Racer Freddie Fretwell and his Harley Riding Monkey

Chances are, you’ve probably seen the above picture before, but you may not have known some of the interesting facts about #8.  His name is Fred “Freddie” Fretwell and the picture was taken after he won both the 10-mile and 3-mile races at the Arlington, VA race track on July 29th, 1922.  The Washington Post, covered the event – copy of that text below.  What is more interesting is the second Washington Post article written seven years later.
Apparently, Fretwell had a pet monkey which used to ride to work with him on his motorcycle.  As is often the case with pets, it got loose and began wreaking havoc around town, which is the subject of the second article.  Still, it must have been a sight-seeing Fretwell riding around Washington DC with a monkey on the back of his motorcycle…
Washington Post, July 30, 1922

Fretwell Double Winner in Motor Cycle Events
The bicycle, motorcycle and automobile racing program staged by the Costello post yesterday afternoon attracted about three thousand people to the Arlington race track. Those who journeyed to Virginia side of the Potomac witnessed some fine racing as well as an excellent exhibition cavalry drill put on by Troop B of the Third U.S. Calvary from Fort Myer. The Fort Myer band was also on hand to enliven things during the progress of the program. The day’s card opened with a half-mile bicycle race for the D.C. championship. V. Messineo covered the dirt course in 1 minute and 19 seconds. Daly and Nigoria crossed the line second and third, respectively, while the rest of the field was closely bunched.
The first motorcycle race, a three-mile novice event, went to R. Bean riding an Indian. He covered the course at an average of 44.77 miles per hour, his time for the event being 4 minutes and 43 seconds. Charles Crawford and B. Frazier finished second and third, respectively. Both riders rode Indians.The 10-mile motorcycle race featured the day’s program. F. Fretwell, riding a Harley-Davidson, had no trouble out classing the rest of the field. He finished a full lap ahead of R. Dean, mounted on an Indian, who in turn was two laps ahead of the other entrants. Charles Crawford, also riding an Indian, finished a poor third. Fretwell covered the 10 miles in 12 minutes 37 seconds.The 3-mile race for the D.C. Championship was won by F. Fretwell and his Harley Davidson. Fretwell toyed with the other two entrants in this race, making the distance in 4 ½ minutes. Cy Fendall and Charles Crawford, both mounted on Indian machines, finished second and third.In the sidecar event there were but two entrants. Both machines were of the Harley-Davidson make. Speed Connors with Kellar as a passenger did the distance in 6 minutes, 15 seconds, out classing George Green with Karart as hi passenger all the way.Washington Post, August 23, 1929.

ESCAPED MONKEY SPREADING TERROR

Pet “Goes Native;” Antics Give Birth to Tale of “Gorilla.”

RESIDENTS ARE ALARMED

A 30-pound monkey with a fierce mien has started a “gorilla” scare in East Riverdale and its environs. Children seeing the monkey have been frightened by its appearance and antics, and have helped spread tales of a ferocious gorilla.

Since its escape from the household of Freddie Fretwell, of Edmonston, several weeks ago, the monkey has made its appearance on several occasions. Once it pulled the feathers from all of the chickens in the yard of an Edmonston resident. The chicken owner attempted to capture the monkey, but refrained when he was bitten.

Size of Dog.
The simian is about the size of a dog, and has an especially ferocious appearance, aided by the long teeth it shows when attempts are made to capture it. It will accept bananas and other food, but begins to snarl when efforts are made to capture it.The monkey has apparently “gone native,” and seems to have decided on a woods near the Fretwell home as a hiding place. Two men succeeded in throwing a net over the animal but he escaped and jumped into a creek, swimming under water to the opposite side.
Monkey Is Trained. 
Fretwell was given the monkey to keep by a truck driver who had bought it from a carnival. The monkey rode on a pony in the show but was injured when it fell off and was stepped on by the pony.The monkey used to ride on his motorcycle and go to work with him, Fretwell said, and seemed to enjoy the ride. One day he became peeved and began throwing storage batteries around the garage where Fretwell works.It was reported to Fretwell that the monkey was captured several days ago but he has been unable to find the captor. The story of the “gorilla” has spread from Hyattsville to Beltsville and through the intervening territory. The further from the source the tale is traced, the more fierce and enormous is the “gorilla.”This is reprinted with permission from the web site www.ridingvintage.com
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