San Jose Burbank Velodrome – San Jose CA


This Works Progress Administration velodrome was constructed in the 1930s for bicycle racing. It has since been transformed into a stadium for Lincoln High School.


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Location Info

555 Dana Avenue
San Jose, CA 95126

Location notes:
Location is for Lincoln High School of which the velodrome is now a part.

Coordinates: 37.329287, -121.923780

24 comments on “San Jose Burbank Velodrome – San Jose CA

  1. I watched being built, I rode it, I raced on it from 1936-1936…It , for a small time hosted motorcycle races until a motorcycle went into the grandstand. Stephen Edward Halton Now 90 years and still riding…

  2. Most of those riders are dead, but Gussie Gatto could still be alive in San Jose, California. After some years, Gussie turned into a world class rider.
    Vince Gatto, Gussies older brother was well known at the Burbank track.
    Both of their kids rode well at the Hellyer Park Track in San Jose..Stephen Edward Halton

    • Thanks for sharing these memories Stephen. It’s always great to hear about these New Deal projects in use.

  3. It was built of wood with about 47 degree banking on the turns and at least 20 degrees on the straightaways and one eighth of a mile around.
    Spectators kept the large grandstands full. Admission was twenty-five
    cents. Percy Smith, the Gatto brothers, the Halton brothers, the Perez brothers, Louis Randoni, Gene Echavarria,Jack Hennesey,Joe Colla,
    Antone Chimenti, The Kuhl brothers, Carrol Poe, Bob Tonkin, and so many from The Garden City Wheelmen of San Jose, New Cntury Wheelman of San Franciso, and riders from Oakland , plus so many
    riders like Virgil Runyan, Harold Rassmusen,James Matthews from
    The Los Angeles Bike Club rode our beautiful track.Dewey Maxwell of Maxwell’s Bike Shop in San Jose had a lot to do with organizing events.Most of us went to WW2. The heroes like my brother didn’t come
    back alive…..Stephen Halton Last and least….


  4. Down Wind Dan

    Wow, Steve, you rode there. That’s impressive. You are sounding more like a real bike rider every time I hear from you.

  5. Lou Bini

    I remember the wood bank track as a 10 year old very well, and I rode my cruiser Schwynn at the low level and it was very difficult. I remember the riders Tony Valerga, the Gatto brothers, Gene Echevarria, Rodoni – names of people I admired as a ten year old. Those are great memories.
    I still have my Schwynn which I bought for 32.00 dollars at the bike shop on The Alameda across from Hester School – not to be confused with Paul’s Cyclery.

  6. Frank T. Sunseri

    My Dad, Frank J. Sunseri, raced that venue back in the late 40’s and early 50’s with all those mentioned as well as “Red” Maggi, and Joe Cancimella! During intermission , young Robert Gatto and myself would race a few laps, on our Italian kid Bikes, to entertain the audience. I still have fond memories of those evenings. I can still smell the linament that the racers rubbed on their legs. Those were the days of good old clean, unadulterated competition.

  7. I’m with the Marin Museum of Bicycling, due to open in early 2015. Recently we acquired a 1938 Schwinn Paramount raced by Bill Wickliffe of San Francisco. Along with the bike, loaned by Bill’s son, came a fair sized scrap book with five 1940 programs from the “Garden City Velodrome” at the “Corner [of] Wabash & Olive Sts.” I believe there’s also a photo of Bill riding this track. I’d like to see other photos of the Burbank Velodrome to compare.

    • Joe, I’m pleased to hear that there will be a Museum of Bicyling in Marin, the home of mountain biking! We don’t have other photos than those posted, but we’d love a copy of a couple of yours. R. Walker

  8. Hi,
    For this track page, I can send a scan of one of the programs. Only four pages. I only ask that you include Marin Museum of Bicycling in the credit line.
    [email protected]

  9. We are not absolutely certain that the picture sent by Joe Breeze is definitely the San Jose Burbank Velodrome. If anyone can confirm this, we would be most appreciative. R. Walker.

  10. Henry D Citti jr

    I rode the track in 1950-1951, Known as rollen red citti. I rode with Joe Colla , Richie O’Brian , Louie Randoni , The gatto Brothers and the Rhodes Brothers. I was sad to see the old board track go. had a lot of good times there

  11. Terry Peterson

    Yes that is the Burbank Velodrome. This is Terry Peterson (Don Peterson’s son)

  12. Liked reading Stephen Halton’s comments. I am in the process of writing about the history of motorcycle racing in San Jose (my third book). Was wondering if anybody has a photo from Burbank Velodrome they would like to contribute.

