Cal Crutchlow Interview, Part 3: On His Future, Life After Racing, And The Drudgery Of Travel

In the final part of our marathon interview with Cal Crutchlow, the LCR Honda rider opens up about the possibility of retirement, and his plans for the future. He talks about wanting to move to California once he stops racing, seeing it as a good place to raise a family. He speaks about the arthritis which he, like most other riders, suffers with, and why this is a reason to seek out a warmer climate.

Above all, he talks about life after racing. About how he plans to get fat, and then cycle all the weight off again. About his business interests, and his aversion to travel, and why that makes it unlikely he would go into team management.

Before you read this final installment of our Crutchlow interview, it's worth catching up with the first two parts, to read about the 2019 Honda and his experiences this season, as well as his insight into his family life, and why that has led him to a decision to not seek another contract.

Q: Does this make you think about the end of your career, and how much longer you want to go on? Willow is going to be going to school in two years’ time?

Cal Crutchlow: I had this question actually from Matt Birt yesterday for the Silverstone preview. So if you want to beat him you need to get this interview out before. He asked the same question. Of course I’m thinking of retiring. That doesn’t mean I come into every race weekend not giving my 100% or slowing down. But as I told you when I extended my contract a year ago, that I feel it will be my last contract. If you ask me now, do I think it’s my last contract? I would say it depends how the rest of this season goes and next season. But I’m also not going to actively seek something…

Q: You’re not going to be looking for a new five-year deal with anyone?

CC: No, or a one-year deal or a two-year deal. That doesn’t mean that I’m going to retire. It means that I’m not going to chase it. It depends how I feel.

I’ve given my all to this sport. I’ve crashed. I’ve broken my leg. I’ve got back up one lap later and gone faster than what I have. I gave everything that I could give. I’m not the fastest guy in the world. I don’t care. I try and be what I can. I try and improve myself, not necessarily against the others.

I know Marc Marquez is a freak talent and faster than me. I can accept that, personally. There’s people here that can’t. I’ve had what I believe is a fantastic career that I’ve enjoyed. It’s been an up-and-down career. I’ve crashed. I’ve had good races. I’ve had bad races. I’ve had good feelings, bad feelings. I’ve smiled. I’ve cried. I’ve enjoyed it. If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t keep coming back.

I’ve always been the guy to say, if I woke up tomorrow morning and didn’t want to do it, I’d stay in bed and say, “Okay, boys. Sorry, but I’m not feeling it.” It’s too dangerous a sport to sit around and just be riding for the sake of riding. I don’t need the money. I don’t need the fame. I don’t need to race. I do it because I love it. If I have that feeling next year, maybe I’ll continue.

But there is one big thing about all this, is I want to do something different with my life and I don’t want it to be too late. I want to take my daughter to school. I want to pick her up from school. I want to do stuff on my own terms. Don’t get me wrong. Now when I go home in the week, I can do what the hell I want, unless I have an event or something like that.

But I’ve also been very lucky with Lucio over the years that I don’t have to do a lot of events, but he respects that decision from me because I have a family and I’m a guy that likes to stay at home, as I said. I like to ride my bicycle and that’s it. So depending on how I feel is depending whether I carry on. I am going to live in California and move to California, whether that’s next year, in the year, at the end of this year even, or the end of next year. I don’t know.

Q: Just for the weather, climate?

CC: Yeah. I have to say quite a few reasons. As I said, I’ve given my all to the sport. I’ve lived in the Isle of Man now for ten years and I’ve loved it. But I’ve also gone to California for the last ten years in the winter and I have a house there. I want my daughter to go to school in California and so does my wife. Numerous reasons. I love the Isle of Man and I’ll forever have a place in the Isle of Man. I’ll forever love the Isle of Man, but I think when you go to California and you see the kids at 7:30 in the sea as their gym lesson and stuff like that, I think that’s what attracted us over the years to want to live there.

Q: So you’re saying it’s a good place to raise a child?

CC: For me, yes. That’s not saying that I’m right or wrong. Italy, Holland. I don’t know. There’s many places that are, but this is where we want to choose to live and that’s what we want to do. I don’t think we’re right or wrong from doing that. I like the weather. I like the place where we live near San Diego. I need the sun, because my body hurts.

Q: It doesn’t hurt so much when it’s hot?

CC: I have a lot of arthritis in my body. My knees, my shoulders. My ankle now is not in great shape.

Q: Was it worth it?

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Well done David and thnks very much Cal. That was the best MotoGP read for ages.

I like Cal. Small anecdote: Years ago we were at WSBK at Silverstone with pit passes. My wife decided to get some autographs and posters (not my thing tbh). She thought Cal was brilliant, he had a laugh with everyone queing, a quick chat, and looked everyone in the eye, she was very impressed. Also very approachable were Jonathan Rea and Carlos Checa. She came back beaming "what a nice guy". I don't like this labelling Cal as 'arrogant' business. He just gives a straight answer, like he did over the Fenati incident last year, he says what he thinks when asked, he doesn't seek the publicity out. 

I wish him all the best, he's been a good MotoGP rider and proved all the doubters wrong from when he entered from WSBK all those years ago. A couple of wins and a hatful of podiums, very good going in the era of many great riders.

Great interview. It sounds like Cal is more or less ready to go now, and it’s good that he’s valuing the small things that make up family life. I for one wouldn’t exchange walking my four year old to her first day at school for even the best of my younger days. I wish him good luck for the rest of his MotoGP career and a safe exit. With luck he’ll be a fat old man by the time his ankle is unbearable.

Terrific interview! Particularly when reading the whole thing and getting to the end of it. Cal is a lot more thoughtful than I ever imagined, and about a lot of topics too. He certainly knows himself and is very comfortable in his own skin. He's going to have a lot better life after racing than probably most. I am impressed with his priorities. I hope they pan out for him. 

"Yeah. I do wish that sometimes in this sport some of the riders would see what I see from my eyes."

Money doesn't buy happiness? It's always those with money that espouse this belief or say that they do not care about money. It is when one has all that can be sought in life and then discovers an seemingly infinite sense of lack within that are on the precipice of awakening. Or one who has it all then loses it all and comes out the other side all the wiser. Cal cracks me up at times. Many times he speaks with thoughtfulness and clarity. But sometimes he is just so full of himself it churns up the self-hatred of the ego inside of me.

From David Lee Roth, “Money won’t buy happiness, but it will buy you a boat big enough to sail right up alongside.”

Enjoy the boat Mr. Crutchlow. 

Absolutely wonderful chat, mate. One of the best interviews I have read. It was especially nice to see how you steered the conversation away from the usual empty content:

"So, what can you tell us about the new carbon swingarm, Cal?"

"Pretty much fuck-all, mate"


When speaking with a virtuoso musician, I want to hear about the music, not the piano (leave that for the interview with the piano tuner). You accomplished this brilliantly. Cheers.