The motorcycle races predated automobile races at the track, under the sanction of the Federation of American Motorcyclists (F.A.M.). Indiana born Erwin G. Baker competed in the ten-mile amateur championship.
This was originally planned as a two-day, 15-race program, but ended before the first day was completed due to concerns over suitability of the track surface for motorcycle use.
According to the Indianapolis Star, the event lacked a large number of entries due to racer Jake DeRosier’s recent accident on the unpaved gravel track and fear on the part of some of the drivers about being badly injured themselves.
Baker, already regarded as a daredevil racer and “rider of great skill and nerve,” took home first place in the event in a time of 11:31 1-5.
Pictured: Starting line of a motorcycle race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, August 14, 1909. Photo credit: IUPUI Indianapolis Motor Speedway Collection.