  13. Jim Washburn

    My father, Jimmy Washburn, held the first motorcycle races at this track. I think it was 1937. The race was supported by Maxwell. My father and Sam Arena were the only two riders to average over 50 mph on this track on motorcycles. Sam Arena was known as a hill climber. My father raced board tracks, dirt tracks and eventually produced his own Daredevil Motorcycle Circus and traveled over the world.

  14. Iswari smith

    Percy Smith,my dad.great cyclist.road San Jose and Burbank.known as being black panther.At San Jose cycle museum has lots of his memorabilia.

  15. My uncle, Sam Rinella, was a race promoter . . He rode with some of the above mentioned and I have several news articles about the Velodrome and the one in Sacramento. His brother, my dad Phil, also rode with him, as well as his cousin Bud Lima whos family owned the Garden Theaters in San Jose.

  16. My grandfather Sam Rinella raced on this track during 1936-1942 . I have many pictures and articles of him at the track. Also he has many USA race bikes and trophies from his racing career. He used to tell me stories about the races and show me articles of his racing time at the track. I have a article and photo of him on the front page of the news paper of him sanding the track there and prepping the track. Also he was a fabulous man.

  17. Cary Greenman

    As a kid I used to climb on an abandoned velodrome (wooden) at the old san jose speedway. It was just off of the NW corner of the paved track. It was very steep, had to hang off the topside to climb up. The top 3 or 4 feet was about 80 degrees. This was about 1957. Torn it down relative soon afterward. Does anybody remember this track?

  18. John Suarez

    I’m not old enough to remember the old wooden track, but I did ride Hellyer in the early seventies as a Junior. Myself and Mark Ernst were coached by Joe Canciamella for a small team named after “Henry Cocky O’Brian”. The younger Gatto brothers Gus and Anthony were always present at events. During the supporting races for the 1973 Olympic trials, the Peter Rich the owner of Berkeley Velosport brought a beautiful Pogliaghi track tandem and let Mark and me ride it during warm ups. Crap that thing wound up fast, before we knew it we were doing 30-35mph in the sprinters lane bearing down on Gus and Anthony in turn 3 riding side-by side at about 15mph. Mark yelled “IN BETWEEN!” and they parted just far enough that we blasted through between them…almost took them both out…not that they should have been riding/chatting in the sprinters lane…great times.

  19. Tracy Delphia

    In 1994 I wrote a thesis on velodrome/track racing in San Jose, focusing on the Burbank/Garden City Velodrome. The velodrome site is now a high school track and while I now longer live in the SJ area, I’ve heard from Ed Hodges, a retired teacher there who has been spearheading an effort to ensure the track doesn’t fully disappear into the dusty pages of unread history 😉 This includes getting an exception plaque put together for the velodrome site (which is now Lincoln High School) and there will be a ceremony in a few weeks. I’m trying to help Ed locate anyone who may have actually raced at the track who would be interested in attending the ceremony!

    Cary, the track you are remembering was built by Murphy Sabatino who was a racer in the 30s at the Burbank velodrome (btw, I call the 1935-1941 velodrome the “Burbank” velodrome because the earliest velodromes in the city were Garden City velodromes and it just reduced confusion for me on the nomenclature 😉 According to Mr. Sabatino, the 1951 National Board Track Bicycle Championships were held on that track in September 1951, and then the track fell into disuse after the 1952 season when it had financial problems.

  20. Ed hodges

    On Friday March 4,2022 at 2pm
    There will be a little ceremony to honor the memory of the Burbank Velodrome
    The event will be at the Lincoln High School football field, where the old race track existed till the school took over the space in 1941

  21. Scott Palmer

    Yeah, I remember goofing around on that old Tully/Story Road track in the early 60s. I don’t remember when they tore it down. I’ve only found a few old photographs that show the place, always either in the background, or from old aerial shots. Not much has been written about it that I can find. I can’t be certain it was ever used for racing. Maybe it never opened. Dennis Mattish would know. I would assume Frank Sunseri might also have some information.

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