Bart Markel
1935 - 2007




MARKEL, Bartlett David "Bad Bart" - Of Flint, age 71, died Saturday, February 3, 2007 at his residence. Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be held at a later date. Those desiring may make contributions to "The Aid for Injured Riders". Bartlett was born in Flint, Michigan on August 19, 1935. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He married JoAnn Overton on February 21, 1959. Mr. Markel was a 2 Time Golden Glove Boxing Champion, 3 Time AMA Flat Track Motorcycle Champion. He was a member and had been inducted into several Hall of Fames, including Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame. Mr. Markel retired from AC Spark Plug Division. Surviving are daughter, Stacey and husband Bob Kelly of Flint; son, Bart, Jr. and wife Susanne of Enterprise, Alabama; grandchildren, Bobby, Steven and Kara Kelly, Jason Farr, Bart, III, Malyssa and Joseph Markel; sister, Melody and husband Al Dyer of Edgewater, Florida; brothers, John Markel of Flint, Don Long of California and Delbert Ritter of Ohio; several nieces, nephews and a host of special friends. He was preceded in death by his love of his life, wife, JoAnn; parents, David and Everyl; brother, Ron Long; granddaughter, Michelle Markel; sister, Sharon Luna and special niece, Robin Prevo. A special thanks to all of his special friends for their help thru the years.

A private memorial service is to be held in Flint. Those desiring may make contributions to "The Aid to Injured Riders" www.air-fund.com.





That main event up above is getting bigger by the day. I just got word from Dee Johnson of Dee's Leathers
that Bart Markel passed away at his home this afternoon in Mich.
GOD SPEED #4
Digger

RIP, to one of the true ironmen, and legends of the sport.
knightrider45

Godspeed, Bart.One of my heroes...
Don Potter


Godspeed #4.
I had the pleasure of meeting him in 1968 and 1970 at Ascot.
A gentle man.
Hos

One of the true legends. A real "Intimidator", sans roll cage. Wish I could have seen him ride more. RIP Bart
Greg

RIP Bart, My great uncle took my father to see his first race in York, Pa (when they travelling around the country pipelining) in 1958 and upon seeing Bart race became hooked on flattrack racing and Bart was his hero. Which in turn got me hooked (eventually). So I guess without Bart I may never have enjoyed flattrack so much. Thank You Bart
KW55


Rest In Peace  God Speed Bart Markel #4
Audrey Hauser

One of the greatest and the Grand Daddy of the Michigan Mafia.
Mike Kidd


Sad news!! Bart was a nice guy off the track and tough on, a true champion.
Jim Henry


My deepest sympathy to the Markel family, RIP Bart,
Leo

Bart Markel: A True Flat Track Legend.
Some People Thinks He's Bad, That He's The Devil's Child.
He Really Isn't Bad,
He's Just a Little Wild.
If You Want To Win This Race, You Better get A head Start.
Because You Are Sitting on the Line
with....Bad Bart.
His Shoulders are Husky and His Hips are Lean,
When He Looks At You With Those Eyes Of Blue
You Wonder How People Could Think He's Mean.
He's Got A Reputation That's Known From Coast To Coast.
In Most Folks Estimation,
He Is Still The Very Most.
If You Want To Win This Race, You Better get A head Start.
Because You Are Sitting on the Line
with....Bad Bart.
From The Song: "Legend Of Bad Bart"
From the Album: "Motorcycle Man" 1970.
GOD SPEED BART MARKEL......REST IN PEACE.

