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Wilfred Bourque

Wilfred Bourque (March 1879 – August 19, 1909), also known as Billy Bourque and William Bourque, was a Canadian racecar driver, born in W. Farnham, Québec. At the time of his racing career, he lived in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

Billy Bourque
Wilfred Bourque

March 1879
Died19 August 1909
Cause of deathCar crash
ResidenceWest Springfield, Massachusetts
Other namesWilliam Bourque
OccupationRace car driver
Known forCar Racing

Racing careerEdit

Bourque is known to have started at least 35 automobile races, during the years 1907–1909. He drove primarily for the team operated by Massachusetts-based auto maker, Knox. Most of his known race starts were hill climbs. He did, however, earn 2nd place in each of two road course events, the 1908 Garden City Sweepstakes Race (187.68 miles, held in Long Island, New York), and the 1909 Cobe Trophy Race (395.59 miles, held at the Crown Point Road Race Circuit). On August 19, 1909, Bourque won the third automobile race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (a five-mile race). Later that day, driving car number 3,[1] he was killed in an accident during the feature Prest-O-Lite Trophy Race. Witnesses said Bourque's fatal crash occurred when he looked back after being notified by his riding mechanic, Harry Holcomb, that another car was approaching on lap 58. While glacing back, the car swerved, hit a rut, and flipped over. Bourque suffered a fractured skull and punctured lung, and later died in the hospital, making him the first driver to die at Indy.[2] Holcomb also died in the crash.


Scott, D. Bruce; INDY: Racing Before the 500; Indiana Reflections; 2005; ISBN 0-9766149-0-1.

Galpin, Darren; A Record of Motorsport Racing Before World War I.