AJS Motorcycle Ice Racing

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During the early 1950s, The Bower City Riders motorcycle club of Janesville, Wis., sponsored ice races at Grass Lake near Milton, Wis., about 10 miles north of Janesville. Most Sundays would see as many as 50 riders showing up. The temperatures in southern Wisconsin at this time of the year were anywhere from 20F to -20F, often with high humidity and bone-chilling wind.

This photo was taken in the winter of 1952-53 and shows Fred Middleton from Madison, Wis., all crossed up in typical ice racing fashion. It was pretty tricky to keep from spinning out and Middleton was one of the more successful riders.

In the spring the third wheel came off and Fred competed in scrambles and observed trials with his AJS single. It wasn’t as exciting as solo bikes with studded tires, but it required a lot of skill and patience.