24 January 2017
Cal Crutchlow has been awarded the Club’s coveted Torrens Trophy for being the first British rider to win a premier class World Championship Motorcycle Grand Prix in 35 years. The Trophy recognises outstanding contribution to motorcycling in the United Kingdom and has only been awarded nine times in its history when the Club feels that the achievement justifies it.
‘I feel very privileged that the Royal Automobile Club considers me worthy of it,’ said 31-year-old Crutchlow. ‘It’s taken a long time, and a lot of hard work, and it’s an honour to be recognised by such well-respected industry figures.’
Barrie Baxter, Chairman of the Torrens Trophy Nominations Committee, presented the Trophy during an awards ceremony at Pall Mall on 24 January. He told the audience: ‘Cal Crutchlow is one of the most fearless riders in MotoGP. Last season, Crutchlow became the first Brit to win a premier class race since Barry Sheene in 1981 when he triumphed in the Czech Grand Prix at Brno. It gives me great pleasure to present the 2016 Torrens Trophy to Cal in recognition of his outstanding achievement.’
Joining Cal throughout the awards ceremony were the son and grandson of Arthur Bourne, whom the Trophy was named after, as well as past winners Ian Kerr (1998) and Ian Hutchinson (2015). During a Q&A with Torrens Trophy Nominations Committee member Ben Cussons, Cal’s humility and down-to-earth nature was evident. ‘It’s all about the team work’, he told Ben. ‘The guy that drives the truck to the track is just as important as me. We all work together and that’s why it’s successful.’
Cal Crutchlow started his motorcycling career when he was 11-years-old and made rapid progress, winning the 1999 UK Junior Challenge. Two years later he claimed the Aprilia RS125 Challenge crown, then graduated to the British Supersport Championship. After winning the title in 2006, Cal moved up to British Superbikes, first with Rizla Suzuki and then with HM Plant Honda, with which he took two BSB victories.
Cal burst onto the international stage in 2009, winning the World Supersport Championship with the factory Yamaha squad. He spent the following year in World Superbikes, taking three race wins. In 2011 he graduated to MotoGP, earning Rookie of the Year honours. For the past two seasons, Crutchlow has ridden a Honda for the LCR team. Last August he won the Czech Grand Prix to become the first Briton to win a premier class motorcycle Grand Prix in 35 years. He followed that historic success with a second victory at the Australian Grand Prix.
The shortlist of Torrens Trophy contenders was announced recently at Motorcycle Live, with other nominees including Jonathan Rea and Michael Dunlop. Rea rode another faultless season in World Superbikes and successfully defended his 2015 title, becoming the first man since Carl Fogarty to score back-to-back championship victories in the class. Road racer Dunlop won another two Isle of Man TTs last June and raised the Mountain circuit lap record to an astonishing 133.962 mph.
The Club’s Torrens Trophy Nominations Committee consists of Chairman and ex-bike racer Barrie Baxter, Club member Ben Cussons, well-respected motorcycle journalist Mat Oxley, former racer and commentator Steve Parrish, Club member Richard Bourne (son of motorcycle journalist Arthur Bourne, in whose memory the Trophy is awarded) and new to the committee is Queen of Bikers Maria Costello MBE, who has held the Guinness World Record for being the fastest woman to lap the Isle of Man TT course.