Top Fuel Motorcycle’s Gordon Crawford will bring down the curtain on his competitive career in Australian Drag Racing this weekend at Hidden Valley Drag Strip.
On the cusp of his 65th birthday, Crawford has decided to call time on his career with a laundry list of great memories in Drag Racing going all the way back to his days as a spectator in 1968 at the Fairbridge Farm airstrip in Western Australia.
“Later after the move was made to Ravenswood, I was a regular spectator and enthusiastic pain in the butt to the managers by constantly asking what I could do to help,” explains Crawford.
He was also there to witness the transition from Ravenswood to Perth Motorplex where he decided to race his road bike at the weekly Whoops Ass Wednesday events. He liked it so much he began competing in Modified Bike before progressing to Competition Bike and eventually Top Fuel Motorcycle.
With a lifetime of memories packed into a short racing career, it says a lot about the man that when asked about his favourite Drag Racing memories he answers with, “watching other competitors.”
“I get the greatest thrill out of watching other racers do well and run PB’s even though they may be my competitors. Having been around the scene for so long, I appreciate what it takes to achieve such heights.
“It is for that reason that I created The Moving Man (named after his business) Champion of Champions award in recognition of ongoing achievements, professionalism and dedication to the sport throughout the country.”
The decision to retire has been a tough one for a guy who lives and breathes Drag Racing but Crawford intends to stay in the sport by helping to transport racers and their equipment and attend various meetings around the country.
“I would also be keen to help out as an extra hand on any crews that may require it,” he adds.
“I turn 65 next birthday and I’m finding the affects on my body are slowing my reactions. To be ultra competitive on these bikes, your reactions need to be razor sharp.
“You cannot afford to let the bike get ahead of you and this has become more difficult for me as age progresses. I still feel confident in my ability at present, however, with others to consider also, now is a good time to pull back and take a break.
“The cost is also a huge factor on anything associated with nitro and with little or no sponsorship, it is an ongoing battle. Trying to get sponsorship for motorcycles is very difficult for a varying number of reasons. There is usually a substantial amount of damage to repair after each meeting requiring many long hours in the workshop, which equates to less time with family.
“Although my wonderful wife Jenny has always been 100 per cent behind me at all times, I feel it is time for us to do some holiday travelling.”
One year after making his ANDRA Drag Racing Series Top Fuel Motorcycle debut at Hidden Valley Drag Strip, Crawford returns for his final race at the highly regarded venue.
“This is our second outing at Hidden Valley and after last year we came away with a great impression of this venue. The facilities and track are excellent. The event was well run and the spectators are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable.
“As we hope for at each event, we want to see a good clean, straight and fast run which is always tricky with any vehicle regardless of what you drive or ride in Drag Racing. The best outcome from the event for us would be to put on a good show for the spectators and to perhaps achieve a PB for my team who have been the heart and soul of our venture together.
“A win would top it off, however, I’m just as happy to see my fellow riders do well and wish them a fast and safe ride for this event.”
Crawford joins five other riders this weekend including ANDRA Drag Racing Series leader Mark Drew and three times Australian Champion Chris Matheson on two of the quickest Top Fuel Motorcycles in the country.
Gates open at 5pm on Friday July 11 and 2:30pm on Saturday July 12. Top Fuel Motorcycle, Top Alcohol and Top Doorslammer are expected to be on track from approximately 6pm. For ticketing and scheduling information, please click here.
Image courtesy: Fred Dwyer