CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY

MOTORCYCLE POLO:
The Camden Motorcycle Sporting Club
1928-1931

The Camden Motorcycle Sporting Club
William Raube, 7th player from left, on motorcycle

Motorcycles arrived in Camden about the same time automobiles did, and were quite popular. By 1919 there were dealerships in the city. In the 1910s William Heckenhorn operated a Harley-Davidson dealership at 1246 Haddon Avenue. One of his employees was Frank DeViney, who in 1923 opened a Harley dealership of his own, the successor to William Heckenhorn's operation.  DeViney located his shop at 1124-1126 Kaighn Avenue, where he had a sales, parts, and service operation. He sold motorcycles to the general public and to local police departments.

One of DeViney's first acts upon opening his business was to found the Camden Motorcycle Sporting Club, which engaged in touring, racing, and hill-climbing events throughout South Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. The club also fielded a team in the Eastern Motorpolo League, which competed in the sport of motorcycle polo, also known as motoball.

Considering the helmet technology of the late 1920s and early 1930s could not have been all that hot, it seems amazing that such a sport would be able to retain healthy riders, let alone become popular or attract a fan base, but it apparently did for a few years. Besides the Camden club, the league featured teams from Millville, Atlantic City, Trenton, Metuchen, Jamesburg, Philadelphia and Reading PA. There was another Camden team also, known as the Red Hearts.

Besides DeViney, the Camden Motorcycle Sporting Club's team included Bill Gommel, Walter Norris, William Raube, Bruce Saunders, Lou Ellis, Charley Ellis, Clayton Albertson, Freddy Gagliardi, Walt Norris, C. Wentzel, Freddie Gomba, and men only known by their last names: Altesleben, Falone, Lombardo, Garriardi, Sherttuck, Oilinger, L. Lewis, and Ostrow.  

While motorcycle polo basically died out in these parts, the sport has remained popular in Europe, and is played to this day.

Left to right: Bill Gommel, Frank DeViney, unknown, unknown
Photo dates most likely from 1928-1931

Camden
Courier-Post

1928

Camden
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April 7, 1929

Camden Courier-Post - May 29, 1929

....continued....
ABOUT THE GAME

Camden
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June 8, 1929

Camden Courier-Post * June 30, 1929

Camden Courier-Post * August 1929

Camden
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October 6, 1929

Camden Courier-Post * October 7, 1929

Camden Courier-Post * October 21, 1929

Camden Courier-Post * December 2, 1929

Camden Courier-Post
April 5, 1930 April 6, 1930
April 7, 1930
April 14, 1930
April 21, 1930
April 28, 1930 April 28, 1930
May 5, 1930
May 12, 1930
May 26, 1930
June 2, 1930
June 4, 1930  
July 4, 1930
November 17, 1930

Camden
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May 25, 1931

Camden Courier-Post * June 27, 1931
Camden Courier-Post * June 29, 1931

Camden
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October 31 1931

Camden Courier-Post - June 3, 1933

CAMDEN POLOISTS MEET TRENTON AT RUNNEMEDE

Camden Tigers motorcycle polo team will meet the strong Trenton outfit, 1930, 31 and 32 champions of the Eastern Polo League, Sunday afternoon, at the Runnemede field. The Tigers will have to do some fast, hard riding. 

The Lineups:

Camden Tigers   Trenton
F. Gag1iardi center J. Darling
Alteslaben rear guard Fulmer
Ostrow left guard Latony
Falone forward McPherson
Lombard goal J.E. Brown

Camden
Courier-Post

May 3, 1934

While the sport of motorcycle polo passed from public popularity, motorcycles and the Harley-Davidson obviously have not. Frank DeViney remained in business on Kaighn Avenue into the mid-1930s. By 1947 he had moived from Camden, eventually settling in Forked River NJ.

Motorcycle Polo Today

While Motorcycle Polo passed from public fancy in the United States, it has a strong following in Europe, especially in Germany. Kenny Houben from the Netherlands wrote the following description of the game in Europe, which is known as Motoball.

Motoball

What is Motoball? Motoball is, like the name says, playing football [soccer] on motorcycles. The bikes can have maximum 250cc and they need some assimilation like being closer to the ground etc. The ball is 45 cm across. The rules are fundamentally the same like in a soccer game. A team exists of 4 players on motorcycles and one pedestrian [dismounted] goalkeeper. This sport is quite popular in the East European countries like Belarus, Russia etc. Every summer we have a European Championship. The countries who take place [part] are Germany, Holland, France, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and Lithuania.  

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