OK, so we already know Richie Crampton sounds a little different than most of us. That’s fine, of course, and we all do like an Australian accent.
But what happens when Crampton goes back home? Does he sound different – maybe more “American” – after living in the United States for as long as he has?
You may know what it’s like to have family in a different part of the USA, and when you go to visit them, they make fun of your accent. Say you were born in Illinois but moved to Georgia. You’d probably have TWO sets of family and friends poking fun at you for your accent – or lack thereof.
So then you can probably imagine the grief Crampton gets when he heads back Down Under, like he did earlier this month. Crampton took his wife Stephanie and their young children Emma and Reed along with Stephanie’s mom and aunt) back his home country – and he got to race, too (but more on that later).
So how did he sound?
“From what Stephanie tells me, my Australian accent comes back pretty rapidly once we start hanging around all of the usual suspects when I’m Australian soil,” Crampton said. “It changes pretty quickly. I don’t notice it, and that’s the funny part. I don’t know how I sound. You adapt to your surroundings, and I can understand it must sound strange to people on both sides of the pond.”
He certainly sounded a little strange to his friends, and then let him know it. All in good Aussie fun, of course.
“It’s a constant back-and-forth between me and my friends and family,” Crampton said. “I have lived in the U.S. for 15 years, which is almost half of my life and most of my adult life. I’ve picked up a lot of American accent and lingo and the way you say things. They definitely make me well-aware of the difference from what they remember. It’s always funny. They give me hell.”
Intercontinental travel can be hell, too, especially with little kids. But Emma, 4, and Reed, who’s about to turn 1, are old pros when it comes to travel. They come with mom and dad on a lot of trips on the NHRA schedule, so the familiarity with airports and suitcases and rental cars likely made it a little easier for a 15-hour flight.
“I was expecting that Stephanie and I would need a ton more patience than what was actually required,” Crampton said. “Luckily for us, both of the kids have made several trips within the U.S. The longer international trip didn’t turn out to be much more difficult than a regular one – if difficult at all, to tell you the truth.”
One thing definitely not difficult was leaving the snow of Indianapolis, where it’s winter, for the sunshine of Australia, where it’s summer. Plus, Crampton got to hit the throttle on a Top Fuel car.
“Traveling back to Australia with my family – my wife Stephanie, her mother Linda and her aunt Cheryl and our kids – it was a great family trip,” Crampton said. “To be able to race in Australia for the Lamattina family once again was pretty special. They always make it so much fun to be at the races, and they’re a great group.
“It was just a coincidence that the race came up in the time frame I was supposed to be in Australia, so everything aligned and worked out well to race at Willowbank (Raceway). We didn’t the results we wanted, but nonetheless we had a great time racing Top Fuel in Australia for the second time.”
And he had a good time bring son Reed together with the Australian side of the family.
“We got to introduce our son Reed to my grandparents and family and friends that I went to school with,” Crampton said. “It was a lot of good stuff.”
Crampton could have some more opportunities to race in Australia, but he has other priorities at the moment. American Cameron Ferre raced Richie’s car in Sydney last weekend.
“I need to focus on three things here: My family at home here in Indy, racing for Kalitta and my regular job at Lucas, building race cars,” Crampton said. “Time for me to go race in Australia is kinda hard to come by.”
But time won’t be long before Crampton returns to the wheel of his Kalitta Motorsports dragster, as preseason testing and the season are right around the corner.
“As a group, we are going to be starting the year on the front foot,” Crampton said. “We aim to test well and do everything we can do to get ready and try to win races, starting at the very first one at Pomona. With J.R. (Todd) winning a (Funny Car) championship and Doug (Kalitta) running well like he always does, we have a lot of great cars in the camp at Kalitta Motorsports. We went to see all four of the teams at the front end of their respective classes.
“We’re going to be working hard. As a driver, I’m excited to getting another full season to try and win rounds and win races and stand in the winner’s circle with Connie Kalitta. That’s pretty special to do, and I’m looking forward to more of that.”
Maybe there no one will poke fun at the way he sounds.
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) January 4, 2019