MXP 21.03

Page 20

GUEST COLUMN WITH BRENT WORRALL

ALEX HARVILL TRIBUTE

AS THE GATE WAS SET TO DROP ON THE 2014 FUTURE WEST ARENACROSS SERIES, OUR ATTENTION WAS DIRECTED TOWARDS A RACER FROM EPHRATA, WASHINGTON, BY THE NAME OF ALEX HARVILL. LIKE MOST WHO KNEW OF ALEX, AND OF HIS BREATHTAKING WORLD RECORD ACCOMPLISHMENTS, I WAS EXTREMELY EXCITED TO MEET HIM.

T

he previous year, Harvill set a Guinness World Record, with a 297-foot dirt to dirt distance jump at the Horn Rapids Motorsports Complex in West Richland, Washington. It was something that he had eyed and visualized and claimed was, “the most Evel Knievel-like thing, that I had ever done”. Adding to that incredible feat, was his 2012 distance jump at Toes Motorcycle Park. Thanks to likes of Steve Eilers, (Toes) and other team members, Alex pulled off an astounding and unheard-of leap on a motorcycle. He successfully landed a ramp to dirt distance jump of 425 feet! Upon learning more about Alex, I believe his love of wingless wheeled flight began shortly after his father had a sand scoop tire made for and installed on his KX-60! His father was a racer, and they were soon visiting places like the Pasco Arena on a 1976 Honda Elsinore, which was Alex’s first motorcycle. He vividly recounted what he felt was, “the pitty clap” that he was given rounding the final turn in his first ever Motocross race. He also gave his father some grief in later years when his dad restored an MR-50, stating the one he raced looked nothing like that one. Cutting his Motocross racing teeth in an area of eastern Washington that breeds flat-out Motocross Maulers, Alex Harvill’s Motocross racing career was well on its way. Alex recently recounted to me his racing days up in Canada as, “the best Motocross racing memories of my life.” A pinnacle moment he was fondest of and shared with me was from the Ulverton round in 2017. At that race, he was lined up facing the long daunting upward start hill, sandwiched between eventual series

winner Davi Milsaps, and the previous year’s champ, Matt Goerke. Alex was Born in 1992, in Corona, California to parents Jeff Harvill and Debbie (now Chamberlin). Upon meeting Alex, I instantly sensed that there was something uniquely special about him. He gave me his phone number when I asked, and whenever I saw him, on or off the racetrack, his smile and aura was always contagiously uplifting. Even though Alex raced in Canada for those memorable seasons, I did not really get to know what his aspirations were until he told me this past May. In that moment at Ulverton, he really felt that he was living out his dreams on the Motocross racetrack. Motocross racing was Alex’s second love behind family. Jumping was something that he loved, and reffered to as, “Dream Chasin”. Thank you to Alex’s friend, Kevin J. Salisbury for providing that quote. In 2016, and for the previous two seasons, he travelled our Canadian Nationals from coast to coast with his long-time sweetheart Jessica, whom he married in 2019. Together they had two sons, Willis who is now five, and baby Watson who was born in May. Harvill would secure a national number 37 in Canada, as a result of his 2016 run. Unfortunately, his bid to run the number 37 that season did not happen because of a set-back at Talladega Speedway in Alabama. Harvill was contracted by Monster Energy, to do a distance jump at Talladega Speedway before a 2017 NASCAR race. In what he recounted as serious over jump, Harvill flat landed on the fabled Talladega concrete from 300 feet, over-jumping the intended landing ramp. He shattered his calcaneus, and his hopes of being paid for that jump, as well as his opportunity to race

here in 2017. In May, I had noticed that Alex had announced his intention of attempting to break Robbie Maddison’s Guinness World Record jump of 351 feet, ramp to dirt, which is the length of a football field. Alex was hopeful that his record would better or equal his AMA racing number of 352. As an avid aviation enthusiast, I was also excited that this jump would take place at the Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake Washington as part of the annual airshow. Moses Lake is also the

“IN THAT MOMENT AT ULVERTON, HE REALLY FELT THAT HE WAS LIVING OUT HIS DREAMS ON THE MOTOCROSS RACETRACK. MOTOCROSS RACING WAS ALEX’S SECOND LOVE BEHIND FAMILY.”

same town where Evel Knievel owned a Honda dealership in the early 1960s. He also performed his first two jumps in nearby Soap Lake and his home of Moses Lake. Harvill even promoted this jump at the Speedway where Knievel first jumped cars. I’m just a five-hour drive away, so my wife and I immediately began to look into travel arrangements for June 17. Whatever side of the fence you are on, we were unable, after two attempts, to get border clearance. I last spoke with Alex on Tuesday, June 15. He assured me that it was okay that I could not make it, and that I would be there in person next time. Alex had a plan to successfully add to his list of growing records with this one. He was thrilled that the airport had agreed to allow him to pave a strip, as well as a massive 200-plus foot long landing ramp, which was to remain in place for future jumps. This all needed approval from the FAA and in an age where stunting can be frowned upon, it certainly was big news. Alex told me he was so thankful for all involved. He really felt it would give him a home court advantage to continue to chase what he believed was attainable. Alex also told me that I could watch along on his social media feeds, and we would catch up later that day. On Thursday, June 17, I sat in front of my laptop and eagerly awaited his first approach. The footage was good, but when he would hit the jump for the first time that day was still a question mark for me. Alex, when you hit that jump, I watched in anticipation, excitement and with a confidence for you, that would only see you succeed. Alex you are a hero, my friend, I am so thankful that I got to tell you that I loved you! Godspeed Alex Harvill #352

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