Gordon Crockard ready to roll back years at Odyssey
Former World Motocross number three Gordon Crockard is fired up and ready to take the challenge to the international stars at this weekend's Garmin Arenacross Tour in Belfast's Odyssey Arena tomorrow night and Saturday evening.
Despite hitting the ripe old age of 35 last December and now in semi-retirement, the Newtownards man – a former three-time British champion – still has a burning desire for success, even if he's honest enough to admit that fatigue may well get the better of him during the high-octane Arenacross action this weekend.
Speaking from his Ards Peninsula workshop, where he was putting final preparations in place for his Crockstar Training Schools in southern Spain, the Honda Racing star explained: "I've been racing the Odyssey event since 2001 and I'd love to sit and think that now I'm semi-retired and not racing full-time, I'll just go and enjoy it.
"Unfortunately I still have that desire to be at the front and try to win. That thought process probably takes a lot of the enjoyment out of the event for a competitor, as you go in there with a serious approach and desire to perform."
Looking over the international line-up, which Crockard believes is the strongest ever at the Belfast event, the flame-haired Co Down rider is optimistic, but also pragmatic, with his aspirations.
In short, he will be looking to tap into his many years of experience when the going gets that little bit tougher in front of a raucous Belfast audience at the Odyssey Arena, which stands proudly in the shadows of the famous Harland and Wolff cranes, Samson and Goliath.
"I am realistic about what I can achieve as there are a lot of top class international riders coming.
"I'm around long enough to not let it intimidate me, but it is going to be very difficult to win," he said, somewhat modestly, having been on the podium five times in his career with three overall victories in Belfast.
Crockard is one of the most respected motorcyclists to come out of Northern Ireland and the affable Ards ace is also using the Odyssey event to lend his support to the 'Cash for Kids' charity, whose logo will be emblazoned across his jersey on both nights in Belfast.
Explaining his involvement, he said: "My clothing sponsor Alias works with Connor Phillips from Cool FM on 'Cash for Kids' and he asked me if I'd coach Connor as he's going to do a lap of the track to collect money for the charity. It's my way of helping and of course I'll be carrying the branding as well."
Other local names looking to get in the thick of the action are Comber's Wayne Garrett and Derry man Ed Allingham, and with e22 Sports event promoter Matt Bates negotiating a lucrative deal with Channel 4 to show three 30-minute highlights programmes, it's well worth grabbing one of the few remaining tickets.
For information and tickets visit www.arenacrossuk.com