Family, friends and fans of Matthew Noble Marker lined up for a chance at a new world record honoring the late rally driver, killed in an on-track crash last year in Washington. Organizers say a grand total of 365 Subaru vehicles drove in a two-mile parade in Elk Rapids, Michigan in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the longest parade of Subarus.
Marker was known as one of the most daring drivers in town, tearing through the northern Michigan backwoods every chance he got. Once be became of age, he decided to turn his passion into his living and began racing competitively, founding what would become the SubaRoots Racing Team. At the time of his April 30, 2011 death, he was in his fifth year of participating in the Rally America National Championship and was popular among his peers – even his most ardent competitors. During an Olympus Rally race, the 31-year-old driver’s car went off the road on a right turn, hitting a tree on the driver’s side. Co-driver Christopher Gordon was not seriously injured, but rescuers were unable to resuscitate Marker.
RallyCar Managing Director, J.B. Niday described Marker as “a generous, loveable personality that wouldn’t think twice about offering parts to other drivers,” he told reporters. “Matthew loved the sport and was a unique character from the first day he showed up at the Sno*Drift Rally.”
Marker was a “very passionate, energetic, hip gear-head that used to turn up with glowing neon lights under his car on the night stages, which the fans loved,” said fellow rally competitor Jake Blattner. “It’s a dangerous sport but that’s what sets it apart. It’s you against the open road and the clock.”
Sunday’s parade reportedly beat the standing record of 339 cars set in Itasca, Illinois in 2009, but Guinness has yet to give the official nod. It was led by Marker’s first rally car. The self-professed car fanatic owned 59 different Subarus during his short lifetime and would have turned 33rd on the day of the parade.
Continued condolences and congratulations to the Marker family and the RallyCar community from all of us here at E3 Spark Plugs.