Motocross Champion Russell, Kevin

Motocross Champion Russell, Kevin

Australian Motocross Champion Kevin Russell

WA motocross champion Kevin Russell in action at Bunbury (By Peter Kitchingman)

Photos: [Left] Kevin Russell (Kawasaki) in action at Shrubland Park, Bunbury (By Peter Kitchingman) and [Right] Winning the Pre-1978 Super Seniors Class at the Australian Classic Motocross Championships at Port Pirie SA, aged 78.

Russell wins Australian Motocross titles in his 70's

On 5 September 2015, Perth rider Kevin Russell finally broke through to win his first Australian motocross title – winning the VMX pre-1978 super senior championship at Busselton.

The 76-year-old veteran, who started racing scrambles in the 1960s, retired many times in the past, but opted to have one more crack at clinching an Australian title.  Russell was undefeated on a borrowed 1977 Suzuki RM125, which he actually raced back in his ‘prime’ in the 1970s.

The Suzuki sat in a shed for several years, however many of Kevin’s mates chipped in to restore the bike and he didn’t let them down – winning all three motos convincingly on 75 points, ahead of Colin Metcher on 64 and Trevor Lobegeiger on 62.

Then at 78 years of age, Kevin won the Australian Classic Motocross Championship for his class on 19-20 August 2017 in Port Pirie (SA).

Back on 7 September 1979, 38 years earlier, Russell held off many of Australia’s top motocross riders in the Australian 250cc Championship at Wanneroo in Western Australia, finishing second to international rider Pelle Granqvist (Sweden, Husqvarna).

The Kawasaki privateer from the Coastal Motorcycle Club reveled in the deep Wanneroo sand to become Runner-up Australian 250cc Champion ahead of local Australian Champion Graeme Smythe (Yamaha) in third – beating Australia’s top factory riders that year, including Mike Landman (Yamaha) and Trevor Williams (Kawasaki).

Kevin followed in his brother Don’s footsteps and first started racing motocross in the 1960s.  But throughout his racing career, he switched motorcycle codes many times between motocross, speedway solos and enduros, with speedway taking him overseas to England.

During the 1964/65 season at Claremont Speedway, Russell was third in the State Solo Championship behind Jim Phillips and Dud McKean. The following year he raced solos for West Ham in the British Premier Speedway League.

Returning to Australia, Russell was back into motocross during the mid-1970s boom following the emergence of the lightweight Japanese two-stroke motocross bikes, having his first success on Suzuki’s.

Kevin Russell finished second in the 1974 WA State 250cc Motocross Championship, behind Rick Gill, and third in the 500cc title in 1975, behind Smythe and Gill.  While racing enduros, he was picked up by a Suzuki team, then was sponsored by Yamaha for six or seven years.

Photo gallery

WA Claremont Speedway State Solo team [L-R] Bob Leisk, Gerry Bridsow, Kevin Russell, Chum Taylor, Bob O’Leary, Terry O’Leary and Don Collins

Photo: [Left]  Kevin Russell, standing third from left, a member of the WA Claremont Speedway State Solo team in the 1960s.  Pictured here with  Bob Leisk, Gerry Bridsow,  Chum Taylor seated, Bob O’Leary, Terry O’Leary and Don Collins; and [Right] Russell in action on his 500 BSA at the Dixon Road track in Rockingham in 1968 – By Tony Forsythe

Kevin Russell's career motorcycling highlights

1979 Australian Championships Wanneroo - Presentations - Pelle Grandquist and Kevin Russell popping champagne

Photo:  Russell celebrating with Pelle Grandquist at the 1979 Australian MX Championships at Wanneroo (WA) – By Peter Kitchingman

3rd WA State Solo Championship, Claremont Speedway

2nd WA State 250cc Motocross Championships

3rd WA State 250cc Motocross Championships

Runner-up Australian 250cc Champion, Wanneroo (WA)

Australian VMX Champion (pre-1978 super senior’s class) at Busselton (WA).

Australian VMX Champion (pre-1978 super senior’s class) at Port Pirie (SA)

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