Motorcycle Lawyer: Many people knew Samantha Morgan as the Motordrome Queen but she was much more than a Motordrome Legend. Samantha Morgan also conquered the Bonneville Salt Flats, was inducted into the Sturgis Museum Motorcycle Hall of Fame and raced her way into history, paving the way for many of the women riding today.
How many men or women can say the Wall of Death is their home?
While the Wall of Death sounds like something out of a horror film, to Samantha Morgan it was the best thing she’d ever been a part of. This 30 foot movable circle, known as a motordrome, allowed her to defy the laws of gravity and put on a motorcycle stunt show so amazing it left even veteran bikers speechless. As Morgan rode circles around the drome, her bike would go faster and faster until it literally cling to the walls and rode upside down. In fact, the G forces are so great, that it was impossible for her to wear a helmet while riding. As one of the few women motorcyclists who rode in a motordrome, she performed in the Wall of Death for years, sometimes 13 times a day!
The History of Motordromes
Motordromes have been around since the 20’s, and were a part of numerous carnival acts. In the 60’s, some riders began to up the excitement and lions were added to the motordromes. As motorcyclists raced around, these ravenous lions would swat and paw at the riders, creating a tense and breathtaking show. Yet accidents have caused most of the motordromes to be closed down. Now, motordromes are almost extinct; there are only three left in the United States and maybe a little over a dozen overseas.
Sam Morgan Motordrome Legend
She got her auspicious start at the young age of 15. After bouncing around in foster homes and living homeless as a runaway at age 11, she met the great Sonny Pelaquin who performed in his amazing Wall of Death show. She quickly picked up the motorcycle tricks and began riding as one of the few women riders to ride the dangerous 90 degree walls..
Yet it wasn’t always one fun ride; there were numerous accidents that left her with horrific injuries. In 1992, Morgan hit the floor in France and broke her pelvis, back, knee, shoulder, ribs, and sternum.
She was overseas recovering for 4 months before she was able to fly back to the states but came back with her winning attitude and the ability to speak French. That was Samantha. In 1998, she again fell during a ride and had metal rods and pins inserted into her broken back. Despite all of the injuries and accidents, Morgan continued to ride and perform and was inducted into the Sturgis Hall of Fame in 2006.
“I only ride when there’s an audience that way I never get hurt for nothing.” Samantha Morgan
Sadly, Sam Morgan died on April 24, 2008 from complications arising from her many injuries. She was 53 years old and a pioneer in women’s motordrome riding and in motorcycling as a whole. She was and always will be the Queen of Motordrome and an inspiration to both men and women of the motorcycling world. We are forever grateful and you definitely did not get hurt for nothing.
Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® will be honoring Women of Motorcycling this summer at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip, Wednesday August 8. BAM members can win tickets to the Sturigis Buffalo Chip and to the Top Shelf Suite for the special celebration and have the best views of the concert. BAM, Free Breakdown and Legal Assistance for Motorcyclists is a volunteer program of riders willing to help out fellow riders. Join the team and enter the contest. For more details check Russ Brown Attorney BAM page.
Motorcycle Lawyer Russ Brown, Chuck Koro and Jim Romag look forward to seeing old and new BAM members in Sturgis.