Bob Eastman

Race in Peace Bob Eastman

Last night, I swore I heard an unusual, cackling thunder. Soon after it started, I heard another noise – one I couldn’t identify.

What I didn’t know was that at around 7:00 last night, Bob Eastman walked through the pearly gates. The snow was a perfect white, but Bob wasn’t cold at all.

The first one to greet him and shake his hand, with a big smile, was David Johnson. The next person he saw was none other than a smiling Jerry Bunke, who shook his hand and promptly handed him a helmet.

Together they walked over to a lineup of 1973 Polaris Starfires: A 340 all cut to pieces for Jerry (just the way he liked it!), and a brand new 800cc Starfire for Bob. After Bob looked the machine over for a bit, he looked up to see more Starfires lined up next to him.

Dorothy Mercer, Leroy Lindblad, Lavern Hagen, and Stan Hayes each had their own Starfires, belching out two-stroke smoke and raring to go.

No one had to say anything. Bob pulled on his helmet, threw his leg over the seat while Jim Beilke furiously snapped pictures.  Looking up, Bob spotted Ted Otto with a flag in his hand, and moments later he lifted it and shook it towards the sky like it was on fire.

Bob and his friends were off in a cloud of whipped up snow, and they kept racing through the night.

At least that’s what I heard. And that other sound? I”m pretty sure that was Bob having so much fun that I could hear him laughing under his helmet.

Race In Peace, Gentleman Bob Eastman, Race in Peace.

Top photo by Jim Beilke, Snowtech Magazine archives.

The 1973 Race Team: Bob Eastman, Jim Bernat, Leroy Lindblad, Stan Hayes, Larry Rugland and Dorothy Mercer

Bob on his 1974 650cc Starfire at Eagle River.


The passion, triumph, dominance and tragedy of one of the most successful
efforts in motorsports: The Polaris Professional Race Team


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