Gordon Crockard taking a leap of faith in Belfast in new role at Arenacross UK indoor spectacular
For the first time in over a decade, former world number three Gordon Crockard will not pull on his goggles and kickstart a motorcycle at the Arenacross UK indoor spectacular (January 16-17) at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast.
Londonderry racer Edward Allingham, a former close associate of the Crockstar, will line out, however, leaving Crockard to take up an interesting new role tomorrow and Saturday night.
"When Matt rang me I initially thought it was to race as a wildcard in Belfast," said Crockard of e22Sports' managing director Matt Bates, who was actually looking for the quick-witted Ardsman to conduct backstage interviews, which will be broadcast live into the arena.
"I think I'm going to revel in it," said the former three-time British champion and Odyssey Supercross king.
"As a racer and former winner I know what pressure the guys are under and how they will be feeling and as most of them just know me as Gordy the racer, I think they will be a lot more honest than they would be with a blonde-haired TV presenter," he joked.
Event promoter Bates is confident that Crockard will do a great job behind the scenes, and is savvy enough to understand that any involvement from the flame-haired Ulsterman will ultimately put bums on seats.
Bates said: "The event is dreadfully missing a big local personality like Gordon, and I say that with respect to the local lads who are competing.
"But it's great to have him involved. He is a big attraction on or off the bike at our event, and being such a character I do truly believe he will excel at these backstage interviews."
Crockard's brand of local humour should be a big hit with local fans, but on track young Allingham, and late entrant Gary Gibson, will be hoping that a switch of machinery will increase their chances of some podium action tomorrow and Saturday night.
Husky Power UK rider Allingham said: "In Manchester I was riding a standard 250cc machine and it was a struggle getting over the jumps, so I've opted for the larger capacity 350cc machine for Belfast which will hopefully give me a better chance of being competitive."
The 24-year-old will have his work cut out amongst a world class line-up that the Derry man believes is the strongest to grace the Odyssey in many a year.
He added: "Yeah, it's undoubtedly a very strong international line-up, but if I can get a good start and get away with the leading riders I can make it through to the final no problem."
Last year, Spanish Freestyle MX legend Edgar Torronteras thrilled the Belfast crowd with his breathtaking display of FMX action.
His beat-boxing antics are also still being talked about 12 months on.
This year, Dan Whitby will perform Freestyle Motocross in the dark at the Odyssey with just LED lights on his bike, kit and jump ramps outlining the spectacular action.
If you haven't yet purchased tickets for this amazing night of high-octane action, you can still do so by visiting www.ticketmaster.ie or direct from the Odyssey Box Office.