Motorbike expert Russell John passed away on 13 October 2021 in the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in South Wales after a four-week fight with Covid-19. He leaves his wife Helen, their 26-year-old son Thomas and 21-year-old daughter Cassie.
A friend and colleague to many in the industry, Russ studied motor mechanics at Afan College before beginning his career as an apprentice with Kickstart Motorcycles in Port Talbot at the age of 16 in 1977. He stayed there for 15 years working for owner Paul Reynolds.
Russ then joined M&P in Swansea before moving to Doncaster-based megadealer Carnell in 1997 as a buyer. This was just as the business was enjoying its heyday as Europe’s largest dealer. Many will remember how Carnell became a destination to ride to and hang out on a sunny weekend.
During his time with Carnell, Russ met his close friend and business partner David Willoughby. The two established Bike Gear in 2003 and had 14 very successful years with branches in Leeds, Doncaster and Bridgend.
Russ then went on to set up BikerHut with Jackie Davies in 2018. The Bridgend-based business quickly became the go-to place for motorbike clothing and accessories because Russ knew and loved everything about biking and worked hard to provide the very best products on the market. Customers knew that they were always guaranteed a first-class service from him.
But life changed forever for Russell and wife Helen in early 2020 at the start of the pandemic when Russell was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His strength of character and determination, coupled with Helen’s refusal to let cancer beat him, meant that he pulled through, becoming an inspiration to others and raising much-needed funds for Pancreatic Cancer UK.
It was only this summer that life was starting to return to some kind of normality for Russell and Helen. They were enjoying time together, walking, gardening, and sharing time with Thomas and Cassie but Covid hit the family in September and, despite being double-jabbed, Russ did not pull through.
So many friends and colleagues from the motorbike world have shared their memories of Russell with Helen, Thomas and Cassie over the last few weeks. After 44 years in the industry, he touched many people’s lives and will be greatly missed by all.