Crump and Rickardsson Separated By a Point After a modest return in round three of the 2004 Speedway World Championship at the Olympic Stadium in Wroclaw (Poland) on May 29, Australian Jason Crump's reign at the head of the points table ...
Crump and Rickardsson Separated By a Point
After a modest return in round three of the 2004 Speedway World Championship at the Olympic Stadium in Wroclaw (Poland) on May 29, Australian Jason Crump's reign at the head of the points table has come to an end -- but only just.
The 28-year-old, after failing to at least make the semi-final stage of the world title for the first time in 10 grands prix, eventually finished ninth, which took his 2004 'earnings' along to 53pts -- just one in arrears of Sweden's Tony Rickardsson (54), who remains the only rider to make the final in all three rounds.
In a tight-knit leaderboard, Crump's compatriot Leigh Adams is third on 49pts, followed by Jaroslaw Hampel (43) and Bjarne Pedersen (37).
Pedersen, from Denmark, won the final in Wroclaw -- his first - from Hampel, Rickardsson and Piotr Protasiewicz.
After a second and victory in the opening two rounds -- the latter advancing his tally of GP wins to nine -- Crump's Polish campaign began with a win in heat nine, but after a fourth in heat 20 the Aussie suddenly found himself under pressure to make the semi-finals.
That's how it transpired, with the reigning world number two finishing third in heat 21 behind Protasiewicz and Adams -- only the top two progressed.
"I wasn't really happy with my bikes, and it just didn't happen for me tonight," said Crump, who won the 2001 Polish GP. "That's (a bad result) always going to be the case during the course of a season -- still I'd rather have a bad one now than at the business end of a championship.
"It was a weird night. Guys who had their set-up just right were able to get away from any of the gates and perform well, but those that didn't struggled.
"The championship has tightened up, but that's no surprise -- it's a quality field."
With Crump a rare early casualty, Adams and another Aussie, Ryan Sullivan, made it to separate semi-finals in Poland, but were both eliminated after finishing fourth.
Round four of the Speedway World Championship will see the riders visit the brilliant Millennium Stadium in Cardiff (UK) on June 12; a return to the setting where Crump was second in 2003 behind Dane Nicki Pedersen. Crump also won the British GP in 1996 and 1998.
<pre> ROUND THREE RESULTS 1 Bjarne Pedersen Denmark 25pts 2 Jaroslaw Hampel Poland 20 3 Tony Rickardsson Sweden 18 4 Piotr Protasiewicz Poland 16 5 Nicki Pedersen Denmark 13 5 Grzegorz Walasek Poland 13 7 Leigh Adams Australia 11 7 Ryan Sullivan Australia 11 9 Jason Crump Australia 8 9 Greg Hancock America 8 9 Jason Crump Australia 25
CURRENT STANDINGS (after three of nine rounds): 1 Rickardsson 54 2 Crump 53 3 Adams 49 4 Hampel 43 5 Bjarne Pedersen 37 6 Tomasz Gollob 36 7 Nicki 34 7 Pedersen 34 7 Sullivan 34 9 Hancock 32 10 Lee Richardson 27