Still bristling from a last place finish in the 2015 International Challenge ‰ÛÓ and with Ireland joining the fray in 2016 to increase the level of competition ‰ÛÓ the former superbike, F1 and 500 GP champion has told his charges that "peacekeeping roles are out the back door this year".
"I want to see our guys ride hard, never give in and to bring home the bacon," said Croz. "It's been a tough year of rebuilding, and a lot of blood, sweat and money has been spent to improve on last year's dismal performance. We also come armed with better equipment. We are not going to arrive to merely make up the numbers."
New Zealand has named an 11-rider International Challenge squad, which includes riders like Pete Byers (Honda CB900) and Vince Sharpe (Suzuki XR69) who were well-known figures in Aussie production and superbike racing during the 1980s, and Damien Kavney (XR69), who was fourth overall in the 2015 International Challenge individual standings.
The balance of the squad is Damien Mackie (Yamaha TZ750), John Beck (Suzuki RG500), Chris Swallow (Ducati), Grant Dalton (XR69), Russell Barker (Suzuki GSX1100), Duncan Coutts (GSX1100), Tim Barnes (Ducati) and Simon Richards (GSX1100).
Only eight riders from each squad ‰ÛÓ Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, America and Ireland ‰ÛÓ can take to the track in the four six-lap International Challenge races.
"We may not have the riders capable of mixing it with the Australian and UK riders on their fragile and over-priced big bangers but remember the old adage is still relevant: 'to finish first, first you have to finish'," says Croz.
And the man who's rarely lost for a word wasn't finished there: "New Zealanders have a knack of being quietly confident without the 'ra-ra-ra' rhetoric so often associated with our cousins across the ditch.