Bangin' it out with "Banger"
By: Ryan Webb
I got a chance to sit down and have a talk with "Banger." That's Mark Lincoln Straubinger for those of you who don't know. He owns and operates Banger Race Announcing. He's from the south, so down there they said Straubanger so that's how he got the name Banger. He hails from Tallahassee, Florida, but he was born in Ohio and moved down to Florida at the age of six. Banger is the voice of the ATVA Motocross Circuit. He announces all of the races and is the voice that you will hear coming over your radio if you tune in at the races. He's laid back and loves to be at the races and announce the events.
R450: How long have you been doing Banger Race Announcing?
Banger: I've been announcing for eighteen years. I've been announcing professionally for about twelve years. It started out as just a hobby. I actually used to be a racer; I raced a Tri-Z 250 in the 1985-86 seasons. Back then it was called the AATVA for American All Terrain Vehicle Association. The demise of the three-wheelers brought down my enthusiasm. I never really could get into the bikes like I did the atc's, as the three-wheelers were called. I wanted to stay involved in the sport, and one-day I was working at a local go-cart track in Tallahassee, when the local DJ who was supposed to announce didn't show up, they had me announce the race. I sort of copied the voice from the old Veg-o-matic commercial where the guy was like, "It's the Veg-o-matic, slices, dices, and makes julienne fries." So I used that voice and everyone liked my announcing, so when the DJ did show up they sent him home. They had me announce after that. There were some national events that came through after that, and they liked the way I worked. I try to make sure that I keep everybody happy. One thing that I do is try to take care of the vendors. Most announcers just announce the race, but I like to keep everybody involved. I think that is probably why the vendors like to have me at an event. I want to plug the people that help make the race happen.
R450: Are you married?
Banger: No, I'm not married, but I have a girlfriend. Her name is Stephanie Sturgis. She has a couple of little kids, and we all live together in my house in Tallahassee.
R450: Does she travel around and go to the races with you?
Banger: Every once in awhile she goes to the races with me. She's not really into racing very much. Also she is going to school and has to watch the kids, so she has her own schedule.
R450: So, do they keep you pretty busy while you are at the tracks?
Banger: Actually, I stay pretty busy the whole time I am here. I usually fly to the events that are north of Tennessee. I usually show up on Friday around ten-thirty and get into my routine. I own a property management company in Tallahassee and have some rental properties there, so I have to take care of business at home too.
R450: I know that you talk to a lot of the guys that are here. Are you friends with a lot of the people at the races?
Banger: I am friends with everybody. I don't know a stranger. I take pride in that. I really strive to do the best job that I can for every rider. Whether it is a C class rider or one of the pros, everyone deserves the same attention as the pro riders get. I have more friends here at the national circuit than I do in Tallahassee. I spend so much time on the road that I have only had three weekends off this entire year. When I'm not announcing the ATVA events, I announce the Winter National Olympics of Motocross, some other races at Loretta Lynn's, lot's of motocross, mud and monster shows, and every year, I even do a beaded jewelry show. I've got all kinds of crazy things going on.