The Hendee Manufacturing Company’s early racing years were marked with paramount success in endurance rides. In the company’s first reliability trial in 1903, co-founder and chief engineer Oscar Hedstrom rode one of his motorcycles to a new world speed record of 56 miles per hour and won an endurance race from New York City to Springfield, Massachusetts, and back. Building on the co-founder’s success, in 1906 dealers George Holden and Louis J. Mueller rode an Indian motorcycle from San Francisco to New York City in a record 31 days without a mechanical problem.
As the institution of American motorcycle racing grew, the company’s competitive focus shifted to the track. In 1937, renowned racer Ed Kretz won the first Daytona 200 race on an Indian Sport Scout.
This early era of racing success also saw the founding of the Indian Motorcycle Wrecking Crew in the late 1940’s, a record-breaking racing team consisting of legendary racers Bobby Hill, Bill Tuman, and Ernie Beckman. By the early 1950’s, the Crew was dominating on both dirt and road courses; Bobby Hill won the Springfield Mile back-to-back years in 1951 and 1952, and teammate Bill Tuman completed the three-peat for IM in 1953.