Wild Will





When I was a wee lad there were 3 names spoken with complete reverence in my house. Those names were Gary Nixon, Dick Mann and Bart Markel. Gary was the most determined. Dick was the smartest and Bart was the bravest. Put 'em all together and you get a trio that was far more super than all the super-hero cartoons characters I was watching on Saturday mornings. These guys were real. Sometimes too real for their own good. Just to say I was there when Bart won his last national in Columbus '71 means the world to me. I have thanked my parents many times for dragging my butt to all those races when I was little. I've always hated quitters and these guys never quit though eventually the sport changed so much around them there wasn't much room for them on the track. 1971 was such a different time. Sure, you had Harley guys but you had those pesky Triumph and BSA guys too not to mention the brash Yamaha guys and the stylish Norton guys etc. Bart's passing will only serve to bolster my precious memories.
Nick Taylor


I had the pleasure of knowing Black Bart back in the late 50s and 60s he was a fine guy to be around he will truly be missed R.I.P.
Bill G


RIP-- you were the introduction for me to the GNC/dirttrack excitement in the 60's when you won a San Jose 1/2mi. You were my hero in my teens--you still are.
Prayers to the family and friends.
AD71


Our deepest thoughts and condolences. Having just lost our father the week before, makes this very difficult. One of my treasured photos is of my father in first, Bart in second and Dick Mann in third. Somehow it is comforting to know that dad is once again at a new starting line with an old buddy. Here's to a great new race for the good old boys!
Marcy Tatarka
Art Barda Family


Anyone that knew or raced against Bart has some great stories.

Here is mine....
Markel would try anything to get an advantage. Back around 1972 there was a promoter who ran something like 28 indoor races on concrete over a 2 month period. Everyone ran 2-stokes except Market...he rode a Harley Sprint. I swear, he could be anywhere on track but that damn four stroke sounded like he was getting ready to put a wheel on you and take you out!
The key to going fast on concrete was keeping your tires clean. He showed up one week with a way to fasten steel brushes to the front fork and rear frame rubbing against the tires to keep them clean.
Everyone would be so serious when pushing out bikes to the line... everyone except Bart. He had that grin on his face like he just enjoyed being there to race.
Mike Kidd


Back in 68 I was on my way to Daytona and stopped of at Savanna for a short track. What I didn't know was they were running a short track on a half mile. All the gearing I had for my BSA C25 was for short track, so I put my tallest gear on and raced. In my heat was #4 Bart Markel. He would pull me on the straights and I would catch him in the corners and when I put my front wheel beside him he would look to see who was there, he won the heat and I got second. That's the closest I would ever run to Bart, by the end of the day every ring would be broken in the engine. I finished last in the main.
Jim Henry


Old age is a terrible thing. Can't remember s#@%! As some of you know, Bart was a former boxing champion. I think it was while he was in the service. This wasn't even at a race track. Bart, Gary Nixon and I were having a cocktail in some joint, and Gary and I were checkin' out the local ladies. Bart told us..."pick one out, and if her boyfriend has a problem with that...send him over to me and I'll handle it."
You really missed a show if you never saw Bart ride at the old Laconia National Road Race. He had a problem doing anything with his right hand except turning on the horsepower. Because of that, Bart had the clutch and front brake levers both on the left side one year in the early 60's. At the end of the long downhill straight leading into the 90% left turn (and the finish line)...there was a small scoring tower. About every 4th time I would go by...Bart would be pulling his Harley out from under the stand. He kept getting the levers mixed up. It's hard to downshift when you grab a handful of front brake...and it's even tougher to use the front brake when you put the thing in neutral.
GODSPEED #4
Digger





I was at Columbus in '71........it was cool, it made my dad and his buddy happy that the "old guy" won...back then 30+ was old for a m/c racer....
I'm impressed by the fact that Bart kept a "regular guy" day job all those years. .....
Bart was an original....one of a kind.....too bad, motorcyle racing and this old world in general could use more like him.
Craig


I have been thinking about call Bart the last couple of day to see how he is doing???
The first time I saw him race in person was at the 1969 Detroit National at the old Detroit Race Course. Bart was always doing things "Differently" as Mike noted above. I had heard about his reputation for being a no holds bared racer, Black Bart.. So here is this guy, Bart doing Daimond shaped turns, while all the other racers were racing an oval. Bart would come in low, shoot across the grove, nail the cushion up against the guard rail, square it off and blast back across the grove. Every lap it was a will of nearves seeing who would back off at the crossing point, and 99% of the time it wasn't Bart..
Ray Ninness


