David Bailey pays tribute to Art Eckman – special man

Long time co-commentator, David Bailey, has paid his tribute to the late, great Art Eckman. The commentary duo brought the sport to the next level in America with a mainstream depiction of the sport and inspired the rest of the world to race or follow US racing such was the quality of their work and how cool they made US racing look.

Art Eckman sadly passed away at age 81 and David gave his thoughts on the man and their relationship below:

“A special man who came along at just the right time for the sport. I feel blessed to have been sitting right next to him for so many years learning. He was genuinely interested in MX/SX and he used his experience and unforgettable voice to legitimize the sport while remaining as big a fan of it as any of us. He brought stats and kept detailed notes and helped not only me, but a lot of the riders to reach down a little deeper and give the viewer some extra insight.

“His humor, his incredible stories and his desire to explore the world and the cities we traveled to together was infectious. He knew all the good restaurants and clubs with excellent music. Being 20 years older he inspired me and gave me hope because he didn’t just talk about things, he went and did them. What a great time we had!

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“If it weren’t for him and his love for the sport I don’t think I would been there very long. I’m truly grateful for him and my heart goes out to his wife Donna and his family. We talked recently and he was always touched by the people who posted clips and shared their appreciation for the job he did while he was there. It mattered to him and that rubbed off on me as well. We had dinner a couple years ago. When it came time to leave I had a hard time driving away because I knew he had health issues and that might be the last time I ever saw him.. 🥺”

Broadcasting colleague Davey Coombs said: “Like a lot of other friends in the motorsports industry I was devastated to hear of the passing of longtime TV host, friend and mentor Art Eckman. He was 81 years old. Art’s voice was an indelible part of the soundtrack of our sport for a generation, and I was lucky enough to work with him and the great David Bailey through much of the 1990s and early 2000s. Together they were the good standard of SX/MX commenting. He was a true professional, gentleman, husband, father and mentor. Godspeed Art, and thank you…”

See the trio commentate on McGrath’s last supercross win here:

Jeremy McGrath said on Instagram: “I am saddened by the news of the legend Art Eckman’s passing. He was an amazing ambassador of @supercrosslive I will never forget his great work and yelling my name while calling the races. I am proud to call you a friend and thank you. I am sure the races in heaven will keep you busy.”

Chad Reed said: “What an absolute legend. The voice of my childhood watching supercross.”

Greg Albertyn said: “Wow, that’s sad. Art was a true gentleman. I always enjoyed talking with him and he was always so positive about all the riders. He will be missed.”

Stefan Everts said simply: “One of the best.”