Jason Crump big interview: Aussie legend on his big comeback, nasty injuries, plans for 2021 and offers to return to Polish speedway
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
It may not have been a full year of racing, but JASON CRUMP has been back on a bike, eight years after quitting. Now signed for Ipswich Witches, MIKE BACON caught up with him to see how his year had unfolded. And what his plans for the future are.
Jason Crump will be back racing for Ipswich Witches in 2021. He has also revealed something many Witches fans were unaware - that he fractured his pelvis and broke his wrist in a moto-cross crash AFTER the Witches press and practice day in March!
Three-time world champion Crump, 45, has been reflecting on a year with plenty of twists and turns, not just for the sport, but for him as well.
All set to race this summer at Foxhall, Crump flew back home to Australia after press and practice day with the Witches in March, before his crash Down Under, a return to England a few months later and a third place finish in the British Final. All a bit of a whirlwind.
He still has one meeting left – the Peter Craven Memorial - at Belle Vue on Thursday night.
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And he admits that, after what was a big decision to return to the track after an eight-year absence, he’s glad he has done so.
“I’ve been pretty pleased with the way I’ve ridden to be honest,” he said.
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“My first meeting (a team meeting at Belle Vue), wasn’t fantastic but I finished well and of course there was room for improvement.
“And as regards the British Final, well I made a huge mistake in one race and that cost me a place straight into the final and a first pick of gates.
“But overall I’m happy with how I’ve ridden.
“It’s not an excuse but I have new bikes to learn and understand. It’s a challenge for me, to see what I can get out of myself at 45 years old. It’s the reason I’m doing it.
“It was a big life change giving up speedway eight years ago and it’s another big life change starting up again after so many years.
“A couple of mates asked me what my goals were when I said I was going to give it a go again, but I said, how can I have goals after so long out? The challenge was - and is always - just to embrace the next stage.”
Crump is already looking ahead to 2021 when he - like the whole speedway world - will be hoping the sport can start up again in March after losing out on a whole season this summer.
“It has always absolutely been my plan to come back in 2021 with Ipswich,” he said.
“In fact when I said I’d ride in 2020, I didn’t really speak much to Chris Louis about this, but I always wanted to do more than just one season. It was never going to be just one year. Do a couple at least and see where we are at.”
However, what not many people know is that while Crump did return to England to compete in the British Final, it could have been very different if a moto-cross crash while out riding with his son Seth, had been worse.
“I went back to Australia after press and practice day and hung around for a bit, then crashed my moto-cross bike, I fractured my pelvis and broke my wrist.
“I was out with Seth at the time. It was a simple crash but the bike came after me. I was in hospital for a week. It wasn’t great.
“Seth’s season started in England, so when we came back over I had some work done on my wrist from a guy I know in Northampton, so I was fit to race at Belle Vue in that first team meeting.”
Crump’s return to the track was noted by other teams, mainly in Poland, where he was a huge star during his previous years of racing.
“Oh, yeah, I’ve had offers from clubs, not in the UK mind you, but Poland. But as I said, I had my pelvis and wrist injury at the time, so I wasn’t busting a gut to go ride in Poland this year,” he said.
Crump’s son, Seth has been competing in the British Junior Supersport Championship and just finished a fine season with an overall second place finish, from five rounds and 10 races. So, will he follow dad down the speedway route?
“He can ride speedway but he won’t go down that route, he’s a road racer,” Crump said.
Meanwhile, Crump will head back to Australia in the next few weeks to rejoin his wife and son who have already returned home.
He’s been helping out with the GB Youth Academy and has clearly made the most of his time back in the UK. And he has some thoughts on the future of the sport in these challenging times for it - especially the live streaming of meetings.
“The live streaming that’s been going on at Belle Vue seems to have gone down well,” he said.
“I don’t know the exact numbers who watched but I can’t see anytime soon Covid won’t be in our lives, perhaps live streaming of meetings needs to be considered if that’s what is needed to start next season.
“Speedway fans like to watch their sport, if they can’t do so live, perhaps streaming is the way to go until they can.”
MEANWHILE, Ipswich’s young reserve Drew Kemp competed in the Speedway of Nations in Poland at the weekend but didn’t get a ride for the GB side. He does however ride in the British U21 championship at Berwick on Wednesday night. Kemp is the current British U19 champion.