Born in Ansonia, Connecticut, Ralph Edward Beardsley was an amateur American racing driver.
Racing out of Newark New Jersey he started competing at the Point Breeze dirt track. He was also a regular competitor in the annual Fairmount Park races. In 1909 event he drove a Simplex owned by Robert E Hitemyer.
In 1910 he had been doing well in the Vanderbilt cup on Long Island at the begining of October when he crashed into a stationary vehicle after suffering steering failure on his Simplex.
Then on the 8th of the month he took part in the third annual 200 mile race in Fairmount Park. Len Zengle won on handicap driving a Chadwick. He actually finished behind Ralph Mulford, in a Lozier, but his time allowance gave him the win by six seconds. Unfortunaly Beardsley's Simplex, ran into the railroad bridge at the Sweet Brier dip. Beardsley and his mechanic, Glenn Ethridge, were thrown out. Eldridge suffered a broken leg and arm as well as severe internal injuries and was not expected to live (We do not know it this was the case). Beardsley escaped with minor bruising.
In 1911 he made his one and oly appearance in the Indy 500. Starting in 34th place he drove steadily in one of the works Simplex to finish in 20th spot.
He drowned at sea in 1920 when the motor boat he was travelling in with Samuel Elwell and Arthur Scholl capsized in a gale. They were travelling between Pine Peach in Virginia bound for Newport News on business for the Britt Company. They had departed on Monday 17th March 1920 and Beardsley's body was washed up on Craney Island, close to Newport News, on the 19th.