Inducted into MNZ Hall of Fame: 2014
Ginger Molloy came from the small North Waikato town of Huntly. In his early days, he played rugby league alongside fellow MNZ Hall Of Famer Hugh Anderson, representing Huntly United.
In the early 1960s, Molloy’s name started appearing in the major motorcycle road race results sheets in New Zealand, finishing second behind Anderson in the 1962 New Zealand Senior TT and winning or at least making the top three in races from Southland to Auckland.
Following in the Anderson’s footsteps, Molloy headed to Europe to take on the world, campaigning Spanish Bultaco machines as part of the continental circus and World Championship from 1965 to 1969. The little single cylinder two stroke machines would be up against the exotic machinery of the 1960s from Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda and Kawasaki. It would be hard work, but a worthy challenge for the kiwi working with the small Spanish motorcycle maker.
Molloy would have his only World Championship win in the 1966 250cc Ulster Grand Prix before finishing third in the 125cc World Championship and fifth in the 250cc and 350cc World Championships in 1968. The following year he would finish in sixth in the 125cc class.
Leaving Bultaco for Kawasaki in 1970, with the arrival of the new Kawasaki H1-R 500cc machine, he would have a successful season riding the big two stroke triple. The machine was fast but lacked the handling and refinement of the dominant MV Agusta of Giacomo Agostini. He managed four second places from eleven races though, to take second in the 500cc World Championship.
Molloy would continue to race throughout the 1970s in the USA, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He continued his association with the Kawasaki factory and raced the very first factory prepared 750 H2-R outside of Japan, although the USA had been running their own machines through Team Hansen. Molloy raced this bike with some success in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He would also race Yamahas and even a Harley Davidson grand prix machine, all the while establishing his own motorcycle business in Hamilton and Huntly.
Later in life he returned to the race track, building and developing his classic Bultaco machines for classic racing.
In 2009, he had an accident at his home and suffered a serious head injury. While it didn’t look good at the time, he recovered slowly and was back on the track less than two years later, racing his beloved Bultacos in Australia and New Zealand at the ripe old age of 74.
While no New Zealander ever won the 500cc World Championship, four finished second – Keith Turner (1971), Kim Newcombe (1973) and Graeme Crosby (1982), but Ginger Molloy got there first in 1970.
Prepared for the MNZ Hall of Fame by MNZ Historian Ian Dawson