Crooks Suzuki


Number 56 in the 1974 Senior TT at Governor’s Bridge, is Steve Tonkin who retired during the race.
Steve went on to become 250cc British Champion and 1981 250 TT winner on an Armstrong.

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Martin Crooks’ dreaming on the 2000 500GP winning RGV Suzuki

Charlie Williams

“The newspaper cutting of Les Trotter has me on the left of him, I was hiding a plastered leg at the time as I’d fallen off my Suzuki 350 Goose. The crutches are hiding behind the bike somewhere!” Martin Crooks

Keith Napier took the following photos of the Crooks Suzukis. Sadly Keith has passed away since this page was built.

Photo by Keith Napier

Photo by Keith Napier

Photo by Keith Napier

Photo by Keith Napier

Photo by Keith Napier

“This one is of the late Danny Shimmin leaping Ballaugh Bridge. After being the fastest in practice he lead the 1972 Senior Manx Grand Prix on a Crooks-Suzuki (Seeley chassis with air cooled TR500 engine) from the start, only to retire on the 6th and final lap at Sulby when the rear sprocket bolts sheared ! Danny went on to win the 1976 250cc Manx Grand Prix on a 250 Yamaha. He also finished 2nd in the 1976 Senior Manx Grand Prix, only 1.4 seconds down on Les Trotter on a Crooks-Suzuki (Seeley chassis with air cooled TR500 engine). Danny became a top privateer in the TT races during the 1980’s, then made a great comeback in the Classic Racing scene in the 90’s. Unfortunately Danny lost his life due to injuries after a crash during a practice session for the 1997 Classic Manx Grand Prix.” – Martin Crooks

“Here is a shot of Les Trotter during his winning ride in the 1976 Senior Manx Grand Prix. The Les Trotter photo is of an air cooled genuine TR500 engine in a Colin Seeley frame that my dad built originally in 1972. It had had a few modifications over the years before Les won the Manx on it. Les bought the bike back many years ago and has restored it to virtually as the 1976 photo.” – Martin Crooks

“another photo showing me in 1972! Left to Right: 1972 500 production TT winner, Stan Woods, Race and shop mechanic, John Maddison The sponsor, team manager and my dad, Eddie Crooks And me!” – Martin Crooks

“Stan Woods at Quarter Bridge during the 500 production TT race in 1973, he should have won it, but had a problem while leading and ended up finishing 2nd. The bike is a Crooks Suzuki T500K in production trim, with Dunstall forks. ” – Martin Crooks

Martin Crooks on Les Trotter’s Seeley TR500 at Union Mills 1999

Martin again in 1999 at Sulby Bridge

TT Riders Association artist, Rod Organ at Windy corner

No61 T500-2 1970 production TT winner
No1 Select Suzuki 1976 senior MGP winner

1971-Carnival.jpg (64209 bytes)

EDDIE CROOKS MOTORCYCLES carnival float in 1971.
The New T500R is the centre attraction with a couple of girls that the lads from the shop were knocking about with!
I’m the kid on a Kawasaki 100cc wondering where to look next !
I remember all our street making paper flowers to put on the Co-op milk float thet my dad borrowed.

1972-MGP-Practice.jpg (66005 bytes)

Thursday afternoon of practice week Manx Grand Prix 1972. First in the queue was the Crooks Suzuki Seeley TR500 of Danny Shimmin, second was Doug Lunn who was also on a T500 based racer. It was a big thing to be the first to set off in the practice sessions, especially the Thursday as it was the only afternoon session and was a warm up for the race. As I remember my Father took the bike up very early and left me, John Kneen (a friend from the Isle of Man) and another eager schoolboy to look after the bike for a few hours. This meant the riders, mechanics and my Dad could get on with other jobs. Our reward was to sit on the bike and operate the throttle when it had to be warmed up !

Left to Right:

Martin Crooks (eager 11 year old schoolboy).

Danny Shimmin (fastest in practice, should have won the race, but the rear sprocket bolts sheared at Sulby on the last lap while in the lead).

Eddie Crooks (probably just putting the race plugs in).

Doug Lunn (wondering why he had no pit crew !)

1976-Ed+LT+Mayor.jpg (68468 bytes)

“Mayor” – Shows a reception at Barrow-in-Furness Town Hall a few days after Les had won.

Left to right:    Eddie Crooks, The Mayor of Barrow-in-Furness, Les Trotter (in trendy jacket!)  

1976-MGP-finish.jpg (66856 bytes)

From 1976 Manx Grand Prix.

Shows the top 3.

Left to right:    No. 29: Brian Robinson (3rd)

                     Vera Morris, My Granny(Eddie’s Mum)

                     No. 1: Les Trotter (1st)

                     Eddie Crooks

                     No. 71: Danny Shimmin (2nd)

Shell oils must have provided them all with the silly hats!

Thanks to Martin Crooks for the photos and text

Martin Crooks at the Crooks Suzuki display at the 1999 IOM TT (photo by Chris Bradley)

1971-Cadwell.jpg (108934 bytes)

A photo that is taken from the September issue of Northern Biker Magazine, a popular mag in the UK.  It was shown on a feature about Cadwell Park race circuit in Lincolnshire. It shows the start of a what I think must be a British Championship race in 1971. On the far side of the 2nd row is Stan Woods on one of my dad’s Seeley TR500’s.

Other riders are:

24    John Cooper (BSA Rocket 3)
16    Derek Chatterton (Yamaha)
19    Paul Smart ? (Yamaha)
49    Tony Jefferies (Triumph Trident)
78    Tony Rutter (Yamaha)

More importantly at the side of the track is the Crooks Suzuki back up team !  Eddie leaning on armco above the P of Player, To his right our parts manager of the time, Danny Prentice,  To Eddie’s left, above the A is race mechanic, John Maddison.  And the best is above the E, the kid in the Bultaco anorak, IT’S ME ! What a shock I got when I was thumbing through the mag and found this classic shot.

Martin Crooks – March 2001

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I went to many meetings with my Dad. I can remember getting carried out to the Ford Thames van in the early hours of the morning and setting of to go to various race circuits in the 60’s with Dad, Frank Whiteway and a few other folk. I remember being at Mallory Park when John Cooper beat Agostini and Ago went and sulked in his van.

I was at Brands Hatch when Agostini was there, the officials would not let me into the paddock to meet up with my Dad, so Agostini sorted them and sat me on his MV and took me to the paddock. I was at the transatlantic meetings in the early 70’s when Mert Lawill, Cal Rayborn and Dick Mann were racing. I remeber my Dad talking to Dick Mann and I was amazed to see his toes peeping out of his boots as he had worn through the leather and duct tape!

I have many memories of the TT and Manx as I used to be the tea boy and tank polisher.

Attached is a shot of me on a Sidecar beloning to Vic Hudson and Jack Hart from Canada. It’s taken outside my Granny’s house in the Isle of Man during the 1973 TT. My Dad and his mechanics had been doing some work on it. They raced in the 500 and 1000 sidecar race, but I’m not to sure if this one has a T500 or GT750 engine. It has yellow plates that generally mean for the 500 class.

Eddie Crooks with the Seeley framed Crooks Suzuki 500s

eddie.jpg (37557 bytes)

Thanks to Martin Crooks for the photos and text


Author: muzza