1934.  He was buried beside his infant daughter, Evelyn Wilson, in Maple Grove Cemetery in Wichita.  His wife passed away 15-years later and is buried beside them.

 

If you know anything more about Maximus Loyd “Max” Wilson and his involvement in motor racing, please contact Bob Lawrence at:  sprintguy @ cox.net

 

 

 

 Autograph signed in 1918

 

 

 

 

This photo was taken on April 17, 1896 at 111 East Douglas Avenue in downtown Wichita, Kansas

Alva Wilson’s Auto, Model 1896

     Crowds who visit the Wichita Auto show this week at the Forum will scarcely be able to believe that it was only in the spring of 1896 when the first horseless carriage on the streets of Wichita appeared.  This vehicle looked about as much like Col. Amidon’s 1913 touring car as the little eohippus looked like John R. Gentry.  Nevertheless, it was a six-passenger car and attracted a flurry of excitement as may be judged by the photograph taken in front of the old Eagle office on Douglas Avenue.  This machine was built and owned by Alva Wilson, a Westside blacksmith.  His son, Max Wilson, who now runs a motorcycle shop in Wichita, was the driver.  Alva Wilson, the builder, stands at the entrance of the car in the picture and his son, Max, is driving.  Dave Leahy, then city editor of the Eagle, stands in front of the bulletin board.  Many of his friends at the Eagle office claim he still wears the same cap at the present time, when he has a particular hard job of deputy marshaling to do.  At the rear of this ancient machine was the engineer’s platform.  He fired the twin cylinder, 14-horsepower engine with peanut coal from a bin carrying 500 pounds of fuel.  A water tank, with a capacity of 25 gallons, was also part of the machine.  The machine is said to have run for ten hours at the rate of 15 miles-an-hour on 25¢ worth of peanut coal.  There was no reverse on the machine and it could go only straight ahead.  It weighed 2,300 pounds.

     Charles Payne, the well-known dealer in wild animals, bought the machine and used it to haul animals in.  It was such a good car for that, that Mr. Payne wore it out hauling them.

 

The Wichita Daily Eagle

Wichita, Kansas

March 11, 1913 – page 1

 

 

 

The Wichita Beacon

Wichita, Kansas

June 19, 1915 – page 12

 

This very poor-quality, posed publicity photo was taken on the ½ mile racetrack at the El Dorado Fairgrounds at El Dorado, Kansas in June of 1915.  It shows Billie Headrick at left in the 1910 Model 10 Buick race car owned by George T. Walker and known as “Hellen Blazes”.  On the right is Max Wilson in his own stripped-down Wilson special Ford.  All three men were from Wichita, Kansas.  These were the two competitors in the best 2-out-of-3 challenge match race.

 

Comments by Verne Shirk after seeing the photo above:

“The Buick, well yes, it does resemble a Buick.  The chassis appears to be Buick.  They had a tube front axle with a dip in it and springs oriented that way.  But, Wilson's car...I think in your write-up you said he constructed it from parts.  Well, the frame is not Model T.  The car that would have used that frame would have sat pretty low, like an American Underslung...but that isn't it.  Their springs were on top of the frame.  (I've heard that American Underslung got the idea for lowering the car like that by seeing frames turned up-side-down at the factory.)  What is unusual about the frame in the photo is that is is "dipped" on both ends of the car.  I have seen that on a car but can't think at this time who used that.  I will check with a friend of mine to see if he knows.  The Buick Model 10 was the small 4-cyl. of the line-up.  It would have been rated about the same H.P. as a Model T (actually, they claimed a little more...like maybe 22 or 23 H.P. and I believe them).  The Model T was 20 H.P.  Of course, the stock T would have been a flathead and the Buick was an OHV.  It would be interesting to know what parts he used on the Model T.  The OHV craze for the Model T was yet to come.  The real early (1909-10?) T heads were a higher compression.  The 1911-1918? were a lower compression and the 1919-1927? were even lower compression.  The 1909-10 heads are hard to find now.  Another thing I wonder is about the steering column on the Model T.  The 1910-11 Model T Torpedo body styles used a long steering column.  The one in the photo looks to be a long one.  Boy, I'd like to find that car now!!!  What a survivor that would be!

Verne Shirk, Editor of the “Spark Plug”

Wichita Regional Newsletter

National Horseless Carriage Club of America

 

 

One of the miniature live steam locomotives built by Max Wilson in 1931

Bill Jackson collection 

 

 

 

 

 

Max, wife Edna and daughter Evelyn Wilson’s tombstone in the Maple Grove Cemetery in Wichita, Kansas.

Bob Lawrence photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thank You:

Verne Shirk