Crump second, increases world championship lead Australian Jason Crump has increased his lead in the 2004 Speedway World Championship after a spirited second place finish at the Swedish-hosted round six on August 21. After a two-month break...
Crump second, increases world championship lead
Australian Jason Crump has increased his lead in the 2004 Speedway World Championship after a spirited second place finish at the Swedish-hosted round six on August 21.
After a two-month break from world championship hostilities, Crump was straight back into his intimidating stride at the 43,000-seat Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg, with his 20pt haul for finishing second behind Dane Hans Andersen taking his 2004 tally to 114 - the only rider to have hit the three-figure mark.
In the process, the reigning world number two increased his world championship lead from 14 to 23pts over countryman Leigh Adams and American Greg Hancock, who are deadlocked on 91. Sweden's Tony Rickardsson is fourth on 87pts with just three rounds remaining in this year's championship.
Rickardsson and Hancock were the other finalists in round six -- the latter making his third successive appearance in the decider, and Rickardsson his first since round three. Rickardsson was third in front of his home crowd, with Hancock the last home.
Meanwhile, Andersen, riding in just his 13th GP, became the 14th separate winner of the modern era with his superb victory, which saw him jump eight championship spots into 11th.
While Andersen was celebrating his maiden GP win, 29-year-old Crump's unnerving 2004 consistency continued, with Ullevi counting for his fifth appearance in six finals, with Rickardsson the next 'best' on four.
Of those five pressure-packed finals, Crump has won two and finished second in another couple -- which is a major reason why the 10-time GP winner leads the world title by such an imposing margin.
Despite the positive end result, Crump's journey to snare a place in the four-man Ullevi final had its share of tense moments, especially after the Aussie was excluded from heat 19 after a crash at Turn One. He then needed to play catch-up and finish in the top two of the sudden-death heat 22, which he duly completed with a second behind Adams.
With the Aussie duo free to continue their campaigns, the semi-finals were a speedway aficionado's delight -- seven of the world's top eight riders were in action.
In the opening semi, Andersen and Crump finished 1-2, with Rickardsson and Hancock scoring the quinella in the second. The four riders eliminated from calculations at that stage were Scott Nicholls and Tomasz Gollob (both semi one) and Nicki Pedersen and Adams (semi two).
In the final, Crump got a flyer from gate three and led briefly before making a small mistake and running wide -- just the opening that Andersen, who started from gate one, required to move into the lead, which he held for the remainder of the four-lapper.
"I was right on Andersen's tail all the way, and a few times I could of had a major go to get past," said Crump, chasing Australia's first world speedway championship since 1952. "However, Rickardsson was in turn just behind me, so in the end I decided to play it a little cautious and settle for the 20pts -- Andersen's not a championship threat, so it wasn't such a bad situation.
"It was a tough night and there was quite a bit of pressure, but I felt pretty good. I started the night off 14pts in front and now I'm leading by 23 -- that's the best part of it."
Round seven of the Speedway World Championship will be held in Slovenia on September 4.
<pre> ROUND SIX RESULTS
1 Hans Andersen Denmark 25pts 2 Jason Crump Australia 20 3 Tony Rickardsson Sweden 18 4 Greg Hancock America 16 5 Nicki Pedersen Denmark 13 6 Scott Nicholls Great Britain 13 7 Leigh Adams Australia 11 8 Tomasz Gollob Poland 11 9 Andreas Jonsson Sweden 8 1- Bjarne Pedersen Denmark 8
SPEEDWAY WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (after six of nine rounds) 1 Crump 114pts 2 Adams 91 Hancock 91 4 Rickardsson 87 5 Nicki Pedersen 76 6 Gollob 64 7 Jonsson 60 8 Bjarne Pedersen Denmark 59 9 Lee Richardson Great Britain 57 10 Jaroslaw Hampel Poland 55