Australian motorsport has lost one of its great progressive thinkers with the passing of well respected sprintcar team owner Shane Krikke.
The West Australian lost his battle with cancer on Sunday, aged 46.
Originally diagnosed in 1998 with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, Krikke beat the disease and went on to build one of the most endearing legacies in Australian speedway before cancer came back and ultimately claimed his life.
Born into an iconic West Australian speedway racing family, Krikke was a successful local sprintcar racer himself before the first bout of cancer struck him.
With illness ending his own racing career, Krikke continued in the sport as a car owner under the Krikke Motor Sport banner and his ‘hot rods’ – as he fondly called his racecars – have become respected in global sprintcar racing circles.
KMS introduced Donny Schatz to Australia during the 1999/2000 season and the then young American went on to produce a World Series Sprintcars seven-event unbeaten stretch that has never been topped.
Krikke’s team scored its first Australian title in 1993 at Claremont with Shane’s uncle, Ron Krikke, before Skip Jackson took his first and only Australian Sprintcar title in Brisbane in 2001.
Robbie Farr was the next KMS title winner on home soil for the team in Bunbury in 2004. A year later, Brooke Tatnell produced an emotional victory in his family owned car at Murray Bridge after nearly 20 years of trying.
It was following Tatnell’s win, which came amid his father George’s cancer battle, that one of the most successful car owner/driver relationships in Australian motorsport history was created.
Four Australian titles were added to Tatnell’s 2005 win under the KMS banner.
In addition, four of Tatnell’s nine World Series Sprintcars titles and the 2009 Grand Annual Sprintcar Classic were won in Krikke ‘hot rods’, along with four hard fought runner-up Classic results.
Krikke’s outfit was regarded as one of the best in the sport globally and a perennial question in speedway was when would Krikke Motor Sport take on the might of America?
Sadly, it is a question that will remain unanswered, for the time being at least.
Devout, tough and a straight shooter, Krikke built respect in speedway circles, running his team with utmost professionalism and a sense of fun.
Outside racing, Krikke built a successful business in Bunbury Toyota, it moving to new, larger premises earlier this month – something Krikke took great pride in.
He battled like any racing opponent with a simple, ‘we’ve got this’ becoming the catchcry for not only Shane but the entire Speedway industry who were pushing for Krikke to beat it.
On Sunday, June 26, the toughest fight of Shane Krikke’s life ended way too soon.
Krikke is survived by his wife Jodie, daughter Taylor, parents Peter and Julie and brother Ryan.
A funeral service will be held at Crematorium Chapel, 10 Belcher Street Bunbury on Saturday 2 July from 12.30pm.