When Bart, Randy Goss, and Ted Boody were racing for Team Vista-Sheen. The team was running the Indoor Ice series in Michigan. At one of the races everybody got there new set of D's Leathers. Early inprictice Ted and Bart were out having fun!! Teddy was in front of Bart, and Bart of course wanted none of that. Teddy kept sticking his LONG left leg in front of Bart in the corners. This was in the days when #8 sheet metal scres were the weapon of choice for ice racing. Finally Bart had enough of Ted's leg blocks, and drove his front wheel into the back of Ted nice new Team Vista-Sheen leatghers and shreaded the leather pretty good, and got by in the process, and I'm sure he learned a lesson, at least on how not to race Bart.
Ray Ninness


Hey Mike?...dollars to donuts we will see that "steelbrush mod" at Rod's indoor at San Jose?
God Speed Bart!
Kirk

              


He always had a different idea from the rest of the pack.
I was taking lap time for Randy Goss and Ted Boody on a 1/2 mile once. Bart was standing next to me likewise with a stop watch, his was more busy then mine?? After the practice session was over I asked him waht he was doing?? "Taking Dwell Times" he said?? I finally got him to explain a bit more. All racers run about the same speed on the straights, they guy that wins is the last one to shut it down going into the corner and the first one to turn it back on again on the exit. The guy that's on the gas most, and has the throttle closed the least, "Dwell Time" in Markel speak.

Ray Ninness


Those are some great photos of Markel. Seeing the photos of Boody and Markel reminded me of another story.
We were at a limestone track somewhere in Ohio. Back then for time trials it was first come...first serve. I remember several times I would have Sandra take my bike to the Time Trial line, while I was in practice on another bike.
This particular race Boody was in front of me for time trials. Before Boody went out for his lap, Markel was cutting Boody's rear tire with a knife! Not a razor blade, but a rather large pocket knife.
When I cut my tires, I was always very scientific to where I thought the cuts had to be perfect and all look alike. Not Markel. He was cutting chucks and chucks of tire, very fast. As Boody would roll forward keeping in line, Markel was cutting away. When finished the tire looked like a knobby!!
I don't remember the outcome of the race, but Markel showed me how to cut a tire a lot quicker.
Mike Kidd



I got a Neat Bart Markel Story.
Of course Bart is a Legend from the Sixties, and late Fifties,
but he was still racing when I was a Novice and Junior, in the
early Seventies.
Short Tracks, Mostly indoors all across the Nation, is where
I saw Markel. Some Promoters use to pay National Number 4
Show money, to ride their Events. You never knew what short
tracks he would be at, but he was at many in many different
states.
Novice Juniors and Experts ran together on same size bikes,
That’s what I liked about the Short Track. And believe you
me it was neat chasing Bart Markel, as a Novice and Junior.

I won my heat, made the main, and should have won the Trophy
Dash (red flag last lap), at an Indoor in Amarillo Texas, as
a Novice, while watching from the sidelines was Bart
Markel # 4 and Dick Mann # 1. Good thing the Promoters paid
them show Money, because they didn’t get much of the purse
that night.

I got one about Bart though from my Junior Year 1973. It
was at Monroe Louisiana. We raced the Night Before in
Jackson Mississippi, and Markel was at both races.
Of course he was on his Sprint, and he made the main at
Monroe, and I believe he either had pole position, or the
next spot, and I didn’t make the main on my 326 Bultaco
Astro, and that’s why I have this story, sort of a
“Panic in the Pits” Story. Lol

