PIRATES charger Zane Keleher admitted he never thought he would be riding during the same British campaign as idol Jason Crump.

Crump, 44, last month sealed a shock move to ride for Ipswich in the SGB Premiership for 2020.

The three-time world champion has not raced regularly in the UK for over a decade but he was back on a bike for the winter’s Australia/GB fixtures in Perth, ahead of his return to Britain at Foxhall.

Former motocross rider Keleher witnessed Crump in action first-hand in his hometown of Rockhampton four years ago and has since listened to the advice of the legendary Aussie.

And now the Queenslander will get to follow in the footsteps of Crump by joining Pirates – a side the global star featured for in 1991, 1994, 1995 and 2007.

Keleher told the Daily Echo: “I honestly never, ever thought I’d be an Aussie going to the UK when Crumpy makes a comeback! It’s pretty cool.

“I couldn’t believe it. I sort of knew beforehand because we are pretty close back in Australia, I sort of had the heads up before it was announced. It was a bit of a shock!

“Crumpy was the headline for the first event that I went and watched back in my hometown.

“I’ve known him for a while now and for the past few years I’ve had some one-on-one coaching and things with him.”

With Pirates’ press and practice day postponed, Keleher last week made the trip to meet Crump at the Witches curtain-raiser – and got the chance to get some track time in on his mentor’s bike.

“He’s raced professionally for 25 years and he didn’t win three world titles for nothing,” said Keleher, when asked how much of an influence Crump had been on his career.

“His knowledge is really great and what he can pass on is invaluable. He has been very beneficial for me in my career.

“He has done it all before, so he knows what it’s like. He has certainly helped with the little things.”

Throughout his Pirates career, Crump scored 1,596 points from 641 rides in the skull and crossbones.

Keleher, who is set to make his British debut for Poole alongside fellow Aussie Ben Cook, plans to remain in the UK for when speedway resumes.

The British Speedway Promoters Association last week confirmed the campaign would be suspended until at least April 15, due to the coronavirus pandemic.