Charles Basle

Charles Basle

8/1/1885 - 4/2/1962

Raced a Buick in the first Indy 500 in 1911. Retired after 46 laps with a broken crankshaft.

Charles Basle was born in Paris but moved to America. He raced a wide variety of cars during his career that started in 1904. That year he won a ten mile race on the 1 mile dirt oval at Narragansset Park, RI.

In May 1905 at the inauguaral event on the 1.39 mile dirt Morris Park oval in the Bronx, New York, Louis Chevrolet drove a Fiat to fastest time in a 1 mile time trial and also won a 3 lap "Free for All" event, while Charles Basle drove the Flying Dutchman I Mercedes to victory in the 5 mile race.

He qualified for the Vanderbuilt races in the Mercedes but as his tools, which should have been manufactured in the same country as the car, were not German and he was disqualified. He held many records for flying starts and the fastest 10 mile record in Providence, Rhode Island.

In June 1906 he won a 10 mile match race driving his Mercedes against Frank Durbin in his Stanley Steamer on the 1 mile dirt oval at Hyde Park, MA.

In 1908 he competed in a number of hill climbs, taking a 3rd and a 5th on the Dead Horse Hill, Worcester, MA. He won the Formula Libre class in the hillclimb held at Wilbrabham Hill, Springfield, MA. driving a Knox. In October, he also competed in the 24 Hour race at the Brighton Beach 1 mile dirt oval. Driving a Renault with Louis Strang they retired with a broken con-rod.

He raced a Renaults in 1909. ‘Agatha’, as this car was know, was one of the 1907 Vanderbilt Cup cars. With it he won the Brighton Beach 24-hour race, driving with Raffalovitch at an average speed of 43.75mph. He finished 5th in the Lowell Trophy Race and 3rd in the 200 mile race in Cheyenne. Then in November he took part in a series of races in Atlanta coming third twice and finishing fourth twice.

He won the 24 hour race at the Brighton Beach 1 mile dirt oval again on 14th May 1910 driving a Simplex. He covered 1,145 miles in the 24 hour period. Sadly during the race, William Bradley, a riding mechanic was killed. Bradley was riding with Louis Strang, who Basle had driven with in this race two years earlier. At the time, Hubert Anderson was driving relief for Strang. Anderson was not injured in the crash and, in a move that seems unthinkable today, Strang repaired the vehicle and returned to the race about an hour later.

In August he entered the Elgin National Trophy driving a Matheson but failed to finish when a wheel broke. On September 3rd 1910 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Racing he drove a Matheson in the 100 mile race but was flagged. He was then flagged in the 50 mile race two days later. ater the same day he retired at half didtance in the 200 mile race. finished 4th in the 5-mile Race for cars with stock chassis and engines.

Raced in the first Indy 500 in 1911. He qualifed 15th in his BUick but retired after 46 laps with a broken crankshaft. His brother Maurice also raced and sometimes rode as his mechanic. Maurice was killed in June when he crashed driving an Abbott-Detroit at Hawthorne. Charles quit racing at the end of the year and became a garage owner. He died in 1962 in Los Angeles, California.


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