Feature Article, Other Motorsports, Washington — June 25, 2004 at 4:47 pm

Russ Rockwell (issue 59)

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59-russ-rockwell

 

By Steve Heeb

Tumwater motorcycle racer Russ Rockwell goes by the fitting moniker: Rock.

With early wins already at the national event in Phoenix and a West divisional race, Rockwell has rocketed to seventh nationally in the All Harley Drag Race Associations’s Super Gas points chase. Rockell also nabbed a win at Bremerton Raceway’s season opener April 11.

He has plans to compete in the whole West division of the AHDRA circuit this year, as well as taking in as many Cascade Drag Bike Association events as he can.

And when he’s not on the road, Rockwell manages to keep the doors open at R&R Motors, his aftermarket Harley parts and service business.

A buddy in Rockwell’s original hometown of Omaha, Neb., helped Rockwell catch Harley fever through work at the Black Rose Machine Shop.

“He got me into the Harley drag racing scene and we went to Sturgess together.”

At 30, Rockwell headed to the Harley School in Phoenix before setting up his Tumwater business.

Rockwell began racing street bikes at Seattle Int’l Raceway about 11 years ago atop a ’76 Harley Davidson Shovelhead with a 98-inch motor.

His current thunder machine is a slick Pro Mod beast strapped around a 119-inch motor.

Krazy and Clark at Pacific Corvette in Puyallup applied the bike’s black sparkle and purple flame paint job.

“They did a damn fine job,” Rockwell says of their craftsmanship.

Art Ray helps turn wrenches as Rockwell’s crew chief on the Harley drag circuit.

Rockwell’s racing efforts also get sponsorship support from the Cedar Inn Bar and Lounge in Olympia, Rivera Engineering Primo Belt Drives and Davidson Racing Engines.

Rockwell has been racing with 28-year veteran Art Davidson for two years, including a trek to Gainesville last year.

“He’s got a lot of potential,” Davidson quips of Rockwell’s racing. “He’ll probably be top of the division this year. Maybe national.”

Rockwell’s win in Phoenix certainly doesn’t hurt.

“I’m finally getting close to getting dialed in,” Rockwell said between passes at Bremerton’s opener.

But Rockwell laughs that he has blown up his share of motors along the way.

He recalls the final at Woodburn Dragstrip in 2002.

“I locked up the tires at the 100-foot mark and almost blew up the whole bike,” he recounts, adding that he almost did the same thing in the finals at Phoenix that same year.

With sights set on a strong season this year, Rockwell needs to make sure all his luck is good.

Good machine and good luck.

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