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SGP ICONS | JASON CRUMP

SpeedwayGP.com profiles the icons of the FIM Speedway Grand Prix series. Today, we feature triple world champion Jason Crump.

06 / 11 / 2018, 08:00

SpeedwayGP.com profiles the icons of the FIM Speedway Grand Prix series. Today, we feature triple world champion Jason Crump.

Australia has produced some of world speedway’s all-time greats, including six world champions. But none of them won more titles than Crump – a man who remains an icon to the nation’s current generation of stars six years on from his final SGP event at Torun in 2012.

Crump made his SGP debut at the 1995 British FIM Speedway Grand Prix in Hackney, East London, scoring 12 points and reaching the B Final in the year he became World Under-21 champion at Finnish track Tampere.

He made his full-time SGP debut in the 1996 series, finishing 10th but storming to his first ever win at Hackney on August 31, 1996.

It wasn’t enough to earn him a spot for 1997, but Crump battled his way back for 1998 and it was the start of a glorious and unbroken 15-year stint on the sport’s biggest stage.

His love affair with the British SGP continued as he won the Coventry edition in 1998, before winning his first outside of the UK at Swedish circuit Linkoping in 2000 on his way to fourth in the world.

Crump was climbing and one of the most consistent runs of form in speedway history was only just beginning.

The Belle Vue legend finished in the world’s top three for 10 seasons on the trot between 2001 and 2010 – a feat matched only by five-time champion Ove Fundin between 1956 and 1965.

Crump kicked off a decade of medals with three silvers in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Even though he tallied five SGP wins during these years, he was determined to avoid being the nearly man for a fourth straight season.

And he delivered his first world title in 2004, topping the podium ahead of Swedish great Tony Rickardsson and American legend Greg Hancock, celebrating his third straight victory in Prague and top spot at the Danish SGP in Copenhagen along the way.

There was little Crump could do to deny Rickardsson his sixth and final world title in 2005, as TR won an astonishing six of the nine rounds in what has to go down as the most dominant SGP performance to date.

But the man from Down Under was back on top in 2006, taking four victories in Wroclaw, Eskilstuna, Cardiff and Lonigo to become a double world champ and finish the series 44 points ahead of nearest rival Greg Hancock.

Crump took bronze in 2007 – the first year since 1999 that he was unable to win an SGP round. He remedied that with triumphs at Cardiff and Daugavpils on his way to silver in 2008.

Both of those years were dominated by Nicki Pedersen, but it was Crump’s turn to take the limelight in 2009 as he took the championship by the scruff of the neck from the word go.

He blazed to the final in all of the first seven rounds, winning three of them. But there’s no doubt his victory in Cardiff was the highlight as Crump stormed through the card with a commanding 24-point maximum on the FIM Speedway Grand Prix series’ biggest stage on June 27 – one of his greatest nights.

Things got tough towards the end of the series when Crump sustained serious upper arm injuries in a crash at British track Belle Vue.

He gritted his teeth to score four points at the Italian round in Terenzano, before finishing the job with nine in Bydgoszcz. His explosive start to see off title rival Emil Sayfutdinov, outgoing champion Nicki Pedersen and Freddie Lindgren in heat 13 sealed what proved to be his final world title.

Crump completed his decade on the rostrum with a bronze medal behind Polish pair Tomasz Gollob and Jaroslaw Hampel in 2010, before having to make do with fourth place in 2011 – a result which still meant he had finished 12 straight seasons in the world’s top four – every 21st century series to that point.

After enduring a few injury issues in 2012, Crump announced the series would be his last and retired from the sport after the Torun SGP on October 6, finishing sixth in the final standings.

While he fell short of the semis on five points that night, his parting gift to Australian speedway was his intervention in semi-final two which saw compatriot Chris Holder bidding to join him in the club of Aussie world champs.

The race was stopped after title rivals Holder and Pedersen collided in a tight first turn, with the duo becoming embroiled in a war of words at the pit gate.

With mechanics splitting the pair up as tensions threatened to boil over, Crump led Holder away from the scene and into a quiet room away from the action to help him re-gather his thoughts.

After a few pearls of wisdom, Holder roared out of the start to win the re-run and claim the sport’s biggest prize.

With Jason Doyle going on to match that feat in 2017, it appears the future of Australian speedway is in safe hands. But the likes of Doyle and Holder have some way to go to match the heroics of a man who still holds the record for the most SGP wins on 23.

 

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