With the 2004 world speedway title now safe in his keeping, Australian wiz Jason Crump is preparing for a challenge of another kind in New Zealand on November 6 - he will race as a wildcard in the final round of the Long Track World Championship.

For Crump, who recently married his long-time beau, Melody, in Mauritius, it will mark a return to the championship where he twice finished in the top 10 in 1995-96 before the shorter version of the sport became his major focus.

"I've always enjoyed racing long track," said the 29-year-old, who became Australia's first world speedway champion in 52 years in Norway on October 2. "When I first came over to the UK as a teenager, and when my international commitments were limited, I used to head over to Germany quite often and compete in long and grass track events there."

"Then a few years later I moved onto the world championship, where my best result was seventh in the 1995 championship - in the days when there was just one final, not the five that there are today."

"To be honest, I never really had the equipment to challenge the main guys back then, but I'm confident I've got the package to put on a good show in New Plymouth."

Crump hasn't competed since his world championship win in Norway, with his wedding and a short sabbatical taking precedence.

"October's been a brilliant month - first the title and then my wedding," said Crump. "However, I am planning to get out for a practice session before I fly out to New Zealand, and I might do a bit of motocrossing too."

Crump is one of three Australians to win a world title in 2004, with Stefan Merriman (enduro) and Karl Muggeridge (Supersport) also reaching the summit in their respective disciplines.

"I would just like to thank all the people who have passed on their congratulations since my win," said Crump. "The title is something I have worked towards my entire career, and it's nice to share it with people who have been with me on the journey."

Crump will compete in New Zealand after receiving an invitation from promoter Ivan Mauger, who won the first two world long track titles in 1971-72 - and is also a six-time world speedway champion.

"I've been associated with Jason pretty well since he started riding school boy speedway on 125cc bikes," said Ivan. "This was mainly because of my association with his father Phil. Jason competed in his first ever international long track meeting in Canberra when he was only 16 years old, and he has ridden in many events since then."

Crump is one of two Aussie wildcards in the New Zealand finale, where he will be joined by 17-year-old Troy Batchelor, who won three national championships in 2003: under 16 speedway, 125cc junior long track, and 500cc senior long track.

The Australian duo will face a star-studded line-up, which will include the likes of German pairing Robert Barth and Gerd Riss, and British gun Kelvin Tatum. The trio has claimed the trifecta in the past three long track championships, with Barth the champion from Tatum and Riss. However, Barth is out of the running in the 2004 instalment, with Tatum in the box seat to win his fourth title, and his first since 2000.