There was a big crowd that day in Louisiana, when the Main
Event lined up, and they got an unexpected show. As the
Main lines up, the announcer introduces each rider and of
course there was a lot he could say about National Number 4.
My wife goes up into the stands but I stayed behind and was
hanging out as close to the door going onto the track, as
I could.
When they started cranking the Race bikes, they found the
rear tire flat on Markels Harley Sprint. Markel notified
the Referee, before going back to the pits, and the
Referee said, “Take your time, we will wait for you.”
Markel rides the Sprint out of the coliseum, as the other
riders kill their engines, to wait.
Most folks were getting ready to watch the main, and no one
appeared to be at Markels Pits as I followed him. Markel
Gets off the Sprint Hands me the bike, (I was standing there),
and gets his air tank to fill up the tire.
It didn’t go well as it didn’t hold air, so Markel gets his
stand so we can change the wheel.
Bart has the crescent wrench loosing the axle nut, and I asked
which wheel did he want. Without saying a word he just pointed
and I got it. Markel never took his helmet off while he worked
on the bike. I heard them fire off the bikes inside the
coliseum, and I told Bart to Hurry. Bart said, “He said
They would Wait for me”
Bart didn’t seem to be in a Panic Hurry. If he had know they
had the two-minute clock on him I am sure he would of went
much faster, but he thought they would wait on him. It
sounded to me like they were getting ready to start the race,
and
they did.
Bart pulled to the doorway, as the main is making their first
lap on the indoor Short Track. Now I have No Idea who won
the Main that Night, or who got second or any other position,
because Markel moved to the Spot Light.

YOU COULD HEAR MARKEL IN THE STANDS,
without the P. A. System, as he told the officials what he
thought about them. He didn’t hold back. Lol
There was an official talking with Markel and the big crowd
stayed glued to their seats, but he wasn’t talking as loud
as Markel, so you couldn’t hear what he was saying.
Bart Markel...... you could hear him as he kept saying,

BUT YOU SAID YOU WOULD WAIT FOR ME!!!!!

I won’t say what all else he said, (just use your imagination)
But none of it was nice. Lol This went on for several minutes,
as Bart was HOT!
The crowd got off to it, Naturally. Most crowds get up to
leave at the Finish of the last race of the day, but they
didn’t in Monroe Louisiana.
Now I knew the rule Book says you can have Two-minutes,
Markel Knew that as well as everyone else, but they said
they would wait for him, and They didn’t.
Afterward My wife told me they even announced it on the
P.A. System they were going to wait on Bart Markel.
Wild Will


It was 1965(I think), I was 16, and a buddy of mine and I decided to make the big trip to the Tulare Ca ½ mile national. Anyway, Bart hadn’t looked that good all night, but he did make the main. Well at the start of the race he was running at the back of the pack, may have even been dead last. The track was really bad that night, deep, dusty and soooo rough. Well several laps into the main Bart started making the turns into diamonds, and literally was using the fence as a berm. Well he went from last (or close to it) to first in the last few laps. It was the wildest thing this 16 year old had ever seen. Well after the race my buddy and I were sitting on the infield grass, just kinda “chilling” and who walks up to us, no other then Big Bad Bart and says “hey kid, with all that hair you must have a comb”. Now I did have long hair in those days, but I didn’t have a comb on me!! Now I still don’t know why Bart wanted a comb, his hair was about 1/8” long, but I can tell you that I sure wished that night that I had a comb on me. I would have never used it again and had it framed or something.
stormy37p

 

I guess I was fortunate to know Bart in his calmer days. I knew of him of course and of his Black Bart persona, and I had seen him race and be every bit, Black Bart. But I finally had the oppertunity to get to know him personaly, near the end of his competitive career when we were both involved with Team Vista-Sheen and Jay & Ken Springsteen, Ted Boody and Randy Goss. Bart really took his job as a mentor for Ted and Randy, and it was fun to see him in action. Dispite his on track Black Bart persona, he was a real sweetheart, and took his job with those two guys seriously. I think he and Joann all but adopted Teddy, at one point in time??
Ray Ninness




