Jason Crump Speeway GP Prague summary

Crump On Top Of The World The 2004 Speedway World Championship has a new leader -- Australian Jason Crump. That's after the flamboyant 28-year-old and reigning world number two scored a brilliant win in round two at the Marketa Stadium...

Crump On Top Of The World

The 2004 Speedway World Championship has a new leader -- Australian Jason Crump.

That's after the flamboyant 28-year-old and reigning world number two scored a brilliant win in round two at the Marketa Stadium in Prague (Czech Republic) on May 15, taking over the championship running from compatriot Leigh Adams in the process.

In driving rain, Crump's superb victory in the final was his ninth GP success, and continued his imperious form at the Marketa Stadium -- he's undefeated since 2002.

More importantly, the win took his season's haul to 45pts, seven in front of Adams (38), who's in turn followed by Tony Rickardsson (36) and Tomasz Gollob (29). It's the first time Crump has led the standings since the penultimate round of last year's title.

"I've never led the world championship after two rounds, so I'm absolutely stoked," said a jubilant Crump, who finished second at the opening round in Sweden on May 1. "It was a tough night out there, with the rain absolutely bucketing down at the end.

"In those conditions you had to get the holeshot, otherwise it was near on impossible to pass other riders. Even when I was in front in the semi-final and final it was hard to see where I was going.

"I wasn't going to let anybody get past me in the final, and that's how it turned out."

In the final, the Jawa-mounted Crump, after starting from the inside gate one, outlasted 2003 under 21 world champion Jaroslaw Hampel, Swede Tony Rickardsson and fellow Aussie Ryan Sullivan.

Just minutes earlier, Crump defeated Sullivan in the second semi-final, in a race where Adams' night ended after finishing third. In the opening semi-final, Rickardsson finished ahead of Hampel.

As it stands, Crump and Rickardsson are the only two riders to have made both finals so far in 2004, with Crump's appearance his 26th in a decider out of 51 GP starts -- a remarkable strike rate.

The third round -- of nine -- in this year's world title will be held at the Olympic Stadium in Wroclaw (Poland) on May 29, where Crump will be shooting for back-to-back wins for the first time since 2001.

-jcr/am-

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