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Speeday World Copenhagen round five preview

Round five of the 2005 Speedway World Championship will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark on June 25, for what will be the 11th Danish GP. Here is some information to whet your appetite: * The GP will be held at the 32,500-seat Parken for the...

Round five of the 2005 Speedway World Championship will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark on June 25, for what will be the 11th Danish GP. Here is some information to whet your appetite:

* The GP will be held at the 32,500-seat Parken for the third successive year, with Australia's reigning world champion Jason Crump chasing a hat-trick of wins at the venue.

* Crump, 29, has already made name for himself in that area, after winning last year's Czech GP -- his third successive triumph in that country.

* After winning three of the opening four rounds, five-time world champion, Sweden's Tony Rickardsson leads this year's title on 95pts, ahead of Crump (63), Dane Nicki Pedersen (52), Australian Leigh Adams (49) and Bjarne Pedersen (43). At the corresponding period last year, the situation was much tighter, with Crump and Adams deadlocked on 69pts, followed by Rickardsson on 62.

* Rickardsson has now made the best start to any world championship campaign since it went multi-round in 1995. He has also qualified for the last eight Big Finals -- a record.

* After the disappointment of round four, when an Australian rider failed to make the semi-final of a GP for the first time since round two, 1998, it will be redemption time in Denmark for the antipodean cast: Crump, Adams and Ryan Sullivan.

* The round four aberration aside, Australia's three world championship campaigners continue to rack up magnificent scores in Polish and British league racing. In Poland, Adams leads the individual averages from Crump, while Sullivan is the pacesetter in Poland.

* In addition to their domestic league commitments, Crump and Adams recently competed under the Team Australia banner in a warm-up match before the 2005 Speedway World Cup (SWC) gets underway on July 31. Australia came up against Great Britain, and won 49-41. Crump was Australia's leading scorer, ahead of Adams and Davey Watt. Sullivan did not compete in the warm-up. Australia has won the SWC four times, including three of the last six years (1999, 2001-02).

* Crump and Adams are the only two Australians to have ever qualified for a Danish Big Final. Crump has achieved it six times (1998 and 2000-04), while Adams made it all the way in 2001 when he finished third.

* In top of his wins in the last two years, Crump's other Big Final appearances have resulted in two seconds and two fourths.

* In 10 years, there have been three multiple winners of the Danish GP: Crump, Rickardsson (1999, 2001-02) and local hero Hans Nielsen (1995, 1998).

* After Australia, Denmark and Sweden, only two other countries have produced Danish GP winners: Great Britain and America.

* American Greg Hancock and Nicki Pedersen have finished third and fourth in the last two Big Finals, with only second place changing -- Rickardsson scored the honour in 2003 before his fellow Swede, Andreas Jonsson, followed Crump home last year.

* Sullivan, who is currently 13th on 24pts, has competed in seven Danish GPs, but he has only reached the semi-final stage once -- in 2002.

* Nine riders have qualified for the four Big Finals in 2005, with Rickardsson the only pilot to have appeared in them all. Crump has made three, while the two Pedersens -- Bjarne and Nicki -- have competed at the business end twice.

* Sixteen riders will compete in round five, including Dane wildcard Niels-Kristian Iversen.

* Only two riders have previously won a GP as a wildcard: Mark Loram (Sweden, 1999) and Martin Dugard (Great Britain, 2000).

QUOTES

Jason Crump

"The last 10 days since have been pretty good and a great way to put all the Cardiff stuff behind me. I haven't lost a race in the last two meetings in Belle Vue and Poland, plus last week there was a Poole against England test that we won and I was the highest points-scorer there so things have been going along really well.

"I think I've turned a corner after Cardiff. I got a major kick in the arse there and it really made me realise how much I still really want to be world champion. It was a tough way for it to happen but I know now I had to get a kick in the backside to make me get my head down again.

"It also made me aware that I've had the wrong approach going into the GP's so I've changed the way I go into each GP now compared to what I was doing earlier. I'm heading to Denmark to enjoy the racing and I'm going there to win. I hope that the way I'm going to approach the rest of the season is going to get more results.

"What has happened to me lately can happen to anyone. I don't want anyone to have any bad luck but I just want to go to each event and get a better run than anyone else. I think it's time it turned around a bit!"

Leigh Adams

"I had a few problems away from the track that were playing on my mind and I've now sorted that out so I feel a lot better. I had a shocker at Belle Vue earlier this week with bike troubles so hopefully all my gremlins are gone.

"I have had some very good people telling me not to throw in the towel in the Grand Prix and although I would never do that anyway, I appreciate their belief in me. I feel good and I'm looking forward to at least a 30% improvement in Denmark from my last result."

-ma-

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