I just remember something else, more of a Joann story, but nonetheless, Bart and Joann were a team themsleves. Joann was always coming up with out-fits for Bart at the races, his overall's with Micky on them etc. In 1975 the AMA was trying to make racing look "More Porfessional", anyone coming onto the track to assist a rider had to wear white pants and a white "T Shirt. So Rich the owner of Vista-Sheen decised he wanted some sharp dressed uniforms for Team Vista-Sheen and Joann came up with the yellow and black overall's, that were certainly noticable. Soon after we showed up at the tracks, both Harley and Yamaha had Joann sewing up uniforms for them too, several other team followed suite and the race tracks started looking pretty colorful ..
I still have my Team Vista-Sheen jacket stored somewhere around the house.. It's cold out, this might be a good day to wear it??
Ray Ninness




Ray,
I am so sorry this sport lost Bart Markel.
I kinda senced this was coming, after I got off the
phone with you last week but never suspected
it would be a matter of days.
I hope he got the chance to read my
"Bart Markel Roast" - "Michigan Mafia--X-Men
bit that I wrote &
maybe got a chuckle or two out of it.
The only chance I ever got to meet him was at a
race in Philly at the
Spectrum in 71 or 72 on the concrete on his Sprint.
I remember Stevie Hernandez won that year on his DMR but
Bart was definately my hero all day on that silly-ass sprint!
Probably the only 4 stroke on the track that day
going up against guys like Gary Hodges on his
Suzuki Hustler 250 twin!
What a contrast in sound down the straight!
When I was a kid-racer I got the book
"The Bart Markel Story" by Joe Scalzo &
still have it to this day!
I honestly have to say--
that a stupid-ass bar exists today
in a stupid-ass baseball town
pushing a sport that means more to me
than any baseball fan could even comprehend as a
direct result of heroes from my youth that led a
lost kid down a path that he would later call
"The Best Years Of His Life"!
Freddie Nix, Rex Beauchamp & Bart Markel
will always be remembered in the
"Lost & Found" department of this
punk-ass kids memories!
In raising kids--
my best fatherly advise was always--
"Be Careful Who You Emulate"
I know the heroes I held dear to me as a kid--
I have no regrets!
GodSpeed to all my heroes!
To the Markel Family
With the Greatest Respect & Sadness--
Artie Randall


Thanks Art I had the same feeling after I got off the phone with you, perhpas that's why I didn't call him then???
You put things off until tomorrow and one day there is no tomorrow..
Ray Ninness




The chin strap is "So Bart"
Bart was the last person in racing you attach the title "Road racer" to.. But I got to see him try to road race several times, and it was painful to watch.. The wildest was watching him at Road Atlanta back about 1971 or so.. He was pushing the envolope so to speak, I think he had a partial fairing on the bike, and half mile bars?? I remember watching him come thundering down the hill into the last turn, a nice sharp right hander, leaning in with his right foot out, and the bike head shaking like a leaf. He finally hunted Cal Rayborn down to help him sort the bike out... Believe me that was a trip through the park.. Rayborn was all over Bart, because the bike was a reall mess. The front brake was something Cal had given Bart basically to throw away, but it found it's way onto Bart's bike. Finally Cal grabbed the bikes front wheel between his knees, and twisted the bars, which almost hit the gas tank when he cranked on them. Cal calmely suggested that they try tightening the Treble Clamp bolts before the next practice session, and walked away shaking his head..
Bart was different that was for sure.
Ray Ninness


