Slade Perrins: Tell us about the first ever motorsport event you attended as a child.
Richard Craill: “My first motorsport experience as a child, was going to the Adelaide Grand Prix, so as a kid, I grew up with the Australian Grand Prix being in Adelaide. I have always had a deep affinity with Formula One, always followed it really closely, and I remember going to the 1991 Australian Grand Prix. I must have been seven or eight, and remember standing on the inside of Brabham straight, before the hairpin where the Formula One cars were at full noise, and falling in love with a Lola Lamborghini. Which was the best sounding Formula One car I’ve ever heard. That’s it!”
SP: So, in 2004, you quit your daily 9am – 5pm job and had a crack at motorsport media full time, what were you thinking at the time and what was going through head?
RC: “I don’t know… Probably just that I wanted to have a go and to see if I was capable of doing it. At the time, It was more than seeking an out of the current job of retail which I didn’t enjoy – I didn’t enjoy them at all in fact and always wanted to be doing something like I am now. It was more just to see if it would work, and I went with an open mind that if it didn’t work I could go back to doing other stuff but I wanted to see if I could make it work and see if motorsport media was something I could bounce off.
SP: Were there any times that you perhaps second guessed your decision or doubted yourself?
RC: “I did continually doubt myself yes, and even to this day there are moments where you sit there and wonder if you are capable of doing the job. For me that comes when you get a really big opportunity, so for instance the first time I worked with Channel 10 at the Australian Grand Prix, which was four of five years ago. That was a big ‘am I good enough to do this’. They’re putting me in a massive environment, Live TV, a million people, Formula One event, calling Supercars.
“It’s not a doubt, but you really question yourself and you’ve got to have that resolve that, yes you are good enough, and they’ve hired you for a reason and these people actually know what they’re doing, they wouldn’t have hired you if they didn’t think you could do it. It’s all about building that self-belief and having that internal confidence to do the job.”
SP: How do you feel about being nominated ‘commentator of the year’ for four consecutive years?
RC: “Extremely awkwardly. My friends that know me make a joke at it, but I am incredibly awkward receiving any kind of praise what so ever from anybody. To be nominated, and to subsequently enjoy a win in a category with some unbelievably talented human beings that I look up to and respect, is very very humbling. Extremely awkward but at the same time when you get that vote of confidence from your peers, it’s very satisfying.”
SP: How do you feel when you’re referred to as ‘The voice of Australian Motorsport’?
RC: “Imagine Richard Craill laughing” – “Well I am not, because they are far more people that have a far bigger track record and history than I. Neil Crompton being one of them, who is probably my commentary idol in Australia. I don’t think I am the voice of Australian motorsport, I think I am probably well-known because I do a lot of the national level stuff outside of Supercars; Shannons Nationals being one and I have been on Speedweek for a long time as well. My career was built on the national level racing; the Supercars stuff came later.”
SP: What’s the funniest thing that you’ve said, done, or someone else has said on Live TV or during commentary?
RC: “Imagine Richard Craill laughing again, but this time more un-controllably” – “It’s not the funniest thing I have ever said, but strikes me as the funniest moment in my career for being the sheer lunacy, was the 2010 Bathurst 12 Hour. The wettest motor race I have ever called. At one point we cut to a shot on the TV pictures of Forest Elbow, and there was an enormous, and I mean you couldn’t wrap your arms around it if you tried, Gum Tree, that in all the rain had fallen across the race track and blocked the road.
“The track was completely blocked, and we cut to this shot and there was silence. And then I distinctly remember saying ‘Oh, it seems there’s a tree across the race track at Forest Elbow’ and then there was silence again. Then in the background, everyone in the media centre worked out what was going on and everyone cracked up, lost the plot. I just remember that moment for the sheer lunacy that this has never happened before. I don’t know if this has happened anywhere in the sport, there’s a gum tree across the road, the track is literally blocked we’re going to have to red-flag the race. That’s probably the craziest, weirdest moment of my career.”
SP: Knowing that you have a deep passion for Cricket, if the opportunity ever presented itself, would you choose cricket over motorsport or vice versa?
RC: “No I wouldn’t, I would choose motor racing. To be a good broadcaster or Journo you have to be so invested in the sport, that you need to spend all of your time in it. If you don’t have all the time in the world to devote to it, to build up the inner working, the inner contacts, the colleagues, the friends and all the little intricacies that make the sport up, I don’t think you can do a good enough job. I don’t have that background in cricket.
“I feel like I can call cricket, I know enough about the game that I think I could get away with it, but would I do the same job as a professional Journalist or as a cricketer, no, and I would want to do it if I couldn’t do that job. But I would love to call a game of cricket, that would just be the ultimate.”