Indianhead Motorcycle Club was founded in Red Wing, MN in 1948 by local motorcycle enthusiasts, which included George Willis, Bernard Eckert, Neil Diercks and Hilton Magnuson. Magnuson was the club's first president and was also the local Harley-Davidson dealer. In 1949 the club moved into it's present location, which was owned at that time by the Aurora Ski Club. The Ski Club had designs for a ski jump, but they didn't pan out... The hill was full of stumps and brush, needed dynamiting and other clearing and grooming before the first hillclimb could be held later that same year. The jumps didn't appear on the hill until a few years later.
The club got it's name from a rock promontory on the southwest corner of Barns Bluff that resembled the head of an Indian chief. Unfortunately, the rock formation was destroyed when the new bridge across the Mississippi river was built. "Indianhead" is a name used by a number of organizations in the area, including the local Boy Scouts troop.
IMC has gone through many changes over the years, as has our sport of hillclimbing. In the beginning, there were only 4 classes - mostly Indians and Harleys, all of which could use tire chains. Nowadays tire chains are illegal for AMA amateur events, and there are 4-5 times as many classes, and a wide array of machine brands from all over the world.
The current amateur hill record is held by Todd Cipala of Ellsworth, WI, who on May 2, 2004 turned a 5.202 second ride on his Harley-Davidson. Todd was the first AMA Amateur rider to win 3 National Championships in one year, and the only hillclimber to be recognized as the AMA Amateur Rider of the year.
The current professional hill record is held by multi-time AMA Pro champion Dave Watson, who is the fastest man ever on our hill with a 5.14 second ride.
The IMC club grounds are located adjacent to the Red Wing High School baseball diamond, essentially right in the middle of the town! This is pretty unique - most racing venues are out in the country, but IMC events are very convenient to get to, and not too far from downtown Red Wing.
Proceeds from our events are saved to hopefully purchase additional land, outside of a residential area, so that we can promote other types of events too, as well as giving back to our community via charitable donations. In February, 2015, we received Congressional recognition for our support of local charities.
IMC mostly holds AMA Amateur hillclimb events, but we have held AMA Professional, semi-pro, and hill drags events at our hill. In addition, we have hosted a few AMA Amateur National Championship events. Regular district events accumulate points, similar to NASCAR or motocross - at the end of the season, the rider with the most points is declared the class champion. At a National Championship though, it's a one-event deal. Whoever wins that event is crowned the national champion - and the person who came in second is simply the first loser.
...the most fun, especially for spectators, are the Hill Drags that we occasionally host. It's a drag race up the hill! Two bikes at a time each with their own timing lane, just like a regular drag race, except that instead of racing along a perfectly flat piece of asphalt, the riders launch themselves up the hill, over the jumps, churning dirt and rocks side-by-side! I always thought that what drag racing really needed was a few jumps along the way! And yes - occasionally we do have riders that run into each other, in which case the rider deemed to have caused the crash is declared the loser of that round. Riders compete in a double-elimination format, which guarantees at least 2 rides per class for each competitor - it is possible to lose your very first heat and then make a comeback to win the class - difficult, but possible.
We are a chartered AMA club, and our events pay points in AMA District 23 (MN) and also in District 16 (WI). The dual-points events were new to IMC in 2003, and are designed by the respective hillclimb directors of both districts to encourage greater cross-district participation by the competitors.