After a stirring final world speedway round in Hamar, Australian Jason Crump has finished 2003 the way he started it - as the number two rider on the planet.

Crump, 28, completed final round hostilities in seventh place, after he was excluded from his semi-final for knocking off local rider Rune Holta on the opening lap. His 11pts in Norway took his season's haul to 144pts, but it was not enough to hold out Denmark's Nicki Pedersen, who won his maiden world title in adventurous style.

Crump's campaign ended in the second semi-final when he finished fourth behind Hancock, Andreas Jonsson and Holta - only the first two made it through to the final. Earlier, the Jawa-mounted Crump defeated Pedersen in his first four-lap heat, before a further two second places made certain of a semi-final appearance.

However, it wasn't to be, with Crump's elimination in the semis representing his worst result since round five in Slovenia - and again denying Australia its first world speedway crown since Jack Young in 1952. Crump has now finished second in the world title for three successive years.

About the Holta incident, a devastated Crump said: "I felt it was my only chance to pass Rune. I didn't feel at my best all night but that's just the way it goes. I will just have to try again next year."



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