Thursday, 23 September 2010

Eddie Crooks; 1931-2010

It saddens me to say that yet another motorcycle legend from Northern Britain has passed away to the great workshop in the sky. Former Suzuki dealer and road racer, Eddie Crooks passed away on August 6th. He was 78. Eddie had been suffering from prostate cancer, something that he had battled against for the past nine years.

Eddie rose to fame as a trials, scrambles and road racing star in the 1950s, representing the army in the International Six Days Trials and achieving three gold medal awards. A regular podium finisher in the Manx Grand Prix for many years, he won the 1959 Senior race achieving lap and race records in the process. In the 1960 TT he rode an experimental works Norton and was drafted in as part of the East German MZ factory team.

Eddie in the 1954 ISDT
When Eddie retired from racing he started his own motorcycle business in Barrow-in-Furness and became one of the first Suzuki dealers in the UK. Due to his love of road racing he saw the potential for turning Suzuki road bikes into race winners and that is what he did with his race team.

Eddie’s “Crooks Suzuki’s won at National and International level, including Manx Grand Prix, TT and Thruxton 500 mile events. In 1968 Eddie raced again at Monza, Italy with his team in a bid to beat the 350cc 24 hour world record, this was done on an oversize 250cc Suzuki T20 road bike. The record, an average speed of 91.055mph over a 24 hour period, still stands to this day - testament to the reliability of the Suzuki T20 and the sterling efforts of the record-breaking team of riders.
1969 TT
When Eddie moved back to the Isle of Man in the 1990s he did not retire, he ran a newspaper shop for some years and also enjoyed being an extra in the Manx film industry, notably riding an old MZ naked for a part in the film "Waking Ned". He still kept his links with the motorcycling fraternity and I had a fabulous afternoon reminiscing with him a few years ago at a reunion near Kendal. In fact three generations of the Crooks family arrived at that event, Eddie, Martin, Tom and Elliot, all aboard a Suzuki GS850 sidecar combination. Crooks Suzuki is still thriving today and is now run by Eddie's son, Martin Crooks. It's great to see that it retains the genuine family motorcycle businesses atmosphere and is still operating out of the original shop on Crellin Street in Barrow.
Martin, Tom, Elliot and Eddie Crooks at Devils Bridge, Cumbria;
Eddie’s funeral took place on Friday 13th August at St.Mary's RC Church, Hill Street, Douglas, Isle of Man. For more detailed history of Eddie Crooks and his career take a look at this section of the Crooks Suzuki website, where Martin has uploaded dozens of historic facts and photographs of his late, great Dad.

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Whitehaven, Cumbria, United Kingdom
Disenchanted City Boy who rode out of the fast lane and into the back lanes! Life on Two Wheels is so much fun.