A MINUTE WITH: MATT CRAMPTON
21-year-old former European junior sprint and keirin champion Matt Crampton is striding towards a place at the World Track Championships and Olympics in 2008 — not to mention the drag racing.
How has your training been going over the winter?
I had a break over Christmas after I came back from Beijing. I’ve just been ticking over on the road and getting back into the gym. I had a back injury earlier in the year so I’m trying to overcome that.
What’s this about you liking life in the fast lane?
I’m a keen car race enthusiast, so my dad and I have got a drag race car that we use at weekends. It’s an old American car that runs pretty quickly.
Do you travel around with it much?
We travel a fair bit. We go to places like Santa Pod, York and Eden Park. We are hoping this year to join in the UK Street Racers so that’s a nice sideline. It’s still speed, but a bit different.
Are you just the mechanic or do you get behind the wheel?
I drive and I’m the mechanic. We have a lot of stuff in the garage; about five or six engines that we put together.
How do you handle the power of it?
It’s not an out-and-out drag car. It’s a street car which does 0-60 in something like four seconds but we still use it on the road.
Getting back to cycling, what are your targets for 2008?
I want to do well at the World Cups and obviously do my best to get to the World Championships and the Beijing Olympics.
Are the Olympics a possibility or a pipe-dream?
I don’t know. To try and move Chris [Hoy] out of the way will be a tough job this year. The team is really strong right across the board.
Has it helped you having the National Velodrome just around the corner?
I’ve been able to train on it every week and about four times a week with three-hour sessions. But we only do a few three or four hundred-metre stints or three sets of starts. Outside that, it’s gym and road work.
It’s better to do all that winter training inside the velodrome than on the cold, wet roads, isn’t it?
Well, I like to get out and about on the roads. The most I will do is two or three hours on my own. I like going up the hills and riding around the Buxton area.
You would rather do the hills than the flat, then?
Yeah — I find the flat a bit boring and hills give me more of a challenge. The loop I have for an hour I could probably do in my sleep now.
What is your proudest achievement?
Probably the Commonwealth Games, where I got a medal in the team sprint.