Coming home from Houston in 76, I was driving we were deading towards Texarkana. There were cops all over the place, so I was right at the speed limit. Bart wasn't happy with the progress we were making getting back to Michigan, and finally said, "Let me drive", I want to get back to Michigan this week. No sooner had he gotten behind the wheel, and up to speed, Bart Speed that is. I just laid down between the seats, when I saw this little flashing red light in the chrome trim in the ceiling of the van?? Bart says "Oh ####" and pulls over.. The funniest cop I've ever seen, a perfect Cartoon of a Texas Cop wanders up to the van, No Front Teeth, huge cowboy hat, cowboy boots with turned up toes, and a typical Cowboy holster, and gun on, worn under his huge tumy.. He came around to the side door of the van and it was all I could do, NOT to Laugh.. He checks Bart drivers license, and finally says, "Well folks, Mr. Mar-Kel is going to have to come and see the judge with me.. There's a nice gift shop at the bottom of the hill here, you folks can all head down there and we'll be back shortly". Fortyfive minutes later Bart was back. They figured out who he was and were real accomidating, the fine was $19.00, and Bart said the judge told him, "If you'll pay that in cash money Mr. Mar-Kel we can assure you that the State of Michigan will not here about this" And as you can imagine Bart had an ear to ear grin on his face, through it all:-)
Godspeed Bart
Ray Ninness



Bart Markel Story
I have a Good Story about Bart Markel. Now this is not My Story, as I wasn’t there, when it happened.
It is One Of those Stories that has been passed down through the Decades, from one generation to another.
Best I can Remember I first heard this story in 1964 when I was at those Races at Dodge City Kansas,
Which I wrote about in My Al Gunter Story.
I am not sure what year It actual happened, but it was before 1964. It may have happened in the late Fifties.
It was at one of those Kansas Race Tracks, and I believe It was at Dodge City Kansas.
The Race Track had no Guard Rails or hay bales, but had A wooden Fence around The Turns and Back Straight-a-way. It was an Old Fence, probably built back in the Depression during the WPA Days.
Bart Markel was Flying around on his KR, about mid pack, as I remember the Story Going.
In The Race were guys with names like, Mann, Nix, Nixon, Gunter, Roeder, Tanner, Lawwill, Dovel, Keene. (The List goes on….You pick the names), but they were some of the best in the business.
Bart was up on the outside, and as he came down the front straight heading for turn one, he left the ole throttle on and just plain ran out of race track. With Split Second Thinking Bart doesn’t go into the fence sideways, as he sits straight up and runs head on into that wooden Fence. He didn’t fall down, as he found himself on the outside of the Race Track.
Can’t You just Picture a cut-out of Markel’s Bike and Body in that wooden Fence.
Now mere Mortal Racers would probably just be happy they didn’t fall, slow down, turn around and after the race was over just ride back through that spot he just smashed out of that fence, and wave to the crowd.
That’s what Most Folks would do but NOT BART MARKEL. As far as Markel was concerned He was still in the race. He gets the KR Flat Head turned on that Grassy Knoll outside that fence and Blasted Back through that Wooden Fence over at turn two, and rejoined the race down the back Straight-a-way.
Legend Talk has it that Ole Bart even passed several riders after he rejoined the race, and finished in a podium position.
That is basically how I remember The Story the fist time I heard it, but through the years I have heard other versions, and I must Admit I have told the Old Story More than a Few Times.
In One Version, I heard Bart actually Won the Race, and yet another one, “My favorite”, Bart passed three riders during his off track maneuver.
Wild Will



Ok one last story..
Off for a weekend of racing with Team Vista-Sheen, and as usual Bart was driving the Team Vista-Sheen van, towing a trailer with two XR's starpped on. Ted Boody and Randy Goss were in another van, and if I remember they too had a trailer and a couple of bikes dragging behind?? As was typical of Bart he would NEVER let anyone get ahead of him, and that included the highway and especially Ted and Randy.. They would find there way by Bart in traffic and Bart would blast back by into the lead. We were looking of a place to eat, and Bart took the wrong exit, and as we were heading up the exit ramp there goes Randy and Ted flying by horn tooting, and arms waving as they blasted into the lead, so to speak.. Bart realizing the error, catchs a quick left, over the finger of land that formed the exit, and down the hill back toward the freeway. Everybody in the van was screaming, "What The", stuff was falling all over the place, the trailer and XR's attached were bouncing all over the place. But the race was on, and Randy and Ted had a good lead. Randy and Ted being good racers themselves had a plan. They camped out next to a Mom and Pop's couple in a old Chevy waddeling along at 55 MPH just waiting for the next exit, at which point they figured to spped up and leave Bart zero options, and in second place.. I'm sure they were amazed to see our van closing fast like in 110MPH fast from behind, and not slowing a bit. Those of us in the van were likewise concerned too, but Bart had a plan. He blasted past the Mom anmd Pop's Chevy, taking to the shoulder of the freeway, leaving Randy and Ted pooking along at 55 MPH, and learning yet another lesson from Balck Bart.. The look on the faces on not only Randy and Ted, but the couple in the Chevy out the back window of the van as we blasted past at over 100MPH was, Priceless.

