Triple world champion Jason Crump hopes to “bring the good times back” to British side Oxford after being named the SGB Championship club’s team manager.
The FIM Speedway Grand Prix legend, winner of a record 23 Speedway GP rounds, takes his first step into team management with the Cheetahs.
Oxford initially approached Crump to move to Cowley as a rider following his return to British speedway with SGB Premiership side Ipswich and SGB Championship team Plymouth in 2021.
But Crump admitted: “Riding is not my future. We discussed this which led to a conversation about being team manager.”
The Cheetahs return to the sport after a 14-year absence this season following a fantastic campaign by local supporters to save their stadium, and Crump can’t wait to be part of speedway’s rebirth in Oxford. He said: “I’m so pleased to be part of the regeneration of Oxford Stadium and am excited to begin my journey as a team manager with the Cheetahs.
“It has been a desperately sad period for Oxford Speedway fans. To drive or walk past the stadium in the last 15 years with no speedway must’ve been terribly frustrating. But now we can all look forward to a promising future thanks to the tireless work of those who campaigned to save the stadium plus Jamie Courtney (promoter) and the rest of the team.
“I went to Oxford Stadium many times with my dad (former world No.2 Phil Crump) in the mid-80s watching Hans Nielsen and Simon Wigg, who at the time were arguably the best two riders in the world. Back then, Oxford was a powerhouse club in British speedway and a team that all young riders looked up to.
“We want to bring the good times back. It will take some adjustment to concentrate on the programme and what’s happening in the meeting, but I’m excited for the challenge.”
Crump will lead a team captained by seven-time British champion Scott Nicholls, with former Speedway GP rider Troy Batchelor, Cameron Heeps, Kyle Newman, Jack Thomas, Josh Macdonald and Dillon Ruml also in the side.
Australia’s most successful speedway rider can’t wait to give his new Oxford charges the benefit of his vast experience on the shale.
He said: “Quickly gaining the respect of our riders is going to be a priority for me. Everything I’ve been able to muster through life has been via speedway, so I’m hoping my knowledge and experience will be of value to the whole team, particularly the younger guys starting their careers.”
Crump hopes the Cheetahs can push for success in his first season.
He said: “We’ve got a great team and want to challenge the top boys. We’re lucky to have a great team leader in Scott Nicholls who would be a great captain and No.1 to have at any level of British speedway.
“The excitement is building for me now and I can’t wait to meet the fans and be trackside in the spring at our first meetings.”
Photo: Jeff Higgott