Hall of Fame Inductee
Ernie Beckman started racing in 1946, riding a Harley-Davidson WR. In 1948 he switched to riding Indians, but also rode BMW's, and in 1952 rode a BSA at Daytona. It was the end of the summer of 1953, at the National Championship races in Williams Grove, PA. British bikes were the new rage, and Harley versus Triumph, Norton, BSA, was the new game. In the past three summers of racing there had been one feature which had made AMA racing a little rebellious. There were a half dozen men who hadn't gotten the word and who insisted on racing Indian Sport Scouts. The "pesky half-dozen men" were generally referred to as The Indian Wrecking Crew. Among them was Ernie Beckman on his aging Sport Scout side-valve 45 cubic inch (750cc) job, complete with three-speed hand shift and foot clutch. History is like this...you can't always tell what's important until much later. The people who cheered loudest that day, October 11, 1953 at Williams Grove, could not know that Ernie Beckman would ride his Indian motorcycle to Indian's last National Championship win. Nor could they know they were watching one of the greatest rivalries in the history of motorcycling coming to an end. After this race Harley-Davidson versus Indian would finally be over. Not only was Ernie Beckman the last man to win a National Championship on an Indian Motorcycle, he was the 8-mile Champion at Williams Grove, Pennsylvania in 1951 and 1952. He was also riding an Indian when he was named Michigan state champion in 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955 and 1957. Ernie was obviously a racer to be reckoned with on the tracks and on one holiday weekend in 1950 he had eight starts and ended up with eight first place wins! He rode in his last race in 1957.
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Sturgis Museum and Hall of Fame - Sturgis, South Dakota