No brakes? No problem

Two-time Speedway champ looks for a rebound season

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, May. 13, 2008
Australian racer Jason Crump powers his way for four loops on an oval dirt track at 80 miles per hour. Oh, and did we mention his bike doesn’t have any brakes?

That’s the world of World Speedway Grand Prix, an International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) sanctioned racing series based primarily in Europe.

16 racers compete in round-robin heats on oval tracks with the top eight qualifying for playoff rounds.

Racers like Crump compete on bikes which, when compared to the high-powered two-wheelers in Superbike and MotoGP racing, are best described as ‘minimalist’. Speedway racers use methanol-powered one-cylinder 500cc motorcycles with one carburetor and one spark plug. They run on just one gear (depending on track length) and brakes are not permitted.

Crump is a two-time World Speedway champion, winning the 2004 and 2006 titles. He also has four second-place finishes and a third-place finish, placing him in the top three in the final rider standings each year since 2001. Racers earn championship points for their results in each heat.Without any brakes, Speedway racers need firm control over their steering and engine.

Crump comes from a line of racers. His father, Phil Crump, was also a speedway racer, finishing third in the 1976 World Championship when Jason was just a year old.

On the maternal side, Jason Crump’s grandfather, Neil Street was also a speedway racer and received the Order of Australia for his contributions as manager of the Australian Speedway team.

For the 2008 season, Crump is looking to rebound from a poor (by his standards) 2007 season marked by mechanical problems and a broken kneecap. Despite these obstacles, Crump still finished third in the standings behind champion Nicki Pedersen and Leigh Adams.

“It was satisfying, but it was my worst result in seven years,” says Crump. “I have a lot of unfinished business this year.”

After two races this season, Crump finds himself in the middle of the pack, tied for seventh with Niels-Kristian Iversen with 18 points. Defending champ Pedersen leads with 33.

Crump and Pedersen had a run in during the final lap of semi-finals in the European Grand Prix event on May 10, which led to Crump being excluded from the finals. In the season-opening stop in Slovenia, Crump was hampered by poor luck, drawing the outside starting positions in most of the preliminary races under rain-drenched conditions.

Without any brakes and relying on one gear, Speedway racers maintain control through careful throttle management and engine braking.

“When you are racing for World Championships you need the best equipment available and K&N delivers just that. K&N is one less thing to worry about during the season,” says Crump. “K&N filters are the best for dirt track racing in good or bad weather. K&N keeps the dirt out of my engines.”

The next stop in the Speedway Grand Prix is May 24 in Gothenburg, Sweden.