From speedway to Lloyd’s way

Them’s the brakes: Lloyd Crundwell is retiring from racing. Picture: Marco De LucaTULLAMARINE resident Lloyd Crundwell is hanging up his helmet after 50 years of speedway racing.
Nanjing Night Net

At 72, he has decided it’s time to retire from the sport that’s become a family tradition.

First it was his father and now his son and grandson are involved in it.

“I’m 72 now so it’s about time I gave it away,” he says.

“The last ride was about six weeks ago. My body doesn’t appreciate it any more; a lot of stomach muscles get used and I’ve had some injuries.”

While Crundwell has had a number of wins along the way, he has also endured broken wrists and ankles, and lost a lot of skin.

He won a state championship called the ‘best pairs’ at the Brooklyn Speedway and in 1999 and 2000 won the Ken Puche memorial race in Broadford.

Crundwell, who reached speeds of up to 120km/h on his bike, says a lot of practice is involved in racing successfully.

“It feels good to win but it’s got to be instinct,” he says.

“It takes about three years to [learn to] ride successfully. The bike has got to be a part of you and you have to know what it’s doing.”

Crundwell says a highlight of his racing career is seeing his son and grandson following in his footsteps.

He and his son Matthew often competed together, with Matthew riding in a side car.

Matthew, 40, says his favourite thing about speedway racing is the family atmosphere.

“Following in my dad’s footsteps is a great thing and my little boy is following the same; he’s only just turned nine,” he said.

“It’s been a very important thing to me in my life because it’s something I can share with Dad and see what it’s like for him as well.

“I would have liked to have ridden in his day. There were more tracks and you got paid to drive,” he adds.

The pair are involved in an annual fund-raising bike show in Tullamarine, which will be held in March next year.

Crundwell says he looks forward to spending his free time travelling, with a trip already planned to Honolulu.