The Wall of Death Brings Motorcycle Thrills & Spills

Mauth Ka Kuan (well of death)
photo by Lakshman

When I stared dating my husband Kevin, he had a Harley Davidson Road King. After his divorce, he had started riding with his brother Mark, who is still a motorcycle aficionado. One of the things that they enjoyed doing together was attending road rallies around the country. They went to Sturgis, the Republic of Texas Rally in Austin, and who knows how many others. Of course they saw plenty of things that would border on NSFW while attending, but there is one thing that really made an impression: at the 2005 Austin ROT Rally, Kev saw a show called the “Wall of Death” put on by stuntman “Rhett Rotten”. It went something like this video …

While surfing today, he found an article about Mauth Ka Kuan, or India’s Well of Death. The video included was like nothing I have ever seen …

Centrifugal force is an amazing thing, but how are people able to do this without dying?

Oh, wait …

With spectators looking down onto the track from bleachers at the top of the boards, any loss of control in the turns could quickly turn disastrous: centrifugal force would easily send both the rider and his machine over the top of the track and slamming into the crowd.

On September 8, 1912, Eddie Hasha lost control of his Indian while doing 92 mph. at the New Jersey Motordrome near Atlantic City. The bike rode the rail for some 100 feet, decapitating a young boy who had put his head over the rail to watch the race; it then struck a post, throwing Hasha into the grandstands and killing him instantly along with four other bystanders. The Indian fell back on the track killing another rider, Johnny Albright. Several people had broken bones and flesh wounds as they trampled each other to get out of the carnage. A front page story in the New York Times dubbed the races “murderdromes”.    ~from The Wall of Death: A History of the Motordrome and Silodrome

The Wall of Death looks like one of those things you have to see to believe. I’d like to witness a live show, but it almost seems like one of those things that you’d watch through slit fingers … waiting for the wreck, but feeling thrilled just to be there.

Flesh & Relics: The Wall of Death: A History of the Motordrome and Silodrome

Samantha Morgan: Crash and Learn at the Wall of Death

Mauth Ka Kuan – India’s Well of Death

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.

2 Comments on "The Wall of Death Brings Motorcycle Thrills & Spills"

  1. Daniel Mendolia | December 2, 2011 at 9:08 pm |

    Hey Judie,

    Great article, very crazy stuff

  2. I was surprised to learn of the history behind the event, and the Flesh & Relics article was really impressive in that regard. It was also surprising to see the number of women who had been involved in this sport/stunt. I like learning about new “stuff”, and this definitely broadened my knowledge. =)

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