Jake De Rosier Starts

This image first appeared in the August 15, 1909, Indianapolis Star. The occasion was coverage of the first motorcycle race meet at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Here we see noted motorcycle racing champion Jake DeRosier preparing for the start of the fifth race of the meet, a 10-mile professional event which was won by another star rider, Ed Ligenfelder, dubbed "the Champion of the West" by promoters. The two riders met later in the day in an ill-fated match race that resulted in an accident that resulted in serious injuries to DeRosier that effectively put an end to the race meet. Aborted after frightening accidents and withdrawals by competitors who knew the track was not ready for prime time the event was, by any assessment, a fiasco and a terrible start to the Speedway's motor racing history.
DeRosier was among the very best known of the two-wheel racing stars of the time. DeRosier's story (I wrote the Wikipedia entry on him) was both heroic and tragic as his life ended far too soon. While De Rosier recovered from these injuries he would lose his life in February 1913 after several surgeries to address injuries from a 1912 racing accident.

DeRosierStart.jpg1.44 MB