Jason Crump set to retire from Speedway GP
Speedway’s greatest Grand Prix performer, Gold Coaster, Jason Crump has announced his decision to quit the world championship after 144 rounds and 17 years in the competition.
Crump, 37, will take his place in a Grand Prix for the final time in 13 days, but in a typically magnanimous gesture, admitted he wanted to make this statement now and not take away the limelight from the world champion in Poland on October 6.
The highest GP scorer, top all-time GP finalist, top all-time final winner and 10-time top-three finisher, revealed that he will be standing down from the top flight world championship but will be continuing his domestic European racing in 2013 after spending the European winter months back on the Gold Coast.
“I am looking forward to being home for Christmas – it is four degrees outside here,” Crump joked with Speedcafe.com.
Crump won the world under 21 title in 1995 and won the world championship in 2004, 2006 and 2009 – making him one of this country’s greatest, but underrated achievers.
“This is a decision I have made with my family some time ago. I am not here to steal anyone’s thunder and I believe by announcing this today will allow the world champion to enjoy their rightful place with all the headlines in a fortnight,” he said..
“After 12 rounds and a tough series, whoever wins the overall world championship in Torun deserves all the plaudits.
“I am extremely proud of my record in the Grand Prix and have gone into every single world championship meeting believing I could win.
“This is a tough unforgiving series and I would like to think that I have always been a contender.
“Although I am not at the Grand Prix series summit with one round remaining, I have won a round in Copenhagen this year and have made finals throughout and made my presence felt.”
A passionate Australian who learnt his craft at Mike Hatcher Speedway in Labrador, Crump said that he felt he couldn’t be standing down at a more exciting time for his country in the sport.
“When I first entered the world championship arena I was fortunate to have some outstanding Aussie compatriots like Leigh Adams and Craig Boyce who were durable opponents but huge inspirations on and off the track.”
“I leave the series with Chris Holder on the brink of star status and fellow Aussie Darcy Ward ready to step onto the GP stage. I have no doubt they will lead the new generation on track with style.”
“I feel privileged to have played a part in the early part of Chris’ career and of course I would like nothing better than for him to be the next Australian world champion after me.”
Reflecting on a stunning career in the sport, Crump says stepping down will allow others to create a new era for world championship speedway.
“I have been racing bikes a lot longer than most of the riders in the Grand Prix. But I want a new breed to enjoy what I have been involved in for nearly two decades.”
“And I want them to go into the series all believing, like me, that they can win. From the moment I got on a bike my goal was to be world champion. The fact I was lucky enough to enjoy the feeling three times is something I will never forget.”
“I’ve had my time and been one of the few to reach the pinnacle. Now it’s an opportunity for others to take the stage and enjoy the limelight.”
Crump recalled his 10 successive years of finishing in the top three of the world championship and his rivalry with six-times champion Tony Rickardsson.
“I would like to think over a 10-15 year period there was no one to match my consistency in the world championship and domestic speedway where I finished top of the averages in all the leagues I have competed. To finish in the top three in the world championship for 10 successive seasons is a record I am extremely happy to have,” said Crump.
“My rivalry with Tony was intense and even though we had so many track battles we never had a bad word for each other on or off the track. He set the bar, I would match it and then he would go out and beat it. He was a wonderful speedway rider and I am very proud to have ridden in the same era.”
Crump admitted that he still has no thoughts about quitting the sport altogether and will continue to race in domestic speedway.
“I feel I still I can offer league speedway the best of Jason Crump. I still firmly believe I can win races and lead from the front, but I’ve had my x-factor moment in world championship racing, hit the giddy heights and now it’s for others to enjoy a new era without me as part of the series.”
Crump said he had many people to thank for their help during his Grand Prix career.
“I have had the best sponsors and made many great friends along the way so I count myself so fortunate – in particular my wife, Melody and my uncle Drew who have only missed a handful of Grand Prix meetings between them. Without all of these supporters there is no way I could have achieved the high standards which I have been able to maintain from my first GP 17 years ago to my final meeting at Torun in two weeks time.”
When Jason Crump takes his place in his 145th Grand Prix in Torun in October 6 and races across the chequered flag for the final time and steps aside, top-flight world championship speedway will be saying goodbye to a true legend who has been a true ambassador and flag bearer for the sport over nearly two stunning decades of oval racing.