Friday, November 2, 2007

Why the 'Walker Racer' Is Not Named the 'Lawson Racer'


When we were looking at names for bars last year, we began looking at names the Torrington company had used. 'Lawson' and 'Kramer' were names we were looking at. Upon further research into the names, we found out the two were contemporaries of Major Taylor. Andrew Ritchie's biography 'Major Taylor' painted talented American racers, Iver Lawson and Frank Kramer as the bitterest of rivals to Major Taylor. Supposedly there was a time Kramer, Lawson, and a third racer named McFarland tried going after him after a race. So you can see how we could not have a bar named 'Lawson Racer' in the same stable as a bar named 'Major Taylor'.

Major Taylor gave racing in Australia a try because it gave him a break from his American rivals and being a deeply religious man, he didn't want to race on Sundays. Australia didn't have races on Sundays. Don Walker, an Australian champion, also a Christian, hit it off with Taylor. What struck us at Soma was Walker's strong disgust for the racist sentiment in America at that time. In order to get served in a restaurant in San Francisco, Walker went into a restaurant where Taylor and his wife had already been refused service and ordered lunch for three, saying that his companions would be coming shortly. The food came. He paid the bill...then he brought the Taylors in. Great story. That's why our last track bar is named the 'Walker Racer.'
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