Sunday, April 25


Australian speedway specialist Jason Crump has opened his Speedway World Championship title defence in emphatic style, winning the European Grand Prix  at Alfred Smoczyk Stadium in Leszno, Poland today.

Crump won three of his five heat races before switching bikes for his semi-final race. A win in the semi saw him awarded second gate pick for the final behind event favourite Jaroslaw Hampel.

The Australian took the lead off the start but a two rider crash forced the final to a race restart. Crump made another good start and went on to win the race ahead of Hampel and Russian rider Emil Sayfutdinov.

The three-time World Champion who is still recovering from a serious injury sustained at the end of last season acknowledged he was surprised to win the opening event and said he is still struggling to lift anything heavy with his left arm.

"This is a great start to the year, I have never ever won the first grand prix of the season," Crump said. "And to win on Anzac day makes it even more special. 

“At the end of last season, I thought I would be able to start defending the World Championship in about June if I was lucky.  So it’s a big bonus to be here at the start of the season and an even bigger bonus to get into the final.

"I won my first three heat races but then finished third and last, but still went into the second semi-final as the top scorer. I decided to change bikes as I wasn't sure if it was the bike or I had just a bad couple of runs.

With Poland in a week of mourning following the death of the Polish Prime Minister and Iceland's volcanic ash clouds grounding UK an European flights Crump did not have the ideal lead in to this season opener

"To be honest it wasn't the ideal lead in to a Grand Prix race," Crump continued.  "With the airlines down I had to drive from England to Sweden last week and then with Poland in a week of mourning we were really out of the loop here for a while."

Crump will have no time to celebrate as he prepares to race  for local leagues Wrocław (Poland) tomorrow and Elit Vetlanda (Sweden) early next week.

Top Ten FIM Speedway World Championship Standings

1. Jason Crump 19pts
2. Jaroslaw Hampel 18pts
3. Emil Sayfutdinov 14pts
4. Janusz Kolodziej 12pts
5. Rune Holta 10pts
6. Kenneth Bjerre 10pts
7. Nicki Pedersen 9pts
8. Fredrik Lindgren 8pts
9. Hans Andersen 8pts
10. Chris Holder 8pts.

*Images attached are courtesy of Dave Fairbrother