Bruce Flanders: Voice of Everything
Words & Photos: Howie Zechner
Bruce Flanders announcing at Costa Mesa Speedway – picture courtesy of Bruce Flanders
Those of us in the two-wheel persuasion think the Flanders guy is a motorcycle announcer. Of course, why wouldn’t we? After all he started at the Orange County Fairgrounds announcing.
Speedway Motorcycle racing in 1969. Just the beginning Bruce went on to be the track announcer at countless Speedway venues and was so revered at the now defunct Inland Motorcycle Speedway that fans openly rebelled when a new promoter spoke of bringing in another.
Bruce Flanders at IMS holding a picture of him with Speedway World Champions Jack Milne and Bruce Penhall – picture courtesy of Howie Zechner
Forty-seven years gone and Flanders still announces Speedway at the City of Industry. He is the man that fans, racers and promoters call The Voice of Speedway. Don’t believe me, well stop by any Wednesday Night and see for yourself. Flanders should be good you say. After all dad owned Flanders Company, a motorcycle dealership, repair facility and parts house in Pasadena, California. Bruce, brothers John and Paul all worked there so motorcycles, speed, sponsorship and racing were the family business. John Flanders still works the business to this day.
It was a wonderful upbringing Bruce told me. Dad Earl, the 1948 Enduro Champion and mom Lucile were big-shots with the AMA, SCTA, SRA and other motorcycle organizations. Both Earl and Lucile Flanders have been inducted into the AMA and Trailblazers Hall of Fame.
As Chief Timing Official at the Bonneville Salt Flats Earl, Lucile and the boys were accustom to spending weeks on the road. Racing the Catalina GP or handling check points out in the middle of the Mojave Desert for races like the two-day Greenhorn Enduro, wherever they competed or officiated it was a family affair and the kids enjoyed participating.
Bruce’s exposure to such a wide variety of disciplines and locations led to an education that shaped the cornerstone of Flanders announcing career. Racing Speedway motorcycles for a few seasons also helped, as did a 1973 record setting run at the Bonneville Salt Flats for the fastest production motorcycle. Flanders 141.703 mph Yoshimura Kawasaki record stood for seven years.
Speedway racer Bruce with brother Paul Flanders at Costa Mesa Speedway – picture courtesy of Bruce Flanders
Drags, Speedway motorcycles and motocross at the old Irwindale Speedway and Sprint Cars at Corona Raceway. Promoting was one more brick in Flanders wall of motorsport evolution.
But like a moth to flame it always came back to announcing. It’s what Bruce loved. He knew it would be his life's calling.
Know for his obsession with name pronunciation, race states and sponsorship Bruce Flanders is a perfectionist who always does his homework before word one is uttered. He researches every event and all those involved. Not being prepared or having all the facts are not in Bruce’s MO (modus operandi) and is a betrayal of everything the man believes in. That devotion to detail has not gone unnoticed. It’s made him an announcing superstar.
Bruce Flanders doing a TV interview in 2007 – picture courtesy of Dorcey Alan Wingo
I average 53 flights out of a suitcase before it needs replacement the Flanders guys jokingly told me. No lie he’s worked most every major sanctioning body and racetrack in America and even some in Europe. A short list includes names like Formula One, IndyCar, CART, NASCAR, AMA, NHRA, IMSA, SCCA, FIM, SCTA and more. Better know locations include Ascot, the Hangtown GP, the original Irwindale Raceway, Glen Helen, Laguna Seca, Sears Point,the Caesars Place Grand Prix, the Miami Grand Prix, Daytona Motor Speedway, Watkins Glen, Irwindale, Fremont, Orange County International, Lions Drag Strip, Englandıs Wembley Stadium, EuroSpeedway Lausten Ring in Germany and so many others. More than one of the above havecalled Bruce Flanders “the voice of”. It’s a respect title like judge, or president or sir I’m guessing.
Costa Mesa Speedway announcer Terry Clanton, article author Howie Zechner, Bruce Flanders
The Irwindale Event Center is another place that Flanders calls home. Built in 1999 this Half Mile Super Speedway features NASCAR and another dozen or so four-wheel classes and sanctioning bodies.
Fans there call him The Voice of Irwindale Speedway. Judge for yourself as it runs most Saturdays
The Grand Prix race at Long Beach is another Flanders haunt. Bruce has announced every race there
Naturally they call him The Voice of the Grand Prix.
Bruce Flanders doing Victory Circle at the Long Beach Grand Prix - picture courtesy of Bruce Flanders
On Thursday April 14, 2016 Bruce Flanders became the 25th person to be inducted into the Long Beach Motorsports Walk of Fame. Movers, shakers and motorized royalty were in attendance and sang the praises of Flanders. The Mayor spoke about Bruce’s legendary contributions to the field of motorsports. Flanders medallion that includes a microphone was unveiled in the sidewalk on Pine Avenue in front of the Long Beach Convention Center.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia gives 2016 Walk of Fame recipient Bruce Flanders a plaque commending the celebration
Congratulations Bruce Flanders. You truly are The Voice of Everything.