RIP Bobby Hill

AMA Pro Racing offers its condolences to the family and friends of the iconic Bobby Hill, who passed away on July 12, just four days after celebrating his 100th birthday.

Hill was a motorsports legend of the highest order, whose many sporting accomplishments retain both their relevance and significance in full so many decades after the fact.

Born on July 8, 1922, in Triadelphia, West Virginia, Bobby didn’t ride his motorcycle until he was 14, in stark contrast to many of today’s racers who race almost as early as they walk. It was a few more years still after that initial ride before he got serious and started a rapid climb up the amateur ranks.

That ascension was further delayed as Hill became a hero of another sort, enlisting in the Marine Corps and subsequently seeing action in World War II in both China and the Philippines.

Following the war and back on two wheels, Hill quickly made up for lost time. A pioneering racer who helped establish the groundwork for Progressive American Flat Track in its current incarnation, Hill was an original member of the Indian Wrecking Crew and the winner of 12 AMA Nationals.

Bobby was crowned the 1951 and 1952 AMA National Champion by virtue of his triumphant performances at the Springfield Mile. He then earned the eternal distinction as the first race winner of the AMA Grand National Championship series by reigning supreme at the 1954 Daytona 200.

Along with his fabled stint with the Indian Wrecking Crew, Hill also competed aboard Harley-Davidsons, BSAs, and Nortons during his professional career and continued to contribute to the sport as an engine builder into the 1960s. He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.

Hill moved to Grove City, Ohio, in 1947 and would call the city his home for the remainder of his days.

While Bobby’s place in the racing annals has long been assured, his presence will be sorely missed.