Paul Treacy from NZ apprentice to World Championship  Team

Stu Avant from NZ,  Steve Harris (from Harris Brothers Engineering UK) a very well recognised motorcycle chassis fabricator) recently acquired by Royal Enfield..!! .quite a legend in our Era. ...with Kevin Magee's 1992 Yamaha YZR500 that I looked after then...and look after it now...very rare... Paul Treacy on the right.

World Championship road race rider from USA Eddie Lawson of Marlboro Yamaha Team with New Zealanders Mike Sinclair on the left and Paul Treacy on the right - key technicians to a successful racing team.

  Paul Treacy now

Paul Treacy

Career Overview

Early Years

Attended St Patricks College Silverstream and son of a Lower Hutt

dentist.

Served a motorcycle apprenticeship with the Harris family business in

Lower Hutt - Honda City. Mike and his wife Jerry put me “under their

wing”.

Graeme Harris went on to be a very successful internal ISDE rider

representing New Zealand in Europe

Motorcycle Apprenticeship at Petone Polytechnic was a very

comprehensive program that gave grounding in many aspects of

engineering and automotive skills. Electrical, mechanical, welding,

fitting turning and engine reconditioning.

Won the apprentice of the year in final year.

Became heavily involved in Enduro and Hare Scramble events riding

XR200’s, XR500’s etc.

Moved to Sawyer Honda as a mechanic and built XR200’s running on

ethanol in an attempt to match the pace of the Harris XR200’s that

seems to have grown to XR300’s!

Prepared XJ750 for Richard Scouler and Peter Fleming in a Castrol

Six Hour Race in NZ and then Australia. Won the 750cc Class.

Travels and racing

Headed to the US with two friends and purchased an old camper van

and drove across the US to Daytona to watch Kenny Roberts and

Eddie Lawson on the Yamaha 680 Square fours. Spent more time

under the camper than in it!

Ran out of money and lived in a camping ground in Orange County,

LA.

Worked for La Habra Yamaha as a broke mechanic but could

recondition RD350’s..worked for 50% of charge out rate.. no wages…

First tools were a brown paper bag of tools from K Mart.. not quite like

the US mechanics.

Persuaded the owner to go road racing and imported Richard Scouler

to ride in the California Production racing series. Used the standard

Australian and NZ techniques for production racing…

Won many races and upset many locals!

Hosted the NZ ISDE team when they were passing through LA, where

they invited me to assist them in Wales for the ISDE.

Travelled to Wales.. by bus from Heathrow to Wales!

Assisted a very talented team of Kiwi riders with international

experience of how to fix anything anywhere, lead by a similarly

experienced Tim Gibbes who knew how to play the rules.

Returned to US and packed up to go back to UK to assist Richard

Scouler with the UK road race championships on a TZ250 and FZ750

Formula 1.

Transit Van and awning across UK in late winter living in paddocks…

not exactly California. First race in UK season - Cadwell Park…

freezing.

NorthWest 200, Isle of Man etc etc..

Moved to assist Des Barry another Kiwi living in UK who was very

successful in Formula 2, built a RZ500 based Formula 1 bike and

participated in the Formula 1 and 2 World Championships. Worked

closely with the Harris brothers who were very hospitable to the Kiwis.

Bought that bike to NZ for the summer series. Not a great bike but a

great experience.

Richard Scott from Wanganui turned up the UK with Ron Grant (Ex

Grand Prix star who lived in NZ).

Assisted Richard and RG with a Honda VFR750 SuperStock bike. The

Factory Honda X6 for Joey Dunlop had turned up for the Isle of Man

and of course the Kiwis decided to work out what was going on…

Had to change the production bike to make it like the factory engine,

cut the crankshaft in half to move to a 360deg crankshaft

configuration. RG’s idea! This caused a major issue to create an

ignition solution. I assisted and Honda UK supported the Kiwis out of

the “back of the workshop”…

Very successful (but not the most reliable) project and Richard won the

Superstock championship against Kenny Irons in a televised

championship.

Grand Prix’s

Honda UK supported the team to build an NS500 triple out of old

parts forms ex Rothmans GP team (Gardner and Haslam).

Competed in European Championship race as a wild card and won

first time out.

