Australian speedway star Jason Crump will be out to break a 52-year drought when the 2003 Speedway World Championship kicks off in Poland on May 17, according to a release issued by his publicist.

Crump, 27, is confident that 2003 will finally see him follow Jack Young as Australia's third world speedway champion, after the latter claimed consecutive titles way back in 1951-52. Bluey Wilkinson was Australia's maiden World Champion in 1938.

Crump has finished runner-up in the past two world titles behind Swedish arch-rival Tony Rickardsson, but after a relaxing off-season the UK-based Aussie is feeling rejuvenated and ready to fire in Poland on May 17 - emboldened by his brilliant early season form in both the Polish and UK domestic competitions.

"I love racing in Poland, as the fans are as fanatical about speedway as Aussies are about cricket," said Crump, who was the world under 21 champion in 1995. "However, Poland is no more vital than any other Grand Prix on the calendar - the most important thing is that I'm fit, confident and full of energy, and I can't wait for the international season to kick off."

Crump, who became a dad for the second time on April 17, will be joined by four counterparts in this year's 22-rider world title field - Ryan Sullivan, Leigh Adams, Todd Wiltshire and Jason Lyons - underlying the current strength in Australian riding stocks. The Aussie quintet will in turn square off against Rickardsson and a trio of former World Champions.

The 2003 Speedway World Championship is a nine-round affair, and will conclude in Norway on October 4 after working its way through Europe.

Off-Road Racing News

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.

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