Ray Ninness


Come On Forum members.
Tell us Your Bart Markel Story.
If You are Too Young to have seen Bart Race,
Then Tell Us What You Heard about Bart.
The Guy Was Legend among Legends in Flat Track History
If You are Old Enough to have got to see Bart Race.
How about The First Time You saw him Race.
I want to Hear Some Bart Markel Stories.
Come On.
Wild Will




Racing fans, family remember motorcycle legend

FLINT
THE FLINT JOURNAL FIRST EDITION
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
By Todd Seibt
tseibt@flintjournal.com • 810.766.6315

FLINT - Bartlett D. "Bart" Markel, the godfather of flat-track racing in Flint and one of the greatest racers in American Motorcyclist Association history, died on Saturday. He was 71.

"My dad's theory of racing was if you can't win the race, you better fall down trying," said his daughter, Stacey Kelly of Flint. Kelly was with her dad when he died quietly at home. He had been in poor health for a while, she said.

"He just had no fear - he had no fear. That's probably why he did so well (racing)," she said.

Markel, who spent decades as an AC Spark Plug Division skilled trades worker, leaves behind many friends, family, admirers and racing enthusiasts in the Flint area.

But it was in the dirt, sliding motorcycles tire-to-tire around racetracks at high speed, where the Flint native left major national marks.

Teamed with sponsor Bert Cummings of Cummings Harley-Davidson in Flint, Markel helped fire up a slew of famous Flint-area racers -including Jay Springsteen, Scott Parker and Randy Goss - in the gritty arena of flat-tracking.

Markel, Springsteen, Parker and Goss collectively won 17 Grand National titles, according to the AMA.

Markel competed in more than 140 AMA Grand National Series races before retiring in 1972. In 1998, he was inducted into the AMA's Hall of Fame.

He won the AMA Grand National Championship three times during the 1960s.

The former Golden Gloves boxing champion's aggressive riding style earned him the nicknames "Black Bart" and "Bad Bart," according to friend and fellow racer John Zwerican, 63, of Clio.

At one point, Markel was suspended from racing for his rough riding style, according to the AMA.

Quoted on the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum Web site, Markel said he just "didn't like following anybody," and if they gave him an inch on the track, he took a foot.

That's exactly how Zwerican remembers him - a fierce competitor. Zwerican was 15 or 16 when he met Markel, and the two became friends and racing companions over the years.




Scott Parker and other Flint area riders will gather Tuesday evening, 6:00 pm at Brick Street Bar and Grill, located at 1223 E. Grand Blanc Road, Grand Blanc, Mich., to remember and trade tales about Bart. Brick Street is just east of Fenton Road and just west of Dort Hwy. Coming from US-23 take Exit #88. Coming from I-75 take Exit #109.


Thanks to the Flint Racing "Family" A very special honor was paid to Bart and his family at a small gathering yesterday.
It seemed fitting this bike - one of Bart's "KRs" - was among the crowd; along with many famous Dirttrackers.
We know Bart would have been proud.
Ray & Deb Gorney 48x


Photos by   Ray Ninness    http://www.f8photos.com



AMA Motorcycle Hall Of Fame

Motorsports Hall Of Fame

Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame

Magazine Article






By Harry Miller