Headed to first Grand Prix in Jerez in Spain.

Finished 10th which was very impressive for a bunch of Kiwis with a

bike made up of old discarded parts.

Returned to NZ with the Honda RS500 for the summer series RG

unfortunately had had a major car accident and had to stay in the UK.

Won the series.

Returned to the UK where we were preparing for more GP’s when

Mike Baldwin who was riding for Kenny Roberts factory Yamaha team

as injured and Kenny invited Richard Scott to ride with Randy Mamola.

Head Engineer was another Kiwi, Mike Sinclair who had been in GP’s

for many years and a great ally to help the Kiwi lads.

Scotty proceed to the first test in Yugoslavia - (Rijeka) where he

crashed heavily on the factory YZR500 - ended up in local hospital.

Being a mechanic then also required being able to assist in medical

evacuations and mental coaching!

Austrian GP at Salzburgring where a rider crashed in front of Scotty, I

remember picking up the factory bike in two pieces. Not a great start

to his GP career.

The next season, Scotty was dropped and I stayed on as a mechanic

for Team Roberts with Wayne Rainey and Kevin Magee as riders.

Steep learning curve and made many mistakes but was supported by

Mike Sinclair and the other very experienced team.

Proceeded to travel the world from GP’s to test sessions, Japan,

Brazil, Argentina, Australia.. non stop.

Worked closely with Bud Aksland in California where we had an engine

testing facility in a shed at the back of a truck stop close to Kenny’s

house.

Weeks of engine testing in a dyno cell managing the electronics and

early ignition systems.

Mike S persuaded Kenny to invest in data acquisition systems to assist

with learning more about the chassis and engine systems.

Hired a University graduate from Dublin Tom Kane (who is now the

lead engineer at Suzuki MotoGP)

Tom and I built early data systems in conjunction with Cranfield

Institute copying Formula 1 initiatives. First data acquisition system on

a GP bike.

Started understanding about chassis dynamics and engine electronic

systems much to the Yamaha engineers despair!

Warren Willing from Australia joined us in the senior engineering team

and the Kiwi, Aussie influence was large.

Mike Sinclair and myself started chassis testing in the Yamaha Europe

workshops, as the European mechanics all went home on the

weekends the kiwis spent time building and testing many elements.

Wayne Rainey and Kevin Magee lived in motorhomes outside the

workshops so we all proceeded to understand chassis dynamics.

Created the first adjustable swingers pivot (as the pivot was too low on

the factory bike and much to the Japanese surprise used it at the

Yugoslavian GP with Wayne Rainey. Kenny was a huge supporter of

the innovation we continued to drive.

Magee was hurt in an accident at Laguna Seca and many sobering

times at the GP level.

Kenny secured Marlboro sponsorship and transformed the team

quickly with more focus on data acquisition and engine management.

Became a large team with 100+ personnel , riders such as Eddie

Lawson, John Kosinski, Randy Mamola as a test rider, Jean Michel

Bayle, Doug Chandler, Darryl Beattie, Luca Cadalora, Norick Abe to

name a few.

Electronics team was getting bigger and focussed on software

development and more chassis measurements.

First traction control system on a two stroke.

Mike Sinclair and myself helped John Britten and his project in the off

season (when we were not windsurfing).. mounted data acquisition to

the Britten and helped the engineers with chassis design, suspension

parts (From Ohlins) and Brembo brakes. Always liked the front

suspension system and often discussed mounting one on a YZR500.

The team won many world championships. Unfortunately Wayne

Rainey hurt himself at Imola and this was very difficult for Kenny and

the whole team.

Kenny decided to start his own project and left Yamaha and the team

proceeded to build a three cylinder two stroke with sponsorship from

Modenas. A Malaysian motorcycle manufacturer.

Built a factory in Banbury UK and engaged many Formula 1 engineers

and suppliers to build a GP bike from scratch.

I was very involved with the ignition and engine management systems

and data acquisition working closely with D2 a German electronic

engineering company. (Who still supply MotoGP)

This all lead to more complex IT infrastructure in the pits, networking to

a purpose built data truck and into the pit boxes.

We were determined to supply more data and have more engineers

working with data to assist on making better and faster decisions.

The project needed another year of development but Kenny pushed to

compete in GP’s early.

