'I get a cold shiver thinking about it'! Ipswich Witches ace Jason Crump on the 2021 season
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Jason Crump flies into England next week ahead of the new speedway season - looking for a fast and busy start to the new campaign.
The 3x world champion and Ipswich Witches ace is already eyeing up a hectic year of racing for both the Witches in the Premiership, as well as doubling up with Plymouth in the Championship.
And while Crump has done it all and seen it all on speedway circuits all over the world, the 45-year-old admits he is already getting 'a cold shiver' just thinking about the prospect of racing in England again in front of fans.
"You just talking to me about that first meeting, the parade, lots of fans back, honestly it genuinely makes me excited," Crump said.
"It makes me nervous. I get a cold shiver thinking about it!
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"I'm sure the stadiums will be fuller than they have been for a while and I think the riders will be very keen to get things underway and get racing. I can't wait to get started."
Crump has been riding Down Under this winter and doing as many meetings as he could fit in. He has also now recovered fully from a wrist and pelvis injury he suffered in Australia in a motocross crash last year - just a few weeks after returning from press and practice day in Ipswich - an injury that was kept quiet at the time!
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"Yep, after press day last season at Ipswich I returned home and had a big motocross crash," Crump said.
"No-one needed to know as I wasn't missing any racing. I told Chris Louis because at that stage he thought the season in England may begin in August. I knew I wouldn't be ready to go if it did, bearing in mind I'd fractured my pelvis in four places as well.
"Quite honestly I pushed myself to ride in that first challenge meeting at Belle Vue, it was a week or two too early. But now I've had another operation back here in Oz on my wrist and I've been signed off to go, so it's all behind us.
"My wrist is feeling good now."
Crump is looking for a busy, as well as a fast start to the 2021 campaign in England.
The season has now been pushed back to a May 17 start to allow - in fitting with the current Government roadmap - crowds to a certain number to be back.
"The start of the season looks like it is going to do me a bit of a favour," Crump said.
"To be honest, it couldn't be planned better. There is nothing better than a busy spell. I need to make it my habit again, every other day on the bike, that will be very beneficial.
"We're flying over on Friday, April 2, me and Seth. My wife will be over later, my daughter is staying at home as she's at university."
Crump was a huge coup signing for the Witches last year and, along with Nicki Pedersen who had signed for Sheffield, were two former world champions returning to England to race - Crump coming out of retirement to do so.
But while Nicki Pedersen can't commit to England this year, his namesake Bjarne Pedersen, who is 42, is returning to England to race - with Peterborough Panthers in the Premiership - and Plymouth, alongside Crump, in the Championship.
Dane Pedersen, who was world number six in 2005, has three top-flight British titles under his belt with Poole but has not featured in this country since 2016.
Crump is not surprised to see him back in the saddle in England.
Crump said: "I think the whole thing with Covid, globally, where so many people have lost their lives has made people realise we are only here for a short period of time and you have got to get as much as you can out of life in that time. Enjoy yourself as much as you can, enjoy what you are doing.
"For human kind, I think the whole thing has been a bit of a wake up call.
"It's more than just speedway riders going back to the sport, doing what they are doing. More people in all walks of life are looking at the way they live their life day to day."
On track, Ipswich's 2021 team sees a couple of changes from the 2020 side that Crump first signed up to, with Nico Covatti and Jake Allen, who both couldn't commit to England in 2021, being replaced by Jordan Stewart and Anders Rowe.
"I think both riders are very good additions," Crump said.
"Ipswich still have a good team, a very capable team and most importantly I think the team spirit will be very good.
"Danny King, the captain, is a leader and real team player and when you have him, along with Ritchie (Hawkins) and Chris (Louis) at the helm, that's all good."
Aside from speedway, Crump, who lives on the Gold Coast in New South Wales, spoke of the horrendous flooding that had struck that part of Australia in recent days.
"The main floods are about 400km south of us. But we've had four or five days of continuous rain, about 120mm a day," he said.
"Fortunately we live on a hill, so we are pretty safe, but our swimming pool and backyard are flooded.
The speedway season in Britain starts on Monday, May 17 - a modified fixture list is out soon.
Meanwhile, all six top-flight clubs, including Ipswich, will participate in the new Premiership Junior League this season.
The clubs have been split into two regional groups with Belle Vue, Sheffield and Wolverhampton making up one section and Ipswich, King’s Lynn and Peterborough in the other. The group winners will meet in the Final.
Ipswich Witches boss Chris Louis said: “It’s thought that those group matches will take place in the ‘A’ fixtures between the clubs, with the ‘B’ fixture being the opportunity to run the Final.
“So it’s a very short competition this year, but obviously in between that I think all of the clubs intend to have as many junior second halves as possible."