Noted Yamaha TZ750/OW31 and early AMA Superbike mechanic Larry “Round Man” Worrell died from cancer November 16 at a hospice care facility in Florence, Alabama. He was 77.
He is survived by his sisters Linda Worrell Cobb and Bette Worrell Royal and brother Gary Worrell.
“It is with immense sadness that I bring the news that my brother Larry Worrell passed away last night after a long-fought battle with cancer,” Linda Worrell Cobb posted to her Facebook page on November 17. “Larry was brave and faced this head on with my brother Gary and [Gary’s] wife Cathy by his side throughout.
“When we first got the news that his cancer was terminal, I told him I want to pray but I don’t know what to ask for. His answer was to go to sleep and not wake up, and God granted that prayer.”
During his career in racing, Worrell worked with riders Randy Cleek, Steve McLaughlin, Ron Pierce, and Roberto Pietri, among others.
Worrell tuned the Yamaha OW31 that Pierce rode to second place in the 1979 Daytona 200, and Pierce remembers him fondly.
“I knew Larry for a very long time, and he was just the nicest, sweetest man,” Pierce told Roadracingworld.com. “He was a great guy. He was a hard worker and very devoted to whoever he was working for. Really, you couldn’t ask for a finer human being.
“He was also a very good mechanic. He was there early in the morning and would stay there late at night, whatever was needed to take care of things, and he always did it with a smile. He was truly a great man and a fine character. I miss him dearly, and I pray for him every day, and I hope his family is getting through this fine.”
Pierce went on to finish second in the 1979 AMA Superbike Championship.
Worrell worked on the factory Honda AMA Superbike team in the early-1980s and built and tuned Roberto Pietri’s 1025cc Honda CB750F. Dennis Zickrick was Freddie Spencer’s mechanic and Worrell’s teammate.
“I stayed in touch with Larry for about 10 years until Roberto left the series,” said Zickrick. “So, I lost track of him, but about five or six years ago we made contact again on Facebook of all things.
“We talked back and forth. He had had several bouts with cancer and stuff. It seemed like it was about seven months ago, and he went in for a checkup, and they said, ‘Looks good. Go on with your life.’ Then about a month ago I called him, and he said, ‘I went in for my six-month checkup and it’s [cancer] back and it’s everywhere. And I just don’t have the fight to fight it.’
“I talked to him last week. You could tell he was fatigued, but he remembered stuff and people’s names. Then a couple of days later he was gone.”
According to Linda Worrell Cobb, Larry Worrell did not want a memorial service.