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Fairytale Contract for Crump
By John Chaplin

Jim Blanchard's Painting of Jason Crump
Jim's website

WHILE British-based riders face being asked to take pay cuts, fabulous financial deals are reported to have been offered to top names in Poland.

The earnings of World No.3 Jason Crump are set to rival World Champion Tomasz Gollob, the highest paid rider in the 2010 Polish Ekstraliga on a record £620,000, according to reports in the Polish media.

Crump is said to be about to change his club Wroclaw and move to Rzeszow where he is expected to be paid a similar amount to Gollob for the new season.

The Polish reports reveal that Crump deal is for about £620,000 for the new season. It was negotiated by Crump and it can be extremely beneficial to him, provided he can score what is expected of him and he rides in as many matches as he did in 2010.

Crump's signature on the contract is reportedly worth around £170,000 and every time he turns up for a league match he is to be guaranteed �3,000. If he rides in 20 Polish meetings that makes a round sum of £60,000 for the new season.

The rest is to be earned on the track. For each point scored he will get £1,700 If he scores as many points as he did in 2010 he will take home about £390,000.

Polish journalist Roman Chyla says: 'Now add all the above mentioned figures and you will end up with a very fairytale contract. Is it any wonder that Crump and Gollob don't race in Britian?'

Six times World Champion Ivan Mauger commented: 'I know a lot of riders get promised all sorts of money by Polish clubs. They pay for a couple months, but most clubs renege half way through the season. A lot of boys riding for Polish clubs who I know well are owed money from several years ago.'

Barry Briggs, four times World Champion, says: 'I wouldn't want to change a thing in my racing Life. When I was first at Wimbledon, bus drivers got a £2 a week and I think we could earn £30 a meeting. I met (football's) Ron Atkinson a few weeks ago and he told me he presented me with a cheque for winning something at Oxford for £300. He was a player there and was getting £20 a week.

'Whatever a rider gets, good luck to him. To me, if the money is there a speedway rider can never be overpaid. It is one thing to be offered money, but if the promoter goes bust and you don't get the promised money, then it's not a good deal.'

Five times World Champion Ove Fundin says: 'These days riders need a lot of money to pay for all the bikes they have to keep in different countries, the mechanics they have to employ and the big motorhomes they drive. The sport is much more expensive now. But I'd like to know if speedway is bigger now than it was in our day.'

Roman Chyla explains the Polish set-up like this: 'For the last two years Polish speedway club bosses have been saying that they have reached the limit of what they can pay to riders.

'But come November/December each year they forget that their money supply is not a bottomless pit, and they start to bid. The riders' pay demands for 2011 season are going up sharply. Even though it will not be seen in the signed contracts, it will be reflected in the so-called bonuses, or individual contracts with sponsors who support the clubs.

'Riders' earnings will increase, for three reasons. Speedway in Poland is largely financed by the local governments. We have been going through the local elections recently, and the speedway cities' mayors have done everything to gain favour with voters.

'In Bydgoszcz the mayor sat next to Emil Sayfutdinov who in the glare of publicity re-signed his contract with Bydgoszcz, even though the team has been relegated to the lower division. In Zielona Gora, a candidate for the city council sought reinforcements, even trying to tempt such aces as Jason Crump and Tomasz Gollob.

'Finally, for a lot of money, Andreas Jonsson was signed for £433,000 and Jonas Davidsson for £200,000. Yet for a lot less money they could retain Fredrik Lindgren (£222,000), and Grzegorz Zengota for £133 000.

'Another reason which spiralled the cost is a new rule forcing teams to include two Polish under-21 juniors who quickly scented the possibility of an extra income. Polish media are quoting that their two top under-21 stars, Maciej Janowski and Przemyslaw Pawlicki have asked for nearly £89,000 for their signatures and a minimum of nearly £900 per point.

'They could do it, because demand for their services has increased. For the same reason Gniezno in the Division One of Polish League are asking nearly £67 000 for talented Kacper Gomolski. The amount is staggering, but there is no shortage of volunteers.

'For the time being, Rzeszow or Zielona say they will not pay, but when they find a gap in their line-ups, they may change their minds.

'The third reason for the increase in wages is a new ruling that re-introduced riders' CMA. The point is that the total of six riders' CMA in each team in the Ekstra League must be within the range of 34 - 44.

'If some team has two or three riders with high CMAs, they have to employ less skilled riders, who are aware of this. Although they might be the also-rans, they surely know how to count the money.

'Hardly anybody is likely to refuse them, and they know that as well. So they became indispensable.'


This article was first published on 16th December 2010


  • Ken Robinson:

    "Reading your report of the potential earnings of Jason Crump in the Polish league filled me with horror. My first thought was "oh no here we go again" tv money ruining yet another sport. What has happened to my other love football is starting to happen in speedway. The thought of riders following the money and not caring for the team who they ride for like mercenarys. "

  • Ivan Blacka:

    "Boy that was a scary read article. If the Polish clubs are offering that kind of money how can the British clubs ever compete. Don't think all the British clubs combined can pay that sort of money. Times have sure changed from the £10 a point days."

  • Mike Wilson:

    "I'm not entirely convinced ''TV MONEY'' is ruining speedway by making the star riders follow the golden contract. It is maximum team averages that has been the ruin of the sport and seen the errosion of loyalties. Besides any rider who is talented enough to risk life and limb to entertain the punter in this most magical of motorsports deserves to come out the other end with a comfortable retirement."

  • Kevin Savage:

    "I can recall in the fifties at Belle Vue you got 3 pound a start and three pound a point and if you didn't complete at least one lap, machine breakdown etc, you got nothing. The promoter at around that time was the great Johnnie Hoskins."

  • Merv. Carter:

    "Don't know where some of the guys were riding, in my day, it was £1 a start, and £1 a point!"

  • Bill Young:

    "How would Arnie Pander & Ronnie Genz have ridden if they were paid a collosal amount of money. If they took home £30 for an evenings riding they were lucky."

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