By Floyd Busby

        Bay Cities Racing Association Hall of Fame member Bert Moreland passed away in early December. Bert drove midgets with BCRA beginning in 1946 and was seriously injured in 1950 when he flipped over the wall at the Contra Costa Speedway. Prior to his injury, he won two main events in 1947, placing 14th in points. He placed 19th in '48 out of 131 drivers and the following year again scored two feature wins and placed 12th. Along with other BCRA competitors, Bert raced at the famed Gilmore Speedway in Southern California. His accident in 1950 paralyzed him from the waist down and he spent the rest of his life in a wheel chair.
  The goodness of his fellow competitors came to the fore after the accident. Many midget and hard top drivers built Bert's home on property in Santa Clara. This is where his two sons, John and Lester were born and raised.
    As soon as Bert became mobile, Bob Barkhimer put him to work at the pit gate at Cal Stock races. This continued when Barky, along with Margo Burke, created Bob Barkhimer Associates with more than 20 race tracks in California. Eventually Bert became manager of the Watsonville Speedway and continued his association when Ken Clapp and Burke purchased BBA from Barky and created CARS, Inc. After he retired from CARS, Inc., Bert worked the back pit gate for John Soares at Petaluma before final retirement.
        A few years ago, with the passing of his wife Gay, he sold his Santa Clara home and moved to Ripon to be with his son John.
     I remember as a youngster in 1949 riding as a passenger with Bert and my father, towing a midget to race at Fortuna. As we were taking one of the many turns through the coastal mountains, all of a sudden I saw a wheel pass us and bounce up the steep hillside. It was the left wheel from the midget trailer. Bert and dad secured it back onto the trailer and we were on our way.
        Former BCRA champion Gary Koster has restored the rail midget that Bert drove for owner/builder Freddie Agabashian. In 1948 he ran 14 races and in 1949 campaigned the car nine times at the Oakland indoor races. In the Tom Motter book, "BCRA - the First 50 Years", a photo of Bert in the Agabashian car is on page 64.
    A long and distinguished career....Bert Moreland will be missed.


PHOTO: Bert Moreland was inducted into the BCRA Hall of Fame in 2000.

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