In the summer of 1907, Theodore K. Hastings brought fame to himself and to the Indian motorcycles manufactured by the Hendee Mfg. Co. of Springfield, Mass. Hastings was the first American to compete—and medal—in an event on English soil on an American-made motorcycle.
Hastings was a member of the Crescent Athletic Club of the Bronx, N.Y., vice president of the Federation of American Motor Cyclists and a member of the Auto Cycle Club of England. His first taste of motor racing occurred while covering the 1904 Ormond Beach, Fla., trials for a New York newspaper. He thought a motorcycle would allow him to cover the speed trials more efficiently, so that winter he purchased a used Metz motorcycle.
Hastings competed in his first race in the New York-to-Waltham (Mass.),reliability trials in 1905, winning handily with a perfect 1,000 point score. It was there that he met manufacturer George Hendee, who offered him an Indian motorcycle to ride in future events. However, Hastings had to purchase the motorcycle from the fledgling company.
Hastings followed that success in 1906 with another perfect score in the second Catskills-to-Brooklyn Reliability Trials. That same year, he organized the first motorcycle police squad in New York City and Long Island, N.Y.
The Auto Cycle Club sponsored the Thousand Mile Reliability Trials, Aug. 12-17,1907, on the public roads of England. At a time when most motorcycles used leather belts for a final drive, Indian’s all-chain drive proved superior in the harsh riding conditions of the period. Hastings was awarded a phenomenal 994 points out of a possible 1,000 for the overall win. This reliability run would evolve into the now-famous Six Days International Trials, and in 1908 Hastings repeated his performance. His exceptional performances on the Indian led to the American company’s first overseas franchise to Billy Wells of the United Kingdom.
Back in the United States, Hastings became a specialist in the emerging business of placing motorcycles in police departments across the country.
In 1912 and 1913, Hendee sent the young rider on a world tour where he won three reliability trials in Australia, one with a sidecar. Hastings later became an Indian dealer in Melbourne, Australia.
Hastings retired from motorcycling in 1917. He was considered an early ambassador to motorcycling and Indian motorcycles.
Hastings was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000.