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Today in Motorcycle History

The Grosskreutz

A former sugar cane worker from Prosperine, Queensland, the late Max Grosskreutz, pictured (right) during a meeting with Steve Magro back in 1992. Max first gave a hint of things to come back in 1934, when he inspired an Australian Test victory over England. The Belle Vue star had ridden a machine of his own design built from pieces discarded by fellow riders - the prototype of the now famous Grosskreutz frames. For interest, this machine was nicknamed the "Pinto", though I'm not sure why.

Later, in 1936, Bluey Wilkinson won all of his races during the World final mounted on one of Max's frames, and as a result, the orders poured in. It was also to become the frame that other builders used as a "Blueprint" for their own designs.

Such was the demand, that the job of building these machines was handed over to the famous, Birmingham based, Excelsior Motorcycle Company. The first thirty in stock were soon bought up by such riders as Bert Spencer, Ray Duggan, Ernie Price, Oliver Langton and George Saunders.

Much as the engine had become standardised with the arrival of the Rudge and then the JAP, so it was that the Grosskreutz frame brought about the standard design of frames to follow.

Sadly, Max died in 1994, a legend in the History of the Speedway Machine.

Going back to the start of this story and the mention of Steve Magro's conversation Max, we can now reveal further details from it and what was said when Steve put the question to Max of the "Pinto" myth, it went as follows:

Max smiled as he recalled his success, It was easy, because the bike was that much lighter, I'd be out of the gate and gone. They used to come around for a look, but they couldn't work it out!Many riders began to spend time and money experimenting, trying to build a 'flier'. Some offered Max substantial sums of money for his secret. So what was it?

My engine was put back in the centre. They were all forward, that was their problem. Praggie (Lionel Van Praag) was the only one who changed, he used a (Pea)Shooter frame and he was faster and Jack Milne (destined to be America's first World Champion) rode with a Wallace frame.

Many writings of the past tell of a bike called the "Pinto". In fact there was no such bike. Said Max, I don't know who made that up. Surely it was a matter of time before the competition caught on, but not so. They didn't wake up for a long time. I had them to myself for about three years, the special pistons and the light bikes. They started to catch up when I sold my bike to Bluey (Wilkinson).

They started to get better bikes, but not really, not for quite a while. It wasn't until after the War that they started to wake up.

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