PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 29, 2023) — The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame offers its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of 2005 Hall of Fame inductee T.C. Christenson, who passed away on Monday, Sept. 25.
A native of Kenosha, Wis., Christenson entered the world of motorcycling when he was 15 years old, purchasing a rundown Whizzer motorbike — which he had restored during the spring of 1959. Not long after, Christenson found his niche in drag racing.
Christenson’s love affair with drag racing began as a recreational pursuit, as he started out competing against friends on empty rural roads for bragging rights and cash. By 1963, Christenson delved into regulated racing at the local Union Grove Drag Strip, winning his very first sanctioned race.
From there, Christenson started racing aboard Nortons and began to work at Sunset Motors, a Norton dealership owned by John Gregory. Christenson and Gregory formed a dynamic duo with the Nortons, and Christenson emerged as one of the best drag racers in the Midwest during the mid-1960s. At the same time, Christenson also competed in road racing for Ducati.
In 1969, Christenson purchased the motorcycle dealership from Gregory, and the pairing continued to chase championships together by building 750cc drag racing bikes. From 1970-72, Christenson and Gregory developed a trio of twin-engine Nortons dubbed the Hogslayer, named for its ability to upset the dominant Harley-Davidson drag racers of the time.
The Hogslayer gained international fame following its construction, and Christenson and Gregory traveled to the United Kingdom on numerous occasions to demonstrate the bike on national television. The Hogslayer is now housed in the British National Motorcycle Museum in Bickenhill, England. In 2004, the Hogslayer was part of the NHRA’s “Golden 50” display at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.
Aboard the Hogslayer, Christenson grew into one of the fastest drag racers on Earth, earning the NHRA U.S. Nationals title during the 1972 season — the first campaign that included Fuel Bikes in the program. One year later, Christenson set the then-A/Fuel Bike elapsed time record with a 7.83-second run, which propelled him to the win at the NHRA National Motorcycle Record Championships.
Despite Norton ceasing production in 1975, Christenson claimed the official NHRA Fuel Bike National Championship in 1976. Although Christenson was able to subsidize his racing expenses through his motorcycle dealership for a few years after Norton’s closing, his racing career slowed down from that point forward with the emergence of supercharged single-engine Japanese bikes taking over the drag racing scene.
After his racing career, Christenson continued to run the Sunset Motors Dealership in Kenosha.