Pictured here is, without question, one of New York’s finest. Walter Goerke was a true pioneer American motorcyclist, one of the country’s first generation of enthusiasts, and one of the first class of professional motorcycle racers. He was a founding member of the New York Motorcycle Club at the turn of the 20th centuryand later became a charter member of Brooklyn’s Invincible M.C. Goerke was a prolific competitor in the Northeast and was among the first on the line at the Clifton Stadium, the board track precursor to the infamous American motordromes, becoming a feature rider and star of the board tracks. He was one of the first in the country to sign a professional racing contract, joining the first factory racing program at Indian along with Arthur Chapple, Freddie Hyuck, Robert Stubbs, and Jacob DeRosier in 1908. He set land speed records on the sands at Daytona in 1909 and often times tested experimental prototypes made by his close friend and boss Oscar Hedstrom. Goerke helped to create the mold for gentlemen racers in America and was held in high regard by both competitors and enthusiasts alike. This photograph of Walter Goerke comes from June 19, 1909 during the N.Y.M.C.’s 7th annual hill climb at Riverview Manor in Hastings, just north of the city. In front of a crowd of around 1,000 spectators, Goerke made the ascent of just over 1,900 feet at a 14 percent grade the fastest in 4 out of the 7 races, coming in second place in the other 3. He trampled a field which included motorcycling icons like A.G. Chapple, Stanley Kellogg, Oscar Hedstrom, and a rather withered looking Glenn Curtiss. Goerke was serving as the 2nd Lieutenant of the N.Y.M.C at this time and was referred to as the Trolley Dodger of New York by reporters at the time.