Ralph Beardsley

10/12/1888 - 18/3/1920

Record updated 10-Dec-18

Ralph Edward Beardsley was an amateur American racing driver who drowned at sea in 1920.

Ralph Beardsley
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  and though at the time it was reported that he had suffered severe internal injuries and was not expected to live, by the next day it transpired his injuries were not as bad as first reported and he made a full recovery. Beardsley escaped with minor bruising.

Apparently all drivers received their contibutions back from the Death's Pool. This was a fund collected before the race to be distributed to the families of anyone who happened to be killed!

In 1911 he made his one and only 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.