The “Voice of Speedway” Bruce Flanders died Friday, August 14, 2020
Motorsports announcer Bruce Flanders died Friday, August 14, 2020, at his Southern California home in San Bernardino. Flanders battled Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) for a dozen years, working his craft while tethered to an oxygen bottle until early this year. He was 74 years old.
A Pasadena native, Bruce and his brothers, John and Paul, were born into a motorcycle-racing family. His father, Earl, raced speedway motorcycles before the war, ran the annual speed trials at the Bonneville Salt Flats and started a handlebar company, along with a BMW distributorship. Flanders soaked it all up and went to work in the family business following an Army stint in Vietnam. Bruce raced speedway for a few years and set a land-speed record that stood for seven years.
Flanders had an unmistakably rich baritone voice and began announcing speedway at Costa Mesa, then motocross at Lions Drag Strip. By 1975 he was announcing speedway races four nights a week, then sprint cars at Ascot Park on Saturday night. He became the voice of the Long Beach Grand Prix in 1978, announcing the event for 42 years. He was looking forward to doing it again earlier this year until the Covid-19 pandemic canceled the race.
Before long Bruce was doing every type of racing event: AMA National MX, flat track, road racing, drag races, Sprint cars, NASCAR, Supermoto, Monster Trucks, you name it, he announced it at the highest level, and usually wearing an ugly Hawaiian shirt. But his favorite type of racing was speedway motorcycles, hands down. The smaller venues, raucous crowd and intense racing combined with Flanders’ passion and sense of humor provided decades of good times for racers and fans that will never be forgotten.
Flanders was preceded in death by his wife, Vickie, who passed in 2018. He is survived by his brothers, Paul and John, and his children, Megan and Michael.
Rest in Peace, Bruce, you were one of a kind. ~Steve Bauer