Adams returning to favourite haunt The 2005 Speedway World Championship turns its focus to Slovenia this weekend, much to the delight of one Australian hotshot -- Leigh Adams. The 34-year-old, who is currently running third in the ...
Adams returning to favourite haunt
The 2005 Speedway World Championship turns its focus to Slovenia this weekend, much to the delight of one Australian hotshot -- Leigh Adams.
The 34-year-old, who is currently running third in the nine-round championship behind Tony Rickardsson and compatriot Jason Crump, has forged a strong bond with the Matije Gubca stadium in Krsko over the past three seasons, with the relationship consummated in 2003 when he scored his second GP win.
Despite being felled in the semi-finals last year, Adams is counting on Krsko re-igniting his 2005 campaign, and nothing less than a spot in the Big Final will meet with expectations.
"Slovenia and Cardiff (Great Britain) are my two favourite tracks on this year's calendar," said the reigning world No. 4. "I will be disappointed if I don't make the A Final at both of them, and win at least one.
"I let myself down in Sweden, but it's no good looking backwards. Lap times from the first two GPs would indicate that Tony (Rickardsson) and myself are consistently quicker than the other guys and I've got to make sure my results reflect that."
While Adams has expressed an affinity with Matije Gubca -- nominally a soccer stadium -- Crump's indifferent, labeling the circuit "big and slick". Surprisingly, the reigning world champion, who won his 11th GP at round two in Sweden, hasn't made a Big Final in Slovenia in three attempts -- an underwhelming result for such a prolific rider.
"I've never made the final, and making the final four will be my immediate goal this weekend," said Crump. "The secret at Slovenia is not to go in with too much horsepower, otherwise the bike will just spin up the whole time.
"I'm still following the old adage of 'one GP at a time', because there are five or six guys who can win this championship; not just Rickardsson or me."
Crump is currently 2pts (45 to 43) behind five-time world champion Rickardsson in the title chase, with the duo having made both Big Finals so far in 2005.
In fact Rickardsson, who contested the very first world championship GP at Poland way back in 1995, has made the Big Final at the last six GPs, and will be looking to equal Crump's record of seven this Saturday night. Crump previously made the Big Final in the last five GPs of 2001, before backing up in the first two events of 2002.
With Matije Gubca placing an absolute premium on bike set-up, round three is likely to throw up a few curve balls, and it would be no surprise if Nicki Pedersen, Bjarne Pedersen, Greg Hancock, Tomasz Gollob or Hans Andersen prevailed in the Big Final.
The two Pedersens both made the round two finale, while Hancock finished second in last year's Slovenian GP behind Rickardsson, and in front of Andersen.
Further afield, Australian Ryan Sullivan and Swede Andreas Jonsson both have top-shelf Slovenian form to look back on -- Sullivan won in 2002 and Jonsson has shown his hand in two of the three Big Finals.
Sullivan's 2002 triumph was his third GP win, and saw him leading the championship by 12pts over Rickardsson. He eventually finished the year in third position, which represents his best result in seven years of world title action.
This weekend's 16-rider field will again be without the indisposed Jaroslaw Hampel, whose place will again be taken by former junior star Kenneth Bjerre, who is Crump's teammate at UK Elite League club Belle Vue. Bjerre was a revelation in round two, making the semi finals in only his second GP appearance.
The wildcard is local rider Matej Zagar -- one of only four Slovenians to have ridden in a GP.
For more information on the 2005 Speedway World Championship, visit www.speedwayworld.tv