M.L. “Curley” Fredericks came into prominence in 1921 riding Indian motorcycles in Class A (factory) competition on dirt tracks and riding the motordrome boards across the country. In those early years as a factory rider for Indian the Denver, Coloradan proved his capabilities, winning several championships in the 61-cubic-inch class.
Fredericks came into his own in 1926. On July 9 at the Altoona, Penn., board track he set a record on board a new factory Indian competition motorcycle with a special 61-cubic-inch, side-valve motor by posting 114 mph during the time trials. Because of this feat, the engine Indian developed was designated the “Altoona” motor.
The following month on Aug. 21, Fredericks again established a new record for board tracks at the 1¼-mile Rockingham track in Salem, N.H., by flying through the timed speed traps at 120.3 mph during a special run at an intermission. This was the fastest speed ever to be attained on a circular wooden track, never to be bested.
Fredericks also won the 10-mile National Championship title on a 30.50 Indian single at this event. He once again established a new AMA record for the 5-mile Championship at Rockingham on September 18, posting a speed of 114.1 mph, and winning the 61-cubic-inch National Championship.
On Aug. 4, 1928, Fredericks won the 61-cubic-inch National Championship on a new Indian 45-cubic-inch motor, setting a new record for this 25-mile event. This eventful race was the last time a wooden motordrome would ever be used for motorcycle competition.
Fredericks was a board-track specialist, and continued to compete on 45-cubic-inch Indians on dirt tracks into 1929.
Fredericks was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.