Graeme Crosby

Last updated

Graeme Crosby
NationalityNew Zealand
Motorcycle racing career statistics
Grand Prix motorcycle racing
Active years 19801982
First race 1980 500cc Nations Grand Prix
Last race 1982 500cc West German Grand Prix
Team(s) Suzuki, Yamaha
StartsWinsPodiums Poles F. laps Points
2701041173

Graeme Crosby (born 4 July 1955) is a former professional Grand Prix motorcycle road racer from New Zealand. [1] A versatile rider, Crosby was equally capable on either four stroke Superbike racers or two stroke Grand Prix racers. [2] He is the only person to have won the Daytona 200, the Imola 200, the Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race, and the Isle of Man TT. [3]

Contents

After his international motorcycle racing career, he returned to New Zealand to become a commercial airline pilot and also competed in touring car racing. Crosby was inducted in to the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Motorcycling New Zealand Hall of Fame in 2006. [4] [5]

Motorcycle racing career

New Zealand and Australian racing

Crosby moved from his home in Renwick, New Zealand to Auckland in the late 1960s and began a motorcycle apprenticeship at a local Kawasaki dealership. [5] He began racing on a Kawasaki H2 learning to race on New Zealand's street circuits. [6] By 1979, he was racing in the Australian Superbike championship for the Australian importer for Pops Yoshimura's motorcycle racing parts company. [6] He was then contracted to race for Yoshimura's son in law, Mamoru Moriwaki another talented motorcycle engineer. [6]

International prominence at the Suzuka 8 Hours

In the inaugural Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race in 1978, Crosby and co-rider Tony Hatton had an opportunity to win the race on a Moriwaki Kawasaki Kz1000 before running out of fuel relegated them to third place. [6] [7] The following year, Crosby qualified a Moriwaki Kawasaki on pole position at the 1979 Suzuka 8 Hours, ahead of all the major factory racing teams. [8] Moriwaki provided Crosby with Kawasaki motorcycles to compete in the Formula TT world championship and the Isle of Man TT. [6] He placed 4th in the Formula 1 Class at the 1979 Isle of Man TT and finished the season ranked third in the Formula 1 Class of the Formula TT world championship. [9] [10]

Suzuki factory sponsorship

Crosby's impressive results earned him factory backed sponsorship in 1980 with the Suzuki Grand Prix racing team, operated by their British importer, Suzuki GB. [6] He would compete on a four stroke Suzuki GS1000 in the Formula TT world championship, and ride a two stroke Suzuki RG 500 in the 500cc world championship. [6]

He began the year with a victory at the Daytona Superbike race in March. [11] Crosby was forced to start on the back row of the starting grid due to a minor rules infringement but, charged through the entire field of competitors en route to an upset victory over Freddie Spencer. [11] He followed this with a victory in the Senior TT at the 1980 Isle of Man TT races held in June. [9] [11] In July, Crosby teamed with Wes Cooley on a Yoshimura Suzuki GS1000 motorcycle to win the Suzuka 8 Hours endurance race. [12] He then won the Ulster Grand Prix to secure the Formula One Class of the 1980 Formula TT world championship. [13] [14]

His string of victories with four stroke machinery earned him a reputation as a four stroke specialist. [2] However, Crosby also showed himself to be a capable rider of two stroke machinery when he rode a Suzuki RG 500 to an eighth place ranking in the 1980 500cc world championship, including an impressive second place finish in the 1980 German Grand Prix held at the challenging Nürburgring. [1] [2]

1981 500cc world championship

Crosby was contracted by Suzuki GB to defend his Formula TT world championship and to compete alongside teammate Randy Mamola in the 1981 500cc world championship. Crosby gave a boost to the racing career of Wayne Gardner by giving him his first opportunity to race in Europe. [15] Although Crosby was contracted to ride for Suzuki, he decided to sponsor Gardner to compete in the 1981 British Superbike championship riding Kawasakis run by the British Moriwaki concession owned by Crosby. [15] Gardner would go on to become Australia's first 500cc world champion in 1987. [15]

Before the start of the world championship season Crosby returned to Daytona in March where he just missed winning a second Daytona Superbike race. [11] After a race-long battle with his Yoshimura Suzuki teammate, Wes Cooley and Honda's Freddie Spencer, Crosby was beaten to the finish line by Cooley by just a few bike lengths with Spencer finishing in third place. [16] In the Daytona 200 race, Crosby was forced to retire due to a transmission problem. [17]

