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The same photo, cropped, is seen below in a July 12, 1917 issue of the Motorcycle and Bicycle Illustrated magazine.
In the first photo, the motorcyclists are posed in front of the New Hotel Weirs on Lakeside Avenue, which burned down on November 9, 1924.
A “secret” brake test would be conducted by a race official “…secreted in the bushes and with him was a green flag.
As a rider would come up to this point, the official would wave the green flag, which was the signal for the rider to down brakes and come to a stop…Quite a few contestants succeeded in fulfilling all of the conditions of this test, although some of them failed because they had but one idea and that was to get to the next checkpoint as soon as possible……after a time some of the country boys got wise to the situation, and in the goodness of their hearts backed down the road a bit and notifed each approaching rider that there was danger ahead in the person of the official and his green flag…the result was that the official had to give it up at this point and try the secret brake test elsewhere..”Typically, the “survivors”, those who were able to complete the endurance run, received bronze medals; riders with high, but not perfect scores, received silver medals; while the riders achieving perfect scores received gold medals.
With the typically absurdly low speed limits in effect at the time (20mph country and 10mph city) these runs could last for over a week!
Clearly it was not just a race, but a skills challenge, with not only riding skills but maintenance skills involved as well!
This particular flag came from a 40-mile rally from Greenfield, Indiana to Greensburg, Indiana, on the historic Indiana National Road.
Given the poor road conditions and general unreliability of motorycles at the time, this was clearly not an easy task! The men have to pass certain points at a given time, and not before that time.