World Champion Tony Rickardsson finished like he started to win the final Grand Prix of the season with a sensational seven wins out of seven at Lonigo in Italy on Saturday night.

The untouchable Swede, who had launched his campaign at Wroclaw in April with an identical display of seven straight victories, made it six wins out of this year's nine rounds with another masterful performance in the FIM Fiat Vans Italian Grand Prix.

The six-times World Champion was head-and-shoulders above the rest of the field on a night of captivating speedway, with the big, flat Lonigo circuit generating plenty of mishaps and a bucket-load of incident.

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Rickardsson steered clear of the problems, though he did have to show his class in cutting back from third to first on the first lap of heat 11, and then pick off Hans Andersen to win heat 13. The 25 points he banked took his final total to 196, a new Grand Prix record.

Jason Crump had already secured second spot in the series, but the contest for third overall went to the wire, with Greg Hancock and Leigh Adams going into the final vying to overhaul Nicki Pedersen, who had failed to make the cut for the semis when he was excluded for wiping out wild-card Matej Zagar in heat 20.

Hancock had to win and needed Adams to trail in last to retain his position as World No. 3, but the American could only finish third and though Adams was last, the 16 points meant he finally threw off the spectre of fourth place - after three successive years - to displace Pedersen for the final rostrum finish. Adams finished on 107, Pedersen on 102 and Hancock on 100.

Lower down, the battle for a top eight place saw luckless Brit Scott Nicholls end a fluctuating night by missing his chance of jumping above Andreas Jonsson.

Nicholls suffered a cruel night of outrageous fortune, encountering mechanical problems in his first race and then getting himself excluded for taking off Jonsson in his second.

He bravely recovered with two determined wins, but looked to have lost out when he packed up again in heat 19. When Pedersen was thrown out of heat 20, and Lee Richardson finished second to Rickardsson in the re-run, Nicholls squeezed into the last eight on just six points.

His hopes were further raised when Jonsson was harshly excluded when he came down on the first turn in the second semi-final. It meant Nicholls only needed to reach the final to haul himself into the top eight, but he finished third in the re-run behind Crump and Adams.

Bjarne Pedersen and Hans Andersen both made it to the semi-finals, the former shaking off the effects of a nasty-looking first-bend pile-up in heat 19 to finish second in the re-run. But the Danish duo finished behind Rickardsson and Hancock in the first semi-final.

Tomasz Gollob was barely recognisable as the spectacular rider who had won the previous GP in Bydgoszcz, mustering just four points, but fellow Pole Tomasz Chrzanowski had one of his better nights to accrue six, including a win over Andersen, Bjarne Pedersen and Richardson in heat two.

Replacement riders Stefan Andersson and Roman Povazhny - deputising for Jarek Hampel and Ryan Sullivan - also made their mark with surprise race wins, the Swede taking heat one and the Russian winning heat 19.

Italian Grand Prix:
Tony Rickardsson (Sweden) 25 (15), Jason Crump (Australia) 20 (12), Greg Hancock (USA) 18 (8), Leigh Adams (Australia) 16 (11), Bjarne Pedersen (Denmark) 10, Andreas Jonsson (Sweden) 10, Hans Andersen (Denmark) 8, Scott Nicholls (Great Britain) 6, Tomasz Chrzanowski (Poland) 6, Lee Richardson (Great Britain) 6, Nicki Pedersen (Denmark) 5, Antonio Lindback (Sweden) 5, Stefan Andersson (Sweden) 5, Matej Zagar (Slovenia) 5, Roman Povazhny (Russia) 4, Tomasz Gollob (Poland) 4

Final 2005 Grand Prix standings:
Tony Rickardsson (Sweden) 196, Jason Crump (Australia) 154, Leigh Adams (Australia) 107, Nicki Pedersen (Denmark) 102, Greg Hancock (USA) 100, Bjarne Pedersen (Denmark) 90, Tomasz Gollob (Poland) 83, Andreas Jonsson (Sweden) 80 (all qualify for 2006 GP series), Scott Nicholls (Great Britain) 72, Antonio Lindback (Sweden) 71, Jarek Hampel (Poland) 67, Hans Andersen (Denmark) 64, Lee Richardson (Great Britain) 55, Ryan Sullivan (Australia) 45, Tomasz Chrzanowski (Poland) 28