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SWC: Czech Republic round six summary

Rickardsson wins again, Crump consolidates The 2005 Speedway World Championship is all but over -- that's the conclusion after venerable Swede Tony Rickardsson dominated round six in the Czech Republic on July 9. Rickardsson, 34,...

Rickardsson wins again, Crump consolidates

The 2005 Speedway World Championship is all but over -- that's the conclusion after venerable Swede Tony Rickardsson dominated round six in the Czech Republic on July 9.

Rickardsson, 34, continued his scorching form with his fifth Big Final triumph in six rounds, this time getting the better of Bjarne Pedersen, Jaroslaw Hampel and reigning world champion Jason Crump.

It was Rickardsson's 19th GP win since 1995, and he's now the third rider to win multiple Czech Big Finals, after American Billy Hamill (2000-01) and Crump (2002-04). Rickardsson was first successful in 1998.

"I really don't know why things are going so well. I am sure I will be beaten sometime but at the moment I am just enjoying myself," said Rickardsson. "My mechanics did a great job to change engines after I bent my first bike in the crash in heat five, and I also hurt my thumb and may have to have an X-ray.

"I have a big lead but anything could still happen. If I had crashed and been out of the meeting with a broken hand or something, then my lead could have been pegged back."

Rickardsson's latest triumph -- his only blip in 2005 has been a second place behind Crump in round two -- has moved him onto 145pts, a whopping 54 in front of Crump (91), who consolidated his hold on second place with his first Big Final appearance since round three.

Rickardsson will now be shooting for an unassailable championship lead in Sweden on August 13 -- which would be an ideal lead-in to his 35th birthday celebrations on August 17.

In a round made even more difficult by the cancellation of practice, Crump was joined by compatriot Ryan Sullivan in the semi-finals, while Leigh Adams failed to make the last eight for the third round in succession -- his leanest trot since 1998.

"I was riding pretty well through the meeting but I struggled through the heats with machine setup," said Crump. "By the time I won the fifth heat we had already used four different bikes trying to find a setup -- but that is no excuse as everyone faced the same problems with the loss of the practice.

"I think I was over aggressive during the heats. I was smoking the tyre pretty badly and by the time we did find the setup for the semi and the final I was down on my points.

"I had a great semi final getting the best gate and taking the win from Rickardsson, but I drew a bad gate for the final because I didn't score as many points as the others during the heats to get first choice of the gate. I was on the outside and on the night it wasn't the best one to have.

"Tony was beatable tonight, but he... is in such form that you can't give him an inch. There are still a few races to go, so it's not impossible to win the title but the way he is riding he has to lose it.

"He knows I'm the only one that can beat him at this stage, so he will do what he has to do to take it out. But while I'm racing I'll be trying my hardest."

Crump, Adams and Sweden's Andreas Jonsson all scored 8pts in the preliminary heats, but the former made it through on a countback. Sullivan had no such pressure, with his 9pt haul including two victories.

However, 30-year-old Sullivan then finished fourth in his semi-final behind Hampel, Bjarne Pedersen and Scott Nicholls, while Crump dominated the second one from Rickardsson, Tomasz Gollob and Nicki Pedersen.

That made the Big Final nearly a carbon-copy of the 2004 decider, with Crump, Hampel and Rickardsson all returning, and Bjarne Pedersen 'replacing' Sullivan.

Bjarne Pedersen's second place in the Big Final saw him leap three spots in the world championship. He's now in fourth on 66pts, two in front of Adams (64). Nicki Pedersen is still third on 78pts.

Sullivan is 13th on 38pts, but only 10 behind ninth-placed Nicholls (48).

The 2005 Speedway World Championship will now go into hibernation for a month, with the Speedway World Cup set to take international prominence from July 31 until August 6.

Team Australia will be represented by Crump, Adams, Sullivan, Steve Johnston and Davey Watt, as it chases a fourth title in six years, and sixth overall.

For more information, visit www.speedwayworld.tv <pre> ROUND SIX RESULTS 1 Tony Rickardsson Sweden 25pts 2 Bjarne Pedersen Denmark 20 3 Jaroslaw Hampel Poland 18 4 Jason Crump Australia 16 5 Scott Nicholls Great Britain 14 6 Nicki Pedersen Denmark 10 7 Tomasz Gollob Poland 9 8 Ryan Sullivan Australia 8 9 Leigh Adams Australia 8 10 Andreas Jonsson Sweden 8

CURRENT STANDINGS (after six of nine rounds): 1 Tony Rickardsson Sweden 145pts 2 Jason Crump Australia 91 3 Nicki Pedersen Denmark 78 4 Bjarne Pedersen Denmark 66 5 Leigh Adams Australia 64 6 Antonio Lindback Sweden 59 7 Greg Hancock America 58 8 Jaroslaw Hampel Poland 56 9 Scott Nicholls Great Britain 48 10 Hans Andersen Denmark 47 13 Ryan Sullivan Australia 38

-Motorcycling Australia

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