Art Robbins, known to motorcycle roadracing fans as Art the Dart, has died. He was 59 years old.
Robbins is widely considered one of the greatest natural roadracing talents to ever come out of Canada. A legendary hoon on two wheels in his hometown of Scarborough, Ontario, he showed up at national Amateur Superbike races in 1981, and by season’s end, was invited to jump into the Pro ranks. In the last two races of the season, he finished second only behind the legendary Lang Hindle.
From there, Robbins had several successful seasons throughout the 1980s, with his legendary, no-holds-barred riding style stamping itself on the memories of a whole generation of roadracing fans. Everyone who was there says the same thing: Art the Dart made speed look easy. Fans loved him, because he was fun to watch, and loved to party. Robbins won the 1983 and 1985 RACE Eastern Canada championships, the predecessor to the CSBK title. He often won races on bikes that would have been uncompetitive in anyone else’s hands, including a season on a Yamaha TZ750 two-stroke long after its prime.
Unfortunately, Robbins’s personal life was filled with tragedy; his parents both died when he was young. As he grew older, he suffered from substance abuse problems that plagued him through his career, and intensified once his racing career wrapped up.
Robbins died in hospital on Thursday, June 23, after weeks in intensive care. His death announcement says there will be a celebration of life at some point in Scarborough; no doubt, there will be details coming about that. For now, we’ll leave you with this footage of a race from the early years of Robbins’ career: