Classic Bike (UK) - - Classic World - Rus­sell Keen

You can’t get much far­ther south than New Zealand’s Stewart Is­land. That’s where abalone diver and cray­fish­er­man Rus­sell ‘Ras­tus’ Keen hails from.

“I came over to the Is­land Clas­sic a few years back as a spec­ta­tor and went home to build up a suit­able bike,” he said. He started with a GSX1100 frame and fit­ted a Mcin­tosh ‘replica’ swingarm and Katana front forks.

“Rex Wolfenden (a lead­ing Aussie vintage rac­ing tech­ni­cian) pointed me in the di­rec­tion of Manta Rac­ing in Mel­bourne, who helped me out with triple clamps, and a me­chanic friend in In­ver­cargill built the en­gine,” he said.

Rus­sell has only ever raced the Suzi at Phillip Is­land in Aus­tralia, and Tere­tonga and Ti­maru in New Zealand’s South Is­land.

It was his third visit to the Is­land Clas­sic, but he shouldn’t re­ally have been there. “Now is the boom sale pe­riod for abalone as Chi­nese New Year kicks off,” he said. “I’m do­ing my­self out of a lot of money, but Phillip Is­land is where I want to be.”

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