Lloyd "Sprouts" Elder is considered one of the fathers of American Speedway (Class A short track) racing. In addition to being a champion Speedway rider at home and abroad during the 1920s and '30s, Elder helped organize Speedway racing on the east and west coasts of America. He later became an AMA referee and a member of the competition committee.
Elder learned racing on some of the last surviving board tracks during the 1920s. Elder really began to make a name for himself during the late-1920s by racing overseas. He earned the "Golden Helmet" for winning the Australian Championship in 1927. He won the title against top Australian as well as several top British and American riders who also spent the winter months racing in the Australian summer. Elder also won racing titles in South America.
With racing in America at a low ebb in the early-'30s due to the Depression, Elder turned his attention to Speedway racing in Great Britain. There, Elder became one of the most popular riders in that country's popular Speedway racing scene. Crowds of 30,000 to 40,000 were not uncommon during the heyday of Speedway racing in England. While racing in Great Britain, Elder won numerous titles, including the "Silver Helmet" for winning the Scottish Championship. A gauge of Elder's popularity was revealed when the British paper "Speedway News" honored Elder by calling him the greatest showman of all time.
During the mid-1930s, Elder returned to the United States to help get American Speedway organized. For a short period during the mid-1930s, night Speedway racing was among the popular forms of motorcycle racing in the country. Elder, along with the Milne brothers, Jack and Cordy, Lammy Lamoreaux and Bo Lisman, helped found and popularize Speedway racing in America.
Elder retired from racing after joining the California Highway Patrol. He was responsible for getting the Highway Patrol to sponsor a number of Speedway races during the late-1930s.
Elder retired from the patrol after suffering life-threatening injuries in a traffic accident. Even after retirement, Elder stayed close to racing through his duties on the AMA Competition Committee. Elder died in 1957.
Inducted in 1998