M.E.M. Handlebar Heroes tear up Rocky Showgrounds
SPEEDWAY: He's an international speedway rider, a four-time world champion, a world cup winner and a former world Under-21 champion.
Jason Crump has tore up the track on many world stages for 20 years, and is here in Rockhampton this weekend to go up against some of the country's best.
The 42-year-old Mildura-local has been riding most his life and has returned to the Beef Capital to showcase the monumental speedway event.
Tomorrow night, the annual M.E.M. Handlebar Heroes Speedway Bike Spectacular will return to Rockhampton Showgrounds.
Crump was at the showgrounds yesterday preparing for the event where 11 Central Queensland riders will participate in various speedway divisions.
"When I stopped racing after the world championships in 2012, I didn't get on a bike in three years,” he said.
"[Event promoter] Bill Warwick-Day from Rockhampton called me up and talked me into coming up for a ride in the very first Handlebar Heroes in 2015.
"Since then I've just been here at different times helping young riders.
"It's a good place to be with good people and a good place to ride.
"I just enjoy riding and it's still good fun to get out and have a ride.”
Crump began coaching at Motorcycling Australia and helping develop young riders around Australia.
"I really enjoy being involved with them,” he said.
"I give them lots of tips all the time... every individual rider and every individual day on the bike is different situation so you've got to take it as it comes.
"I get a great deal of enjoyment out of helping the young fellas and seeing them progress on and hopefully they can race at a higher level.”
Handlebar Heroes' promoter, Warwick-Day, said the sport is "very skilful and very exciting” and different to typical motorbike riding.
"This is about speed,” he said.
"There's no gears, no brakes, just a throttle and you only use the clutch once at the start.
"The motors are 500cc and go up to 50-70 horsepower.
"They are very hard to ride, that's for sure.”
There are 2,000 spectators expected to attend the event, with 16 A-grade riders, a field of solo supporters and sidecars returning.
"We normally have a junior division but unfortunately the world championships are on in Poland at the moment,” Warwick-Day said.
"Our [Australian] boys are over there and they've done quite well and have made top 10.”