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SWC: Aussies through, GB and Poland to race-off.

Australia are the first country to qualify for Speedway's World Cup Final at Reading on Saturday, July 22.

But the Aussies, winners of the first two SWC championships, had to wait until the very last race in Rybnik, Poland, on Sunday to snatch the automatic place ahead of Great Britain and Poland who finished just a point

Australia, Great Britain and Poland fought a fantastic battle throughout the 25 heats with no one country managing to establish a clear-cut lead. Poland, in fact, looked to have slipped out of the reckoning with five heats
left but three successive heat wins, including a Joker victory for the inspirational Tomasz Gollob, actually put them ahead with one race left.

Crump, who had looked a class apart all night, was up for the challenge and led all the way but it was Mark Loram's pass of Poland's Piotr Protasiewicz that prevented a race-off to determine who went through.

Poland and Great Britain will now contest the race-off at Reading on Thursday, July 20 when they will be joined by the countries finishing second and third at Malilla, Sweden, on Tuesday.

The winners of that round, which features hosts Sweden, favourites Denmark, the USA and the Czech Republic, will also go straight through to the Final.

Australian showed from the outset that they were determined to regain the trophy. Todd Wiltshire, a gold medal winner in their two SWC victories, is out of retirement and back in the side and Crump admits that has given them a terrific boost.

"We have got the old team back together and we want that trophy," said Crump.

Holders Poland were firm favourites to go straight through but despite some vintage riding by Gollob, they lacked sufficient race winners to dominant as expected.

The Brits admitted that the pressure was off them, few fancied them to win the meeting but with every one of the five-man squad winning at least one race they put on a magnificent display.

Skipper Scott Nicholls, while disappointed at losing out on direct qualification by just one point, said: "We can still win this. Hopefully we will have plenty of support at Reading on Thursday and if we get to the Final we can pull it off."

Nicholls and team manager Neil Middleditch paid tribute to the work put in by each and every member with youngsters like Chris Harris and Simon Stead, and former World Champion Mark Loram, ably backing up GP riders Nicholls and
Lee Richardson.

Event 1 - Rybnik, Poland

Australia 49
Great Britain 48
Poland 48
Finland 9 - Kaj Laukkanen 5

Australia qualify for World Cup Final on Saturday July 22.

Great Britain & Poland qualify for World Cup Race-Off on Thursday July 20.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jason Crump and Tony Rickardsson
Steve Johnston [Pic credit: Matt Sprake/NEWSPICS LTD]
Steve Johnston [Pic credit: Matt Sprake/NEWSPICS LTD]
Top scorer Krzysztof Kasprzak leads once more joined by team mate Christian Hefenbrock [Pic credit: Matt Sprake/NEWSPICS LTD]
Leigh Lanham show boats after a good night`s work at 2nd string [Pic credit: Matt Sprake/NEWSPICS LTD]
Adam Shields in the pits with team manager Jon Cook [Pic credit: Matt Sprake/NEWSPICS LTD]
Captain Paul Hurry watches the sun set before the meeting [Pic credit: Matt Sprake/NEWSPICS LTD]
The impressive Christian Hefenbrock leads team mate Chris Neath in heat 2 [Pic credit: Matt Sprake/NEWSPICS LTD]
Richard Hall keeps going as team mate Daniel King hits the deck [Pic credit: Matt Sprake/NEWSPICS LTD]
Top scorer Krzysztof Kasprzak leads once more [Pic credit: Matt Sprake/NEWSPICS LTD]
Top scorer Krzysztof Kasprzak leads Hans Andersen in heat 5 [Pic credit: Matt Sprake/NEWSPICS LTD]
Heat 10 and Iversen, Shields, Hurry and Swiderski all head into turn 1 [Pic credit: Matt Sprake/NEWSPICS LTD]
Christian Hefenbrock leads Poole`s Piotr Swist in heat 2 [Pic credit: Matt Sprake/NEWSPICS LTD]
Photo finish - An epic heat 5 battle between Krzysztof Kasprzak and world champion Jason Crump resulted in this dash for the line, with the World Champion being pipped by our own hero Kasprzak [Pic credit: Matt Sprake/NEWSPICS LTD]
Adam Shields heads between the Poole pairing of Bjarne Pedersen and Edward Kennett [Pic credit: Matt Sprake/NEWSPICS LTD]
World champion Jason Crump and the hammers` Krzysztof Kasprzak fight for the lead of heat 15 [Pic credit: Matt Sprake/NEWSPICS LTD]
Leigh Lanham is interviewed by Sky Sports [Pic credit: Matt Sprake/NEWSPICS LTD]
Krzysztof Kasprzak [Pic credit: Matt Sprake/NEWSPICS LTD]

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