Yankee Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

First Letter:

My brother Dave showed me the Yankee Registry you sent us and we noted interest in the ISDT and Donny Cutler, Charlie Vincent and Dave Latham. We grew up about 3 or 4 miles from Donny Cutler's. After my Yamaha mini-enduro, I had a Kawasaki "100" Greenstreak which was one fast little bike when it wasn't pumping wristpin needle bearings through the transfer ports or blowing up in many other ways I'd never seen before. I raced it in what I think was the first Junior Enduro that Donald Cutler and Marcia McDonald put on, later to be a Series, and the 'Streak did it again. I think it was the brakes on both ends that fell apart that day. Dave (my brother, not Latham) had a "Trail Boss" which was the dual purpose version of the "Mean Streak", same thing (almost) which NEVER blew up! So I think I was about 16 or 17 when Donny got both me and Max Markowitz on Ossa Pioneers, the bike Donny was using for ISDT and other enduro racing at the time. ('Think Donny's still got at least one, according to his brother, who my brother sees regularly). The Pioneer I owned was aquired for me, I think, by Marcia McDonald and was Charlie Vincent's bike before I got it. These bikes were more like the Stiletto in appearance, with the short rear fender and small seat, but with a high pipe and lights. They looked like the Six-Days Replica that Ossa came out with in '73, a little different than the square-tailed Pioneers being sold at the time. Max and I used to ride together regularly as kids and we still stay in touch. Max did a couple of ISDT's on Taylor's bikes, but I did manage to whip him once in a Junior Enduro. My brother Dave, myself and Max have been up to Taylor's Yankee shop so for all I know you may have met all of us. Thanks again for the Registry and I hope you find my short little history here to be of some interest.

Marc Belleville

Second Letter:

Got hold of Max Markowitz and related that Marc had joined the "Yankee Motorcycle Registry," and asked if he'd like to help. Max was immediately interested, as I expected, and offered to contribute his knowlege and experiences. Max ran in two ISDT's on John Taylor's bikes, but not on the Yankee, although he's ridden Marc's. Since Ossa/Yankee history and enthusiasm is steeped in the ISDT, it was Max that made arrangements for Marc's Yankee to be displayed at the entrance to the 2001 N.E.T.R.A. Banquet in Newport, RI., a series that both Max and Marc still compete in on an occassional basis. We're planning to get together with Max, Marc and possibly who knows Saturday, 2-9-02. Max stated a number of people he'd like to contact about this and dropped me dead when I mentioned Marcia. He said he had just asked one of the Cutler brothers about Marcia McDonald today. Max definitely knows much about Marcia's involvement back then and said he'd mention the Registry should he ever manage to contact her. The plot thickens.

Dave Belleville
2-7-02 Thursday"

Third Letter:

