November 28, 2008

First American Automobile Race


At 8:55 a.m. on November 28, 1895, six "motocycles" left Chicago's Jackson Park for a 54 mile race to Evanston, Illinois and back through the snow. Number 5, piloted by inventor J. Frank Duryea, won the race in just over 10 hours at an average speed of about 7.3 miles per hour! The winner earned $2,000, the enthusiast who named the horseless vehicles "motocycles" won $500, and the Chicago Times-Herald, sponsor of the race, declared:

Persons who are inclined…to decry the development of the horseless carriage…will be forced…to recognize it as an admitted mechanical achievement, highly adapted to some of the most urgent needs of our civilization.
"The Future of the Motocycle", The Chicago Times-Herald, November 29, 1895.