Attended St Patricks College Silverstream and son of a Lower Hutt
Served a motorcycle apprenticeship with the Harris family business in
Lower Hutt - Honda City. Mike and his wife Jerry put me “under their
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,
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
Transit Van and awning across UK in late winter living in paddocks…
not exactly California. First race in UK season - Cadwell Park…
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
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
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
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
I got married and had my first child with Sonia and attempted to live a
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Kiwis really can fly.