Crosby made a strong impression by winning the pole position at the season opening Austrian Grand Prix held at the fast Salzburgring. [2] Crosby led for the first two laps before finishing in second place behind Mamola. [2] He repeated as pole position winner at the German Grand Prix held at the Hockenheimring. [2] After leading the race for half a lap, a front tire slide made him lose confidence in his tires however, he still managed to finish the race in second place behind Kenny Roberts. [2] In the third race in France, Crosby's motorcycle suffered from carburation problems and he nursed it to a third place finish. [2] At the Yugoslavian Grand Prix held at the hot Automotodrom Grobnik, Crosby initially battled for the lead but, later admitted that he was out of shape as he faded to a fourth place finish. [2]

His championship hopes were dampened when he crashed in the rain at the Dutch TT then, an engine problem left him in sixth place at the Belgian Grand Prix but, he rebounded to finish third in San Marino Grand Prix. [2] Crosby won the pole position at the British Grand Prix held at the Silverstone Circuit but, then had a disastrous crash while leading the race, causing crashes by Barry Sheene and Marco Lucchinelli. [2] His motorcycle had more carburation problems which relegated him to sixth place in the Finnish Grand Prix. [2] He ended the season with a fifth place finish in the rain at the Swedish Grand Prix. [2] He posted two second place finishes along with two third place finishes to end the season ranked fifth in the world. [1]

In between world championship races, Crosby also competed in the 500cc British national championship, using the British rounds as test sessions for developing his RG 500. [2] He dominated the 500cc British national championship, winning seven of the eight rounds. [18]

1981 TT Formula One championship

Crosby's defense of his TT Formula One title was successful as his Suzuki GS1000 outclassed the Honda RC1000 of his leading rival, Ron Haslam. [2] In nine races that made up the championship, Crosby won six races, finished second once, sat out the Oliver's Mount race over unsafe race conditions, and suffered an engine failure in the last one. [2] He won a controversial victory at the 1981 Isle of Man Formula TT race. Five minutes before his scheduled starting time, Crosby decided to mount a slick tire onto his motorcycle however, the new wheel had the wrong sized sprocket. [2] The ensuing delay caused Crosby to arrive on the starting grid 45 seconds late. [2] ACU race officials refused to allow Crosby to start until all the other competitors had left the starting grid some six minutes later. [2] Race officials announced that Crosby would not be credited with the six minutes lost, ruling him out of contention. [2] The Honda racing team later claimed that they had slowed Haslam and Joey Dunlop's pace upon receiving news of Crosby's time penalty. [2]

Crosby then put on an impressive display of riding talent by racing at a record setting pace that lowered the Formula TT lap record by 8 seconds. [2] By the end of the race, Crosby had climbed up into third place behind the apparent winner Haslam and second place Dunlop. [2] However, later that day, an international jury found that the ACU was wrong in not letting Crosby start 45 seconds late and should have penalized him 45 seconds rather than six minutes. [2] The surprise decision meant that Crosby was declared the victor by over two minutes ahead of Haslam. [2] When Crosby finished in second place behind Haslam at the Ulster Grand Prix, he clinched his second successive Formula TT world championship. [19]

1982 Agostini Yamaha

Crosby believed that he was contracted with Suzuki to race their latest RG500 motorcycle in the 1982 500cc world championship however, whether he was misinformed or misunderstood the contract, it became apparent that Suzuki would only provide him with year old motorcycles. [20] He had tentatively agreed with Honda to compete in the AMA Superbike Championship when, Giacomo Agostini offered him a contract to race for the Yamaha factory racing team with Graziano Rossi as his teammate. [20]

Prior to the start of the 1982 Grand Prix season, Crosby returned to Daytona in March with a factory supplied Yamaha YZR750 0W31 built from spare parts, while his main opponents were riding more up-to-date 500cc machinery. Riding at a record setting pace, Crosby won the prestigious Daytona 200 over second place Freddie Spencer. [21] [22] He followed this with a victory at the Imola 200 race in April. [23]

While Yamaha had introduced a new 500cc V4 engine for Kenny Roberts, coded YZR500 0W61, the Agostini-Yamaha team was left to race on the older Yamaha square-four cylinder YZR500 0W60 motorcycle. [20] Crosby jumped into the lead at the start of the season opening Argentine Grand Prix however, he was forced to retire after a couple of laps due to a crankshaft failure. [20] He qualified on pole position for the Austrian Grand Prix but fell to fourth place in the race when he encountered handling issues with his motorcycle. [20] Crosby followed with another fourth place finish in the Spanish Grand Prix. A poor start at the beginning of the Nations Grand Prix left Crosby in mid-field however, a spirited ride saw him improve to third place, passing Kenny Roberts before the end of the race. [20]

