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Speedway World: Round 3 Slovenia summary

Rickardsson's night out Tony Rickardsson continued his sizzling start to the 2005 Speedway World Championship with victory at round three in Slovenia on Saturday, May 28. The venerable Swede, who is aiming to join New Zealander Ivan...

Rickardsson's night out

Tony Rickardsson continued his sizzling start to the 2005 Speedway World Championship with victory at round three in Slovenia on Saturday, May 28.

The venerable Swede, who is aiming to join New Zealander Ivan Mauger on six world titles, made short work of Nick Pedersen and wildcard Matej Zagar in the Big Final, with Australian Jason Crump fourth.

It was the 34-year-old's 16th GP win, and his second in succession at the Matije Gubca Stadium in Krsko.

"Things have been going very well in the Grand Prix this year," said Rickardsson, who was a close runner-up to Crump in the 2004 championship. "I have a great team working with me and it is so good when you win for them.

"I haven't been doing anything special; I have the same bikes and engines as last year. I am loving every minute of my riding at the moment, and I am having a ball.

"I was disappointed to lose to Jason off gate one in the semi-final, but I was determined to make amends in the final, and it was good to get him back."

Rickardsson has now made the Big Final in the last seven grands prix, which equals a record first set by Crump in 2001-02.

Rickardsson is now on 70pts after three rounds, which is his best-ever start to a world championship. Crump, the only other rider to have made every Big Final in 2005, is on 59pts, ahead of Pedersen (46), Australian Leigh Adams (42) and rookie Antonio Lindback (27).

Adams lost third spot to Pedersen in Slovenia after he was bundled out in the same semi-final as another Australian, Ryan Sullivan. Earlier, a rejuvenated Sullivan finished equal first with Rickardsson in the heats (13pts) after both scored three wins and two seconds. Crump was next on 12pts, while Adams required a win in his final heat just to make it through. Among those left to pack up after the heats included 1997 world champion Greg Hancock, British rider Scott Nicholls, 2004 Slovenian finalist Andreas Jonsson and Dane star Bjarne Pedersen.

In the opening semi-final, Zagar defeated Pedersen, with Adams ruing his luck after striking trouble with a bad rut. Sullivan was fourth in his first final eight appearance since round two last year.

In the second semi, Crump put the sword to Rickardsson, with Andersen and Gollob eliminated.

In the Big Final, Zagar, from Slovenia, was attempting to become just the third wildcard to win a GP. However, Rickardsson would not come to the party, and he majestically scored his second win of the year.

Round four of the Speedway World Championship will be held at the magnificent Millennium Stadium in Cardiff (Great Britain) on June 11. For more information, visit www.speedwayworld.tv <pre> ROUND THREE RESULTS 1 Tony Rickardsson Sweden 25 2 Nicki Pedersen Denmark 20 3 Matej Zagar Slovenia 18 4 Jason Crump Australia 16 5 Ryan Sullivan Australia 13 6 Tomasz Gollob Poland 10 7 Leigh Adams Australia 9 7 Hans Andersen Denmark 9 9 Greg Hancock America 8 9 Scott Nicholls Great Britain 8

CURRENT STANDINGS (after three of nine rounds): 1 Tony Rickardsson Sweden 70 2 Jason Crump Australia 59 3 Nicki Pedersen Denmark 46 4 Leigh Adams Australia 42 5 Antonio Lindback Sweden 27 6 Bjarne Pedersen Denmark 25 6 Greg Hancock America 25 8 Ryan Sullivan Australia 23 9 Tomasz Gollob Poland 22 10 Scott Nicholls Great Britain 21

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