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Graeme Crosby

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Graeme Crosby

Born: 1955 -

Inducted into MNZ Hall of Fame: 2006

It was near his home in Renwick Blenheim that Graeme first got interested in motorcycles as a young pillion passenger with then up and coming motocross rider Ivan Millar.

Moving to Auckland in the late 1960s, Graeme took up a motorcycle apprenticeship in 1972 with a local Auckland motorcycle dealership .

Graeme soon started racing, on a variety of production machines and soon became a crowd favorite with local fans including winning the Castrol 6 Hour three times, twice riding solo in 1975 and again in 1976 and finally in 1977 teamed with Australian Tony Hatton.

But it was his exploits during the 1976-77 Marlboro International Race Series that people still remember. Riding a Kawasaki Z1 Superbike which was not really competitive with the Grand Prix race machines such as TZ Yamahas and RG500 Suzuki. It didn't matter to Croz he still made an impact with the fans, riding a different machine and entertaining them with wheelies and some good results especially on the tighter circuits.

The following year 1977-78 was the last year of the Marlboro series. It was the first series that saw real factory machines and riders entered, along with a host of other leading riders on mainly Yamaha TZ750s. But true to form Graeme returned, this time on Z1-R Kawasaki Superbike. Once again people didn't care that the machine was not a GP machine. For a second year Crosby was the fans favourite.

In the years that followed, Graeme set off and achieved many overseas successes. In 1980 Graeme won the AMA Superbike race at Daytona, The Suzuka 8 Hour, Isle of Man Senior TT and the FIM World TT Formula One Championship along with a number of wins along the way.

The following year (1981) saw Graeme armed with a factory contract with Suzuki to race in the FIM TT Formula One Championship and FIM World 500cc World Championship with young American Randy Mamola as his team mate.

By the end of the year Graeme once again had won the FIM TT Formula One Championship and finished fourth in the 500ccChampionship.

With his mind still set on the 500cc championship things looked bright for 1982. However Suzuki had signed Mamola and was expecting Graeme to join him once again riding the F1 and 500cc machines, however the American had a clause in his contract to who would be his team mate and it wasn't to be Croz.

Suzuki offered Graeme a deal to supply factory 500cc engines through a third party. Graeme wanted to race the 500cc championship so badly that even if he had to also ride the F1 bike in the TT Formula One Championship he would have.

In 1982 Graeme did end up racing in the World 500cc Championship, but not with Suzuki. He signed a deal to race a Factory Yamaha for Giacomo Agostini's new team. By the end of the season he had won the Daytona 200, Imola 200 and finish runner up in the FIM World 500cc Championship behind Franco Uncini.

In a then unexpected move Graeme retired from the world scene and returned to New Zealand after becoming disillusioned by the internal politics of Grand Prix racing. He had won two FIM World Formula One Championships, along with other major races. In his time in the World 500cc Championship from twenty seven starts he achieved  ten podiums (top three) and four pole positions but never won a grand prix.

Since returning to New Zealand he has had several business ventures, has tried car racing and became a pilot and currently resides in North Auckland building custom bikes and restoring older machines. Graeme was inducted in to the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Motorcycling New Zealand Hall of Fame in 2006.

Prepared for the MNZ Hall of Fame by MNZ Historian Ian Dawson