Aussies gunning for more Swedish success Round two of the 2005 FIM Speedway World Championship will be held on Saturday, May 14, in a country which has recently been very amenable to the Australian connection -- Sweden. Combined, the ...
Aussies gunning for more Swedish success
Round two of the 2005 FIM Speedway World Championship will be held on Saturday, May 14, in a country which has recently been very amenable to the Australian connection -- Sweden.
Combined, the Aussie troika of Leigh Adams, Jason Crump and Ryan Sullivan has won four out of the last five Swedish grands prix, which has amounted to the best return from any country since the world championship went multi-round in 1995. Crump, the reigning world champion, was the beacon in 2000-01, while Sullivan and Adams emerged with the spoils in 2003 and 2004 respectively.
Behind Australia, Sweden, via its five-time world champion Tony Rickardsson, is the only other country to have won more than one Swedish GP, with single victories to Poland (Tomasz Gollob), Denmark (Tommy Knudsen), America (Greg Hancock) and Great Britain (Mark Loram).
This Saturday night's GP will be the 11th in Sweden, at a new world championship venue -- the 15,000-seat Smedstadion in Eskilstuna.
Despite the change of scenery in 2005, 34-year-old Adams will be well aware that last year's Swedish GP represented his last world championship victory, where he led home Crump in only the second antipodean 1-2 since 1995. Since then, the Mildura (Vic) gun has made it to at least the semi-finals of the last nine grands prix without claiming the ultimate prize. Despite the frustrating run, the reigning world No. 4 is still in an ebullient mood, confident that another win is just over the horizon.
"I have often become bogged down in the mental stress of the GPs in the past and I'm not letting that happen this year," Adams said. "As far as I'm concerned the GP series is nine completely separate events, and I aim to win all of them.
"Each meeting is a new chapter and the second one is this Saturday. I will be on the gas for sure and I'm willing to back myself for another top result."
Adams sits on 20pts after round one, ahead of the other round one finalists: Crump (18) and championship rookie Antonio Lindback (16).
Rickardsson is on 25pts, and will be chasing a record of his own on Saturday night -- as the first rider to win three successive grands prix.
Meanwhile, Crump has been the most consistent rider in the Swedish GP since the turn of the century, having contested four of five finals. It's that catalogue of superb results which will again hold him in good stead, as he seeks to win his first GP since round five in 2004.
Crump will begin his round two assault in the opening heat, alongside Adams, wildcard Rune Holta and British pilot Lee Richardson.
Crump and Adams have both enjoyed brilliant lead-ups to round two, after rattling off maximum-point efforts in British league racing on May 10.
Sullivan, 30, will kick off his program in heat three, after just missing out on a semi-final spot in round one. Sullivan, a former world No. 3, has been a chameleon in recent years, with a few brilliant results punctuated with a series of lows.
If he can reproduce his mercurial form in Sweden, the Melbourne-born rider is capable of winning his fifth GP, while American Greg Hancock, Nicki Pedersen, Gollob, Andreas Jonsson and Jaroslaw Hampel (if his suspected broken thumb holds out) will also be in the thick of the action across the 20 preliminary heats.
For more information on the 2005 FIM Speedway World Championship, visit www.speedwayworld.tv