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Crump’s signature is a ‘wow’ moment for Ipswich Witches

19 February, 2020 - 12:15
Jason Crump, a Witch in 2020. Photo: PA

Jason Crump, a Witch in 2020. Photo: PA

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Sports writer MIKE BACON reflects on the impact a returning Jason Crump could have on Ipswich Witches and speedway in general in 2020

There are very few 'wow' moments in sport.

It doesn't matter what sport you follow - 'wow', 'OMG', 'incredible' - those reactions don't come about that often.

They come about even less in speedway.

So, Ipswich Witches' signing of three-time world champion Jason Crump for the 2020 season is pure delight, not just for Ipswich fans, but fans of the sport in the UK. It's a true 'wow' moment.

OK, he hasn't been riding regularly for a while now. He's 44 and hardly in the prime of his speedway career.

But over analyse that at your peril. Because Crump is a winner. A thorough professional. A man who knows the score.

He's not someone who has suddenly decided on a whim to take back up a sport he graced throughout his illustrious career.

This is a man who will have given deep and considered thought to this decision and, once taken, it will be all in.

I'm thrilled, not just for the Witches, but for British Speedway in general that a rider like Crump is joining another former 3x world champion - Nicki Pedersen - who is racing for Sheffield this year, back on the tracks up and down the UK.

Because, like Pedersen, Crump will be a crowd puller. Oh yes, make no mistake.

Trying to put his signing for the Witches in context to the professional football club here in the town, I'll liken it to Ipswich Town signing David Beckham... You know the best days have gone, but you know the quality and talent is still there. You know the crowds will love to come and watch him.

Jason Crump will be a huge plus for the Witches in 2020.

On track he will work his socks off to get as many points as possible. I know from speaking to Chris Louis, Crump is already investing and hunting down the very best equipment.

There will be no half measures.

No, I'm not expecting double figure scores wherever he goes, wherever he races. That's unrealistic.

But he'll be a very big player for Ipswich on and off the track.

And for the likes of young Ipswich riders in this year's team, Cameron Heeps, Jake Allen and Drew Kemp, a legend like Crump adding his assistance and advice - well, you can't put a price on it.

I know some people will scoff, mainly because of Crump's age and lack of recent on-track racing.

I've even read a couple of posts that it's a 'publicity stunt'... I can't think of more ignorant and offensive thing to say about one of the great motorcyclists Australia has ever produced returning to such a dangerous sport.

Personally, like all Witches fans, I can't wait to watch Crump ride.

Jason Crump (centre) celebrates his win with Nicki Pedersen (right) who finished third, as second place Scott Nicholls (left) watches on after the Grand Final of the the Elite League Championships at Owlerton Stadium, Sheffield in 2001. Photo: PAJason Crump (centre) celebrates his win with Nicki Pedersen (right) who finished third, as second place Scott Nicholls (left) watches on after the Grand Final of the the Elite League Championships at Owlerton Stadium, Sheffield in 2001. Photo: PA

Because you know on and off track, it's going to be 110%. It's gonna be a thrill.

Welcome to Ipswich Crumpie.

And welcome back to British Speedway.

Is it March yet?

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