Stolen GP bikes found

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Police have recovered four of five Suzuki 500cc GP bikes stolen four years ago from the team’s Edenbridge, Kent workshop during September 2002.

The GP bikes include those ridden by world champions Barry Sheene, Kevin Schwantz, Scott Russell and kenny Roberts Jr. Former Suzuki Racing Team mechanic Wilf Needham (49) was arrested and charged with handling stolen property. Needham pleaded guilty at a preliminary hearing and has been remanded in custody. He will be sentenced at a time to be determined at Maidstone Crown Court.

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The arrest came after four years of investigative work by Kent police, and by Garry Taylor, who managed the Suzuki team until the end of 2004. Taylor has followed leads with a network of “collectors and friends” since the thefts, including several trips abroad.

“I took this theft very personally,” said Taylor. “The machines were in my custody, and were very valuable. I felt I had let the factory down. i wasn’t going to give up truing to get them back. I’d like to thank Kent Police, particularly DS Gavin Griffith and CI John Biggadike; also Crescent Suzuki, and the motorcycle racing and collecting fraternity.”

MCN Staff

By MCN Staff