Terry Troxell, who had an unlikely Gold Cup victory in 2005, died last Saturday in Gig Harbor.
A memorial will be Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum in Kent for driver Terry Troxell, whose good-humored personality was a constant presence in hydroplane pits for four decades.
Troxell died last Saturday in Gig Harbor of a massive heart attack at age 61.
He was best known for winning three unlimited hydroplane races since 2001, including one of the most unlikely Gold Cup victories in 2005 in the Miss Al Deeby Dodge. The team hadn’t even existed a week before the race when owner Dave Bartush bought the boat and hired Troxell. He won over a field depleted by accidents and mechanical problems.
“Terry was a huge part of the hydro community,” said David Williams, director of the hydroplane museum and a driver on the unlimited circuit. “Not only was he a fierce competitor and successful racer, but probably more than anything else he embodied the spirit that makes racing so attractive to those of us who do it.
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“If you were on the beach five minutes before the race started and you found something wrong with your boat, he would jump out of his and help you get yours going. He didn’t want to beat you on the beach but on the race course. He would do anything to get you involved in the sport and would kind of be an ambassador. He just loved the sport and was loved by the sport.”
After years in the limited ranks, Troxell broke into unlimiteds in 2000 driving for Fred Leland’s team. He got his first victory a year later in the Tri-Cities in the Znetix II. He earned his second win in St. Clair, Mich., in 2004 in the Miss E-Lam Plus.
Shortly into his unlimited career Troxell drove a hydroplane as part of a commercial for a Japanese beer and during filming earned the nickname “Troxzilla.” It stayed with him the rest of his career, and one of his later boats even carried that nickname.
When not racing, Troxell was a graphic artist creating designs on T-shirts and helmets.
A viewing will be at Haven of Rest Cemetery from 6-9 p.m. today in Gig Harbor.