[Jimmy Murphy, winner of 500-mile auto race at Indianapolis, Ind., May 30, 1922, and Ernie Olson, mechanic, seated on Harley-Davidson motorcycle and in sidecar]
James Anthony “Jimmy” Murphy was born to Irish immigrant parents in San Francisco on Sept. 1894, died Sept. 1924, and was the American racing champion 1922-24. His mother died in the San Francisco earthquake and Jimmy was then raised by relatives, first his father’s cousin, then his mother’s brother who was a judge. The judge gave him a motorcycle which he used to go to and from school.
Jimmy started his racing career as a mechanic who rode with some of the well-known drivers of the time, then moved on to racing himself with Ernie Olson as his mechanic.
He died when his car hit a wooden rail pushing a piece of the rail through his chest while auto racing on a dirt track.