In the latest of his exclusive columns, Australian speedway ace Ryan Sullivan tells us how a combination of injuries and blood infections have sapped his enthusiasm for the final GP of the season.

"One more race meeting to go - and quite frankly I can't wait for the season to be over. I probably sound like I'm feeling really sorry for myself, but when you've got food poisoning, everything seems like such a huge effort.

"On Saturday in Norway, it's odds on that either Jason Crump (133 points) or Nicki Pedersen (132 points) will become world champion, but I hope I can be forgiven for saying that if they both screw it up, I won't be at all unhappy to see Tony Rickardsson win his sixth world title.

"Even if I can shake off this wretched blood infection caused by some food I've had, it's hard for me to get motivated for this final GP. If I win it, I can't reach the final podium, and if I ride badly, I'll still finish in the Top Ten, which automatically gives me a qualification place for 2004.

"Becoming world champion for Australia is extra special of course because of the fact that it's not been achieved for over 50 years, and yes, of course, I'd still like the person to break that spell to be me. Jason and Nicki both ride very hard, so under the bright lights at the Viking Stadium, which is a very exciting and very loud indoor circuit, it should be pretty interesting.

"I really shouldn't grumble, especially about finishing in the world's Top Ten, but when you want to be world champion, being Number One is all you can think about. I am pleased that despite all the injuries this year, I've still won two Grands Prix. My club side in England reached the play-offs, and last week I won the Czech Golden Helmet meeting. This event has been staged for over 50 years and always pulls a big crowd. It proves to me that I do know how to win.

"I helped by club side Kaparna in Sweden win the league title, and in Poland last week, there were amazing scenes in Czestochowa, when we won the Polish league title. After the racing, which pulled a crowd of well over 30,000, I was spotted driving in town by a load of local fans. Next thing I knew, they had surrounded the van and we're pulling me out if it.

"I've seen how mad Italian football fans go at the end of the season, running onto the pitch to grab shirts, shorts, boots, whatever as souvenirs, but I never thought it would happen to me as a speedway rider in Poland! I was being dragged out legs first - saw my shoes disappear - the fans were going mad!

"I managed to scramble up onto the roof of my van, but about 20 or so of them climbed up with me. Then they all started jumping up and down to celebrate, but in less than a minute the roof of my van collapsed. They love their speedway in Poland, but this was ridiculous."

Ryan Sullivan



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