Thursday, August 15

STROUD CALLS IT A DAY

Motorcycling Legend Retires
NINE-times New Zealand Superbike Champion Andrew Stroud has called it a day – the 45-year-old finally hanging up his racing leathers.

He and wife Karyn are expecting their tenth child early in 2014.

The Suzuki stalwart has raced, and won, in a multitude of countries, in a glittering career spanning 27 years, and he signed off this week “with no regrets” after after a long and illustrious career that could only be described as phenomenal.

“I have been thinking about retiring for a couple of years now and played with the option of going again one more time this season.  But it was just time for me to retire.  It was completely my decision to retire and Karyn has been very supportive, as she has throughout my career.

“I have always been aware of the commitment needed to go racing and the focus needed and I just wasn’t prepared to give it any more.”

Stroud began racing motorcycles in 1986 and won his first national championship in the 250 Production class just two seasons later following a season-long battle with Masterton’s Aaron Slight.

Stroud’s career took off from there.

As a shy 19-year-old he surprised the Australian racing scene by racing the Shanton Apparel Yamaha FZR1000 to second place in the fiercely contested Arai 500 kilometre endurance race at Bathurst.  Stroud had never seen the daunting six kilometre concrete wall-lined Mount Panorama circuit before he showed up to practice for the 1988 race and on a Production class bike fitted with a race exhaust, he slithered around in the wet early part of the race and then as he got used to the track, he made his way forward, leaving many seasoned Australian campaigners in his wake.

In the finish, the only team ahead of Stroud was the Marlboro Yamaha Dealer Team’s FZR1000 Superbike run under the management of Warren Willing with Mike Dowson and Mick Doohan sharing the riding.

Stroud went on to race in the United States endurance series and the Suzuka Eight-Hour endurance race in Japan that same year, teaming up with fellow Kiwi great Graeme Crosby on a Moriwaki Honda 750.

It was there that he was recruited by a Japanese team and for the following decade he travelled the world, racing full time for various Superbike and Grand Prix teams, as well as winning national titles in the United States and also racing at the Isle of Man.

He was close personal friend of Christchurch property developer John Britten and he raced Britten’s world-famous V1000 motorcycle to win major events in the United States, including winning the BEARS (British, European and American Racers) world series in 1995.

As well as achieving a record nine New Zealand Superbike title wins, Stroud made it four Formula One title wins in a row in the popular annual Suzuki Tri Series before a crash at Manfeild prematurely ended his 2012 campaign.

Stroud was full of praise for Suzuki New Zealand CEO Tom Peck and all the others who stood behind him throughout his career.

“Suzuki and Tom have been fantastic to deal with.  He is such an honourable man and he knows what it takes to win and I suppose that’s why Suzuki has won nine of the past 10 national superbike crowns,” said Stroud.

“My suspension man Dennis Shaw stuck by me and Pirelli and Brother have been great sponsors, among the many others too.  It is the people I am going to miss more than the racing.”

Tom Peck also took the opportunity to thank Stroud for his many years of service to the Suzuki brand.

“He has done a fantastic job for us over a number of years.  You could not find a better sportsman or ambassador.  It is remarkable that he is such a mild-mannered guy off the track, but a fire-breather on it.



“We thought he might be going to go for one more round, to contest the Nationals for a last time this season, but he has decided now is the time to retire.  We respect that decision, support him and offer Andrew and his family all the best for the future.”