Hall of Fame Inductee - 2004
Bill’s kids always thought it was kind of cool that he raced motorcycles. The trophies were always laying around and they would impress their friends by telling his racing stories.
Bill was always passionate about two wheeled vehicles, and he earned a reputation nationwide as a top motorcycle mechanic and respect as a racer.
He began his racing career in 1936 racing TT¹s. He said he became an expert at TT’s somewhere around 1937 or 38, racing against men like Eddie Long, Bobby Hill, Bill Tuman and Ernie Beckman. He ran up against “the very best” once, Iron Man Ed Kretz, and got beat.
Back in the day you won a trophy or in a really big race you might win a tire. There was little money involved. Bill never ran in the Nationals because he was busy raising his family and concentrating on his business, and because the money wasn’t worth it.
He raced TT’s before the war and after the war he raced mostly flat track. Bill said that after the war racing was his form of therapy. His last race was in 1950 where he won the Inland Empire TT Championship in Spokane, Washington.
Bill’s favorite bike was always the Indian.
At the time of his death on January 1, 2011, Bill still owned his first new bike, a 1946 Chief, and his racing bike, a 1941 Sport Scout. He had about 20 motorcycles, extras for friends and family. Bill collected friends, bringing home people he had just met who needed a place to stay for the night. His children remember many a night their mother would fuss because “Dad brought home another biker.” Actually though, she was always extremely proud of his generous nature and his willingness to help.
Bill’s greatest joy was teaching someone how to ride, and then bringing them along to Sturgis with him.