AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame | Where Heroes Live On
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Bill Church


1910s, '20s Class A Racing Champion

Bill Church was an AMA Class A racer who competed throughout the 1910s and 20s. Nicknamed “Wild Bill," he raced primarily aboard Indian equipment against contemporaries such as AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers Albert “Shrimp” Burns and Erwin “Cannonball” Baker.

A 1919 report in the July 2 issue of Motorcycling and Bicycling details the June 22, 200-mile National Championship race in Los Angeles. Church was racing aboard an Indian machine that suffered an exhaust valve failure, ending his race on lap 158.

The opening of the 1920 season featured a week of racing at the Ascot Park dirt track near Los Angeles. In the 25-mile National Championship race, Church lost the rear tire on his Indian and crashed, but walked away.

Church was a prominent member of the Los Angeles Motorcycle Club. The Sept. 10, 1919 issue of Motorcycling and Bicycling gives an account of the club’s August activities, which included races and skill events at Venice Beach, Calif. Church took third-place in the obstacle race and second-place in the potato race, but the crowd was most impressed when he took a motorcycle up and over a roller coaster at the adjacent amusement park, with “Gasoline” Gus Martin on the back.

He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.