Former Australian Superbike Champion Marty Craggill will compete at Sears Point Raceway, Sonoma, California this weekend, after accepting an invitation by Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki to replace injured team member Josh Hayes.
Craggill (33) will head to America from his home in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday April 30 to compete at this weekend’s AMA Championship round, which will be his first competitive ride since competing in the final round of last year’s Superbike World Championship at Imola in Italy.
Hayes suffered a serious injury to his left hand while practicing for round two of the AMA Championship at the California Speedway on April 6, where he was to compete in both the 600 Supersport and Formula Xtreme events.
It is expected that Craggill will compete for the team for the period of time that Hayes is out of action while he undergoes rehabilitation for his injured hand and is ready to return to the track.
For Craggill, the opportunity to race in America with a very competitive team is what he has been searching for over the past two years.
“It’s been very frustrating for me over the past two years or so, but I’m feeling positive about the ride with Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki as I know that they are a very good team,” Craggill said before leaving Australia. “I’ve been talking to the team’s management about the ride over the past few weeks and it’s great to be able to get on a plane and head over there. The only other time that I have raced in America was at the Laguna Seca round of the Superbike World Championship last year, so I’m looking forward to it. It will be the third year in a row that I have been in a championship where I’ve had to go out and learn the circuits. It’s a challenge, but I know I’m up to it.”
For Craggill, the return to an in-line four cylinder machine such as the Suzuki GSX-R1000 comes after a year competing in the Superbike World Championship aboard a Ducati 996RS which was not ideally suited to his size and riding style. He will take over Hayes’ Suzuki GSX-R1000 in the Formula Xtreme class, with a decision to be made prior to the event as to whether he will ride Hayes’ GSX-R600 in the Supersport class as well.
“I’m looking forward to getting back on a big in-line four cylinder bike such as the Suzuki GSX-R1000,” Craggill added. ” I think that the Suzuki will suit me. I’m a tall guy and I seem to fit and feel comfortable on it. Not only that, but I’m sure that with all of the right components fitted by the Valvoline EMGO Team, the bike will be extremely competitive.”
Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki won the 2001 AMA Formula Xtreme Championship with young John Hopkins, who is now competing in the MotoGP World Championship.
After winning the Australian Superbike Championship in 1997 and 1998, Craggill moved to England where he competed in the British Superbike Championship for Clarion Suzuki, finishing eighth overall. The following year was a mixed season for him, where, after returning to Australia to compete in the national championship, he headed back to England to replace Peter Goddard in the Kawasaki UK team midway through the season. He then accepted an offer from the fledgling Team Pacific Ducati outfit in the 2001 Superbike World Championship, but found the season deeply frustrating, as the small budget of the team did not allow for sufficient development of the bike and team. Returning to Australia in 2002, Craggill has been busy setting up new business opportunities for he and his family prior to accepting the offer to race in America.
While Hayes continues his recuperation, Craggill will join current Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki members Tom Kipp and Chris Ulrich at Sears Point Raceway. Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki competes in three separate race categories at the AMA Championship events, these being Formula Xtreme, 600 Supersport and 750 Superstock.
Marty Craggill – PROFILE
Lives at: Melbourne, Australia
Date of Birth: 18 December 1968
Status: Married to Diane
Children: son, Max
Hobbies: Motocross, Dirt track, Jet Skiing, Table tennis
First road race: 1990, Australian 250GP Championship
1990 6th Australian 250 GP Championship (Honda RS250)
1991 4th Australian 250 GP Championship (Honda RS250)
1992 15th Australian Superbike Championship (Privateer Kawasaki ZX-7R)
1993 Suffered shoulder and arm injury during pre-season testing and missed complete season
1994 2nd Australian Superbike Championship (Privateer Kawasaki ZX-7R)
1995 5th Australian Superbike Championship (Team Kawasaki ZX-7R)
1996 2nd Australian Superbike Championship (Team Kawasaki ZX-7R), Australian 500GP wild card ride with Team Elf. Failed to finish due to mechanical problems while running 10th.
1997 Australian Superbike Champion (Team Kawasaki ZX-7R)6th overall In World Superbike round at Phillip Island (Team Kawasaki ZX-7R)
1998 Australian Superbike Champion (Team Kawasaki ZX-7R) 5th Suzuka 8-Hour (Team Kawasaki ZX-7R)
1999 8th British Superbike Championship (Team Clarion Suzuki GSX-R750)
2000 Competed in the opening two rounds of the Australian Superbike Championship for Advantage Honda (Honda CBR929RR), before heading to England to replace Peter Goddard aboard the Kawasaki UK ZX-7RR in the British Superbike Championship.
2001 31st Superbike World Championship (Team Pacific Ducati 996RS)