Difficult times and required full time living in Banbury UK.

I returned to NZ as I was not prepared to live in the UK full time.

Back to New Zealand

Returning to NZ was difficult as I had never lived or worked in the “real

world” but if I did not return now I would never be able to build another

career.

I got married and had my first child with Sonia and attempted to live a

normal life.

Worked as a systems analyst for Xerox (where Greg Brink) another

motorcyclist took pity on me!

Bill Buckley approached me help him with the BSL500 project

(Another three cylinder two stroke GP project)

I ran the engineering side of the project with Loren Poole and Wayne

Wright. Again the project launched too early and we proceeded to

attempt to compete in GP’s. Took the family back to Europe for one

last go!

Many engineering issues but the bike was very impressive. Completely

machined from billet using modern CNC machining in Auckland.

Engine and chassis.

We build electrical systems, carburettor system, exhaust valve

systems, an amazing project.

Sadly as with all large projects it was going to take a lot more budget

and time than the project could supply.

 

2016 Barry Sheene Festival of Speed, Paul Treacy with 3 ex GP riders, Stu Avant, Graeme Crosby & Steve Parrish

Moving on

My career then moved away from motorcycles as I had achieved so

much at the very top of the industry, I had met and worked with the

absolute elite of the sport and some of the absolute characters or the

world but it was time to move on if I was going to build a new career.

Joined a startup technology company involved in text messaging just

as paging was coming to an end and designed and sold technology to

the telecom markets. (Introduced by Rod Drury who went on to build

another successful technology company Xero Ltd.)

The first company Jungledrum Messaging was sold to a US company

and I was involved in the acquisition which was again another

interesting challenge.

We attempted to back door list a company on the NZ stock exchange

but were beaten at the last post. (Which of course was not in my

vocabulary)

I was head hunted by Telecom Mobile to run their text messaging

business where I proceed to learn about corporate life. (not my cup of

tea!)

Of course pushed all boundaries and decided that it would be better

for all if I left and started my own business

Started Eyemagnet Ltd, a technology company focussed on the

delivery and management of video and multimedia to television and

mobile devices.

Raised private investment and built offices in the US and NZ.

Was hit hard by the recession in the US and nearly faltered but have

since rebuilt the company to be a very successful and rapidly growing

business in Australia and NZ.

I am still based in Wellington although spend a lot of time in Australia,

we have built a very strong team full of highly skilled technology

specialists (sounds familiar)

Have recently been persuaded to come back to motorcycling by Stu

Avant the ex Grand Prix rider originally for Christchurch and now runs a

successful business in Sydney. Along with an enthusiast Irishman Tom

Dermotty. They located a beautiful and genuine factory Yamaha

YZR500 that was originally ridden by the Australian Kevin Magee.

Mike Sinclair and myself have assisted Tom and Stu and are running

the bike in display events.

We even have Kevin Magee riding it again, it is as though time has

stood still and Kevin rides just like he did 25 years ago.

I have also been persuaded to do some more riding by Richard Scott

and Aaron Slight with touring rides around New Zealand.

I am enjoying contributing back to the motorcycle sport and industry.

Stu Avant and myself have actively assisted a young motorcycle

mechanic to take up a role heading the service division of Ducati

Australia.

New Zealand really does punch well above its weight in motorsport

and particularly motorcycling not only with riders but also engineers

and mechanics. The current Yamaha MotoGP team still has a Kiwi

element and that together with Mike Webb’s senior role in MotoGP

demonstrates that we are still contributing to the global industry.

Education and training are still core to all aspects of motorcycling and I

hope that young apprentices and riders are given the appropriate

support to continue to realise their aspirations and strive to achieve

great things across the globe.

Motorcycling has moulded my life and I hope it continues to mould

many more!

Kiwis really can fly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highlight Box

Paul Treacy, born in Wellington, travelled the world mainly preparing road race bikes, became the top technology man in the famous World Champion Kenny Roberts Road Race Team.

Just another Kiwi who works behind the scenes to create World Champioship winning motorcycles.

 Read the fascinating story of Paul Treacy, a name that few know of, but his impact on the technical side of motorcycle development led to big manufacturers looking over his shoulder & pouring mega dollars into taking his development to what we see today!