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Henry Hammond SPRINGS: d. May 30, 1922 – the teenage phenomenom from Augusta, Georgia who kicked up the dirt of American speedways in the late teens. Hammond was yet another remarkable young talent who dedicated his life to racing motorcycles, and like so many competitors from that time he too tragically gave his life in the pursuit of victory. Born in Augusta in 1902, Hammond’s family relocated to Atlanta after his father, a firemen died in the line of duty in 1909. Once in Atlanta Hammond began racing his motorcycle, a Harley-Davidson 8-valve at the local tracks including the 1-mile dirt oval, the Lakewood Speedway. He was quickly taken in by local Indian dealer and board track racer Harry Glenn who recognized Hammond’s natural abilities and helped refine his skills on the track. Due to the suspension of professional racing during World War I, Hammond was able to hone his skills on local tracks against riders who had already made a name for themselves on the national circuit. Hammond grew tremendously during this time period and by the time he was able to enter his first professional event for with his new Indian jersey on Labor Day of 1920, he found the podium in every race, winning both the 10 and 15 mile open races. Now an official member of the Indian factory team, the 17 year old Hammond began competing across the country in the major events of the day, including the premier 300 mile race at Dodge City. Over the next couple of years, the dashing young Hammond became a top rider at Indian, local hero in Atlanta, and a crowd favorite as he hurled ribbons of dust off the back fire of his Indian Daytona. Tragically though, America’s youngest professional motorcycle racer would die a teenager during a race at Springbrook Park in South Bend, Indiana on May 30, 1922. News of Hammond’s death hit hard in Atlanta, and when his body was returned to the city to be laid to rest in the historic Westview Cemetery he was escorted by a long procession of motorcycle’s, including fellow racers, friends, and APD officers.
John Eugene “Gene” WALKER: died of injuries from a practice crash in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. On June 7, 1924, Gene was practicing for a race on the half mile dirt track at Stroudsburg. While taking practice laps he struck the rear wheel of a tractor that had pulled onto the course, and then collided with a tree stump on the track’s infield. He was returned to Birmingham, and buried at historic Elmwood Cemetery.