Speedway » 11 September 2005
Italian GP: It's that man Rickardsson again.
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.
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.
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