Max Markowitz: "I was friends with Rick (Don Cutler's son), living just two miles away. Rick had a Yamaha 80 and I bought it from him. Then Rick got a Hodaka Super Rat, which I liked enough to go buy a new one for myself, and one day Marcia (McDonald) took me and the Super Rat to a farm to ride which we weren't allowed to do that day. On the way home, we went by Marc Belleville's house (I knew Marc from school) and saw him and a friend getting ready to go riding, so I told Marcia to turn around, as these guys were kidding me that I couldn't ride. Marc was going pretty good on a Yamaha Mini Enduro, but the Super Rat had it covered. So that was the first time me and Marc rode together, and we started doing it regularly. About this time, Marcia was starting what turned into the Junior Enduro Series. She got me an Ossa Pioneer, which I think was Donald Cutler's Six Day bike from the year before, rebuilt by Taylor's Yankee shop, and not too long after that, she got one for Marc, which I think was Charlie Vincent's bike from the year before, same situation. So about this time, me and Marc were chasing each other through the local woods pretty often now that we both had real motorcycles. So here I am trying to do my best to impress Marcia in the Junior Enduro Series and Marc entered the last race of the year, beat me, and then quit the Series because he turned 16. I couldn't believe Marc, of all people, beat me, not some other damn fooI I didn't know anything about, but Marc Belleville, my "riding buddy". (Marc's laughing, Max Is emphatic.....) "I won the Series the next year."
Marc B: "I don't know if it was 16 or what, but I was too old."
Max Markowitz:"You know, somewhere around that time, I think Dave Eames, who raced Yankees later on, got me and Marc to load up the Pioneers into Marc's Datsun pickup to go ride at a sandbank down near New London, CT. (maybe to check us out?) After I got too old for the Junior Enduro Series, I started doing NETRA events and some of the Six Day Qualifiers. Dave (Marc's brother) crewed for me and a few other guys at a number of them; we were trying to figure out how many he did and we had a few good laughs at some of the shennanigans we pulled at the events, and on the way home. Both Dave and I recalled one long ride home in a blizzard that made the Qualifier look easy. I think it was just before my first ISDT that Marc bought a brand new Yankee, which he's still got so while we still rode together, we didn't compete against each other, though there was one event with the Pioneers where Marc was in front of me AGAIN, crashed, took me out with him and wrecked my knee in the process. I think Kevin Lavoie was behind me and he might have been collected too."
Marc B: "That was a Qualifier, Birkshire maybe? I wrecked the bike, fixed it, then the electrical system died. Kevin might have been far enough back to escape, I can't remember."
Dave B: "Max, he can STILL do it. Remember Freetown last August, 'put himself in the hospital for my birthday, said "there was a rock that wasn't supposed to be there." (we're all laughing) "But he redeemed himself there last month, what was it, a 3rd?" Marc B. "Yeah, but I missed a race! 'Like to at least get a top five in the points."
Max Markowitz: "How 'bout The Corduroy Enduro; that was a Canadian ISDT Qualifier for the folks up north. It was like a intramural grudge match between the U.S. guys and the Canadians. I almost won the first one, my gas guy missed the tank and poored gas on me instead. (NOT me!..Dave B.) Then I won the next two, kind of crapped up the works for the Canadians, but racing is racing." ISDT. England. Isle of Man. 1975...
Max Markowitz: "Marcia McDonald was the Team Manager. She was the first woman ever to manage an ISDT Team, and she had an impressive racing record herself. Donald (Cutler) was Team Captain. Don had mechanical problems and missed the Gold by 5.5 seconds. Charlie Vincent had transmission problems and dropped out on day 4. Kevin Lavoie came from Marcia's Junior Enduro Program, like I did, and missed the Gold Medal in a collision with a mail truck. I think I was the youngest guy in the ISDT, and on the first day I found myself on the hood and windshield of a car, watching my bike go flying. Some guy hit me from behind, knocking me off the Gold."

Max Markowitz, Marc, and Dave Belleville
2-9-02 Saturday afternoon"

Fourth Letter:

While we were talking today Max provided much info from his collection for Marc and I to dig into later, and I found the following account in the December 1975 issue of The New England TRAIL RIDER magazine concerning Max at the 1975 ISDT: "Youthful Max (Markowitz) was a victim of a crash with a car on the first day, and spent the balance of the week hanging on to his Bronze Medal, despite further incidents and a badly bent frame. Max got lost on day 1, regained the route, and was slowing for a turn off a road when he was hit from behind by a car. After getting himself back together from this, he carried on, but nearly an hour late, and irrevocably down to a Bronze Medal. Team Manager (Marcia) McDonald applied to the FIM Jury for restoration of his lost points on the basis of the fact that he was not at fault in the accident, with proof supplied by the local police, but the Jury declined to restore the points on the grounds that no provision existed in the FIM rules for such an eventuality. Max carried on anyway, and on the third day set the second fastest time in the speed test. Not bad for a teenaged rider in his first ISDT on a bent motorcycle with aching bones."
Grateful Thanks to Max for his time, help and interest.

Below are some Yankee Z 500 race results (continuing):
1974, Connecticut Dragway ( ! ) - Marc Belleville, Trophy, 1st Place, "C" Stock, Yankee Z 500 ( * we'll get to that...)
1972, May, Birkshire International 3-Day Trials- Dave Eames, Silver, Yankee Z 500
1972, Oct 16-17, Birkshire International 2-Day Trials- Dave Eames, Gold, Overall Win, Yankee Z 500

Dave Belleville
2-9-02 Saturday evening"

This page was last updated Sunday, November 25, 2002.