31/03/2012, 01:28

Triple world champion Jason Crump hopes an Australian summer will prove his secret weapon as he bids to win the first ever FIM Buckley Systems New Zealand SGP today.

Crump and his rivals launch their 2012 World Championship campaigns at 4pm local time (4am BST and 5am CET).

The Bristol-born star has not won an SGP round since he triumphed in the FIM European Grand Prix at Leszno in April 2010, and he will be keen to end what is a barren run by his standards in Auckland.

Crump has made the shortest journey of all 16 riders to compete in the NZ showpiece, after making the three-hour hop across the Tasman Sea from his Aussie homeland.

The 36-year-old has spent the past two SGP off-seasons recovering from major surgery on the horrendous arm injury he suffered at Belle Vue in September 2009.

But having got back to full fitness, Crump goes into 2012 after a summer relaxing and practicing Down Under and he can’t wait to get started again in Auckland.

"I’ll just race hard, do my best and hopefully the preparations for this year have been a bit better than the last couple of years."

- Jason Crump

He said: “It has been good and we’ve been in Aussie for a long time. It’s obviously nice to be at home.

“I didn’t fancy going back to Europe for a short time, so I just took the short trip from Aussie to here and hopefully that will help.

“I’ll just race hard, do my best and hopefully the preparations for this year have been a bit better than the last couple of years.

"I’ve been practicing at North Brisbane a bit and I’ve done a bit at Kurri Kurri and went wherever we could go really. Hopefully it will help.”

Despite having the chance to fly to Auckland from California without making a return to Europe, world champion Greg Hancock opted to step up his NZ SGP preparations with a British tour.

Nicki Pedersen and the series’ Elite League riders also got some action under their belts.

But Crump hopes his decision to shun what would have been a two-day round-trip to Europe and on then New Zealand will pay dividends.

He said: “I had the opportunity to go back to England and Europe for a couple of meetings, but I decided we’d just stay here and save the travel. Maybe that’s right, maybe it’s wrong. I don’t know yet.”

Crump has been tipped for victory in Auckland by a number of pundits following Thursday and Friday’s practice sessions. But the man himself is taking nothing for granted.

He said: “I’m pretty happy, but practice is practice and the racing is today. It was a positive session, but you have to be on the pace today.”

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