Ralph Hepburn

Race car driver, Athlete

1896 – 1948

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Who was Ralph Hepburn?

Ralph Hepburn was a pioneer American motorcycle racing champion and an Indianapolis 500 racecar driver.

Born in Somerville, Massachusetts, Hepburn's family moved to Los Angeles, California when he was ten years old. He began riding motorcycles as a teen and his skills led to him signing on with a cycle performing group in 1914 that toured the West Coast and parts of the American Midwest. He then began competing in on board tracks, then on dirt. His racing career was interrupted during 1917 and 1918 due to World War I.

In June 1919, Hepburn came to national prominence when he won the 200 mi National Championship at Ascot Park in Los Angeles riding for the Harley-Davidson factory. He began winning consistently thereafter and in 1921 won the "Dodge City 300 National Championship" while breaking all existing 300 mi records. In 1922 he dominated professional track racing for the Indian Motocycle company. That year, he rode to his second victory in the 300 mi National Championship motorcycle race, this time at Meridian Speedway in Wichita, Kansas.

At the end of the 1924 American racing season, and after competing in special events in Australia, Hepburn began his auto racing career.

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Apr 11, 1896
  • United States of America
May 16, 1948
Resting place
Forest Lawn Memorial Park

on July 23, 2013


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