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SWC: Denmark and GB complete final line-up.

Denmark and Great Britain came through a hotly-contested World Cup Race-Off at Reading to book their places in Saturday's Final.

The victorious nations felt the benefit of a fast start as they built a lead in the early stages and then held off a late charge from holders Poland in particular.

The Danes, led from the front by skipper Hans Andersen, were models of consistency with eight second places in the first fifteen heats and not a single last place until the final block of five races.

Andersen dropped his only point of the night to Great Britain captain Scott Nicholls, the two exchanging places in a no-holds-barred duel in Heat 12, and the Danes always looked the likely winners on the night.

Britain were flying early on with both Chris Harris and Lee Richardson winning their first two rides - Harris picking off Charlie Gjedde and Tomasz Gollob on successive laps in Heat10 - but they began to come under pressure
in the middle stages of the meeting.

The USA and Poland both used their tactical jokers in the same race with American captain Greg Hancock - the tournament's outstanding rider so far - taking six points from Heat 11 as he was once again out on his own on his
nation's scorechart.

But Gollob's riding along with a pair of race wins from Sebastian Ulamek and Jarek Hampel kept Poland just in the frame, until Lee Richardson and Mark Loram took key successes for GB in Heats 18 and 19.

Richardson's joker ride netted zero points for the hosts, who also gave Nicholls a tactical subsitute ride to ensure they repelled the Poles. And it was Nicholls who secured their progression to the Final when Heat 22 finished in dramatic circumstances, the British rider overtaking Ulamek on the last bend.

The Pole then fell and Nicholls kept things wound on to also go past Billy Janniro.

Opening event winners Australia and Sweden lie in wait for the two Race-Off qualifiers in what looks to be one of the most open Finals since the competition's re-launch in 2001.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Charlie Gjedde [Swindon] gets the better of Mark Loram [Arena Essex] [Pic credit: Mark Taylor - NewsPics Ltd]
Craig Boyce leads Australian champion Leigh Adams while racing for Poole Pirates in 2006   [pic credit: Poole Pirates media]
Race action from the 2003 Slovenian GP (Pic: Phil Meredith).
Ryan Sullivan prepares for the next race (Pic: Phil Meredith)
Swindon Robin Oliver Allen celebrating one of his race wins with a wheelie
Arena Essex promoter, Ronnie Russell tries to dry out the racing surface after torrential rain fell in the hours leading up to the clash against Newcastle. All to no avail when the meeting was called off after an 8pm inspection by the referee
The track inspection for the Arena-Essex v. Newcastle meeting [3rd May 2002] takes place at 8pm with the eventual outcome being that the track was not fit for racing
Swindon Impact Robins` No. 7 Jason King dons the No. 1 race jacket for the Pro-Fit Sprockets
Leigh Lanham scored a full maximum, winning all of his races against Reading on Friday night [5th April 2002]

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