Ex world speedway champion Greg Hancock put his indifferent grand prix form behind him to emerge victorious from today's Challenge meeting in Krsko, Slovenia and earn a starