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January 1, 2024

Ethel Purtle Performing at the “Wall of Death” With Her Lion King by Her Side

Today, Motordrome, circular board racing tracks to put the popularity, speed, and power of motorcycles on the map, are nearly extinct. Already putting their lives on the line, some stunt riders in the 1930s upped the ante, adding an additional element of thrill with living, breathing, lions! They called it the “Race For Life,” as these lions were deliberately released to charge after speeding bikes, trying to tackle them and swat at them with their massive paws as if they were prey.

If that wasn’t enough, some riders trained lions to sit in specially built sidecars during their races. These guys were going about 80 miles per hour around an almost perpendicular wall with these big cats by their side! Here, along with her lion King, Ethel Purtle would race around a specially made track doing gravity-defying stunts like the “Wall of Death.”


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