The rain drenched Dutch TT was stopped after only six laps when Crosby and several other riders crashed on the wet track surface. [20] After the race was restarted, Crosby made an impressive result by finishing the second leg ahead of Roberts to secure fourth place overall. [20] His Yamaha suffered another crankshaft failure putting him out of the Belgian Grand Prix however, he recovered to finish the Yugoslavian Grand Prix in second place behind eventual world champion Franco Uncini. [20] Crosby crashed during practice for the British Grand Prix badly scraping the skin on the palms of his hands however, after sitting out Saturday practice sessions, he valiantly fought to a third place finish in the race. [20]

While Yamaha had put all their efforts into developing their new V4 engine, they had stopped development work on Crosby's square-four Yamaha allowing it to lose ground on the opposing teams from Suzuki and Honda. [20] When Roberts was forced to withdraw from the championship due to injuries sustained at the British Grand Prix, his V4 Yamaha was given to Crosby for the San Marino Grand Prix however, after he suffered a high speed crash during practice he decided to race on his familiar square-four Yamaha, finishing in third place behind Freddie Spencer and Randy Mamola. [20] Crosby attempted to ride the V4 Yamaha during practice for the season ending German Grand Prix but, he declared that the experience had taken years off his life. [20] He reverted to his square-four Yamaha for the race but, crashed while trying too hard to keep up the pace on the under powered motorcycle. [20] Despite competing with an older and slower motorcycle, Crosby was able to use his riding skill and determination to finish second overall in the championship behind Franco Uncini. [1] Frustrated by the internal politics of his race team, Crosby quit the Grand Prix circuit after the 1982 season. [5]

Later career

After his retirement, Crosby returned to New Zealand and became a commercial airline pilot. [24] He also began auto racing, driving successfully in Touring car racing, mostly in New Zealand and Australia. He won the 1992 New Zealand Touring Car Championship. [25] Crosby was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1995. [4] In 2006, he was inducted into the New Zealand Motorcycling Hall of Fame. [5] Crosby's autobiography entitled CROZ – Larrikin Biker was published in 2010.

Grand Prix career statistics [1]

Points system from 1968 to 1987.

Position12345678910
Points1512108654321

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicate fastest lap)

YearClassTeamMachine123456789101112PointsRankWins
1980 500cc Heron-Suzuki RG500 NAT
Ret
ESP
12
FRA
5
NED
8
BEL
4
FIN
DNS
GBR
13
GER
2
298th0
1981 500cc Heron-Suzuki RGB500 AUT
2
GER
13
NAT
2
FRA
3
YUG
4
NED
Ret
BEL
7
RSM
3
GBR
Ret
FIN
5
SWE
5
685th0
1982 500cc Marlboro Agostini-Yamaha YZR500 ARG
Ret
AUT
4
FRA ESP
4
NAT
3
NED
4
BEL
Ret
YUG
2
GBR
3
SWE
3
RSM
3
GER
Ret
762nd0

Car racing

Career results

Results sourced from Driver Database. [26]

SeasonSeriesPositionCarTeam
1986Nissan-Mobil 500 series5th BMW 635 CSi
1986 Australian Touring Car Championship 7th Holden VK Commodore SS Group A Graeme Crosby
1986 Australian Endurance Championship 16thHolden VK Commodore SS Group ABob Jane T-Marts
1986 South Pacific Touring Car Championship 3rdHolden VK Commodore SS Group ABob Jane T-Marts
1987Nissan-Mobil 500 series6thHolden VK Commodore SS Group AGraeme Crosby
1987 World Touring Car Championship NCHolden VK Commodore SS Group A
Nissan Skyline DR30 RS
D.F.C. NZ Ltd
Team Nissan Racing NZ
1990Nissan-Mobil 500 series4th Ford Sierra RS500 Miedecke Motorsport
1991Nissan-Mobil 500 series4thFord Sierra RS500 Playscape Racing
1992Nissan-Mobil 500 series2nd Holden VP Commodore Mobil 1 Racing
1992 New Zealand Touring Car Championship 1stFord Sierra RS500Graeme Crosby

Complete Australian Touring Car Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

YearTeamCar12345678910DCPoints
1986 Graeme Crosby Holden VK Commodore SS Group A AMA
Ret
SYM
4
SAN
12
AIR
2
WAN
6
SUR
Ret
CAL
4
LAK
9
WIN
7
ORA
12
7th102
1987 Roadways Racing Holden VK Commodore SS Group A CAL
Ret
SYM
Ret
LAK WAN AIR SUR SAN AMA ORA NC0

