Mark Webber only too happy to land in King’s Lynn for Jason Crump
10:00 11 July 2012
Archant © 2012
Former Stars ace Jason Crump may not have been a home favourite at King’s Lynn on Monday, but he did have the support of his most famous fan – Formula One star Mark Webber.
A day after winning the British Grand Prix, Australian Webber was cheering on his fellow countryman and “speedway hero” at the Norfolk Arena.
And Crump didn’t disappoint the 35-year-old as he inspired the Aussies to victory and a place in Saturday’s Speedway World Cup final.
Webber, who signed a one-year deal with Red Bull for next season on Tuesday, said: “I’m a big speedway fan but it’s fair to say I’m a fan of most motorsports. But I grew up on motorbikes and went to my first speedway race when I was eight.
“Crumpy’s my speedway hero. I think I first saw Jason race at a meeting in Sydney where Phil (his father) and Jason were both racing. I was on my dad’s shoulders that night. I don’t really remember it, but dad’s pretty sure I was there.
“I’ve got one of Crumpy’s bikes at home. He gave it to me as a gift, which was a very nice of him – a nice present. I haven’t been on it though. He told me that I’m not allowed to ride it until he’s with me. He said I’ll kill myself so I’m staying away from it until then.
“Jason’s a class act. He’s been great for the sport, as a lot of the young lads are. But Jason’s obviously a bit of a mentor for the youngsters, teaching them not to get too far ahead of themselves with the successes that they have.”
While Webber’s arrival in Norfolk – in a helicopter – bore all the trademarks of his sport’s glitz and glamour, his presence on the night certainly didn’t.
The laid-back Aussie was happy to mingle with fans, pose for pictures and sign autographs before revelling in the chance to join 4,000-plus others in appreciating some stunning shale-based racing at Saddlebow Road.
The Red Bull ace said: “There’s a lot of technology and a lot of finance around our sport and huge interest I suppose, whereas speedway technically – especially with the bikes – isn’t. But that’s what’s attractive about it.
“It’s about the subtleties of it and all the cute things they’ve got to work on. It’s not MotoGP, it’s not F1, it’s speedway. They need good engines, the right stuff and it’s all so raw. I like the smell of the bikes and the noise.
“Sebastian Vettel met Crumpy on Sunday and Seb knew all about speedway. He was asking questions about ice racing and the differences between that compared to riding on dirt. The respect is always there between all of us in motorsport.”