Jason Crump is still speedway's World Champion ... at least for another two weeks. Crump's victory in the FIM ES Scandinavian Grand Prix at Malilla in Sweden on Saturday, with championship leader Tony Rickardsson third, means that the destiny of the 2005 title chase is still undecided - but only just.
Rickardsson needed to finish in front of Crump in Sweden to clinch his sixth World title with two rounds - in Bydgoszcz, Poland, and Lonigo, Italy - still to go. But hard as he tried Rickardsson could not stop Crump from winning in Sweden for the second time this year.
Nevertheless, Rickardsson kept up his amazing record of finishing on the rostrum in each of this year's seven rounds, saying afterwards: "I have to be happy, this was my worst finish of the season and I am still in the top three."
A week ago Crump was forced to pull out of the Australian squad competing in the FIM Speedway World Cup (SWC)through illness. He spent a few days recovering at home yet admitted before the start that he was still feeling weak. At the end he said: "This is the best I have ridden in a Grand Prix this year. I had a good first ride and carried on from there. Fair play to Andreas Jonsson, he left me room in the final and I was able to ride round him.
"This result has given me great heart for next year. Even Tony knows how hard it is defending a title."
Jonsson, second after reaching the final for the first time this year, was delighted with his performance, which included four wins in the qualifying heats and another in his semi-final.
Rickardsson added that while he would liked to have wrapped up the championship here he remains in an almost unassailable position and will be looking to take gold in Poland in two weeks.
Great Britain's Scott Nicholls had another frustrating night, yet again getting through to the semis without making the final. But there was little joy for Lee Richardson, outstanding in the SWC. He started with a
superb win from the back against Tomasz Gollob but then failed to add to his tally from his last four races.
Poland's World Cup heroes Gollob and Hampel failed to make the last four but Hampel is hanging on to his top eight spot with Jonsson and Nicholls reathing down his neck.
But at the top Rickardsson leads by 47 which means Crump must win both n Poland and Italy and hope that the Swede manages only two points. t is never over until the fat lady sings but she is certainly clearing er throat!
Scandinavian Speedway Grand Prix, Malilla, Sweden:
1. Jason Crump (Australia) 25pts,
2.Andreas Jonsson (Sweden) 20,
3.Tony Rickardsson (Sweden) 18,
4. Leigh Adams (Australia) 16,
5. Nicki Pedersen (Denmark) 10,
6. Scott Nicholls (Great Britain) 10,
7. Tomasz Gollob (Poland) 9,
8. Greg Hancock (USA) 8,
9. Bjarne Pedersen (Denmark),
10. Antonio Lindback (Sweden) 7,
11. Jarek Hampel (Poland) 5,
12. Hans Andersen (Denmark) 5,
13. Ryan Sullivan (Australia) 5,
14. Jonas Davidsson (Sweden) 4,
15. Lee Richardson (Great Britain) 3,
16.Thomas Chrzanowski (Poland) 1.
Overall standingsd after seven rounds
1. Tony Rickardsson (Sweden) 163pts,
2. Jason Crump (Australia) 116,
3. Nicki Pedersen (Denmark) 88,
4. Leigh Adams (Australia) 80,
5. Bjarne Pedersen (Denmark) 73,
6. Greg Hancock (USA) 66,
7. Antonio Lindback (Sweden) 66,
8. Jaroslaw Hampel (Poland) 61,
9. Andreas Jonsson (Sweden) 60,
10. Scott Nicholls (Great Britain) 58,
11. Tomasz Gollob (Poland) 54,
12. Hans Andersen (Denmark) 51,
13. Ryan Sullivan (Australia) 43,
14. Lee Richardson (Great Britain) 29,
15. Thomas Chrzanowski (Poland) 21.