Complete South Pacific Touring Car Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

YearTeamCar12345DCPoints
1986 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Bob Jane T-Marts Holden VK Commodore SS Group A CAL
9
ADE
3
MAN
1
BAY
Ret
PUK
Ret
3rd73

Complete World Touring Car Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

YearTeamCar1234567891011DCPoints
1987 Flag of New Zealand.svg D.F.C. NZ Holden VK Commodore SS Group A MNZ JAR DIJ NUR SPA BNO SIL BAT
Ret
CLD NC0
Flag of New Zealand.svg Team Nissan Racing NZ Nissan Skyline DR30 RS WEL
ovr:8
cls:5
FJI

Not registered for series & points

Complete NASCAR results

YearCarNo.1234567891011121314151617181920212223242526272829NSCCPoints
1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass 03 DAY ROC RIC ATL DAR WIL BRI MAR TAL CMS
DNQ
DOV POC RIV MCH DAY POC TAL WAT MIC BRI DAR RIC DOV MAR WIL CMS ROC RIV ATL NC0

Complete Asia-Pacific Touring Car Championship results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position) (Races in italics indicate fastest lap)

YearTeamCar1234DCPoints
1988 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Miedecke Motorsport Ford Sierra RS500 BAT WEL PUK FJI
Ret
NC0

Complete Bathurst 1000 results

YearTeamCo-driversCarClassLapsPos.Class
pos.
1986 Flag of New Zealand.svg Bob Jane T-Marts Flag of New Zealand.svg Wayne Wilkinson Holden VK Commodore SS Group A C15613th9th
1987 Flag of New Zealand.svg D.F.C. NZ Ltd Flag of New Zealand.svg John Billington Holden VK Commodore SS Group A 19DNFDNF
1989 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Miedecke Motorsport Flag of New Zealand.svg Andrew Bagnall Ford Sierra RS500 A97DNFDNF
1990 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Caltex CXT Racing Team Flag of Australia (converted).svg Colin Bond Ford Sierra RS500 144DNFDNF
1991 Flag of Australia (converted).svg Caltex CXT Racing Team Flag of Australia (converted).svg Colin Bond Ford Sierra RS500 1152DNFDNF

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Graeme Crosby career statistics". motogp.com. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Clifford, Peter (1981), Motocourse 1981-1982, Hazleton Publishing Ltd, ISBN   0-905138-18-X, His world championship victory on the Formula One Suzuki demonstrated again that Graeme is the best four stroke rider in the world.
  3. McDiarmid, Mac (1999), The Magic Of The TT, Haynes Publishing, ISBN   1-84425-002-4, A supremely versatile rider, Crosby holds the unique distinction of having won the Daytona and Imola 200s, the Suzuka 8-hour and the TT.
  4. 1 2 "Graeme Crosby at the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame". nzhalloffame.co.nz. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Graeme Crosby at the Motorcycling New Zealand Hall of Fame". mnz.co.nz. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "The Early Days". graemecrosby.com. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  7. "1978 Suzuka 8 Hours results". motoracing-japan.com. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  8. "1979 Suzuka 8 Hours qualifying results". motoracing-japan.com. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  9. 1 2 "Graeme Crosby Isle of Man TT results". iomtt.com.com. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  10. "1979 Formula TT Results". racingmemo.free. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  11. 1 2 3 4 "The Croz!". cyclenews.com. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  12. "The 3rd Suzuka 8 Hours International Endurance Race". motoracing-japan.com. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  13. "1980 Formula TT Results". racingmemo.free. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  14. "Ulster Grand Prix statistics". ulstergrandprix.net. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  15. 1 2 3 Cathcart, Alan (1986). Wayne Gardner. Cycle World. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  16. Ulrich, John (1981). Yoshimura Dominates Superbike Production Again. Cycle World. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  17. Egan, Peter (1981). Daytona '81. Cycle World. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
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  20. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Clifford, Peter (1982), Motocourse 1982-1983, Hazleton Publishing Ltd, ISBN   0-905138-22-8, His world championship victory on the Formula One Suzuki demonstrated again that Graeme is the best four stroke rider in the world.
  21. Assoc, American Motorcyclist (1982). Crosby Wins Daytona 200. American Motorcyclist. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
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  23. "Imola 200 race results". racingmemo.free.fr. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  24. "Growing My Wings". graemecrosby.com. Retrieved 6 September 2018.
  25. "1992 New Zealand Touring Car Championship". motorsportmagazine.com. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  26. Graeme Crosby - Driver Database
Sporting positions
Preceded by TT Formula One World Champion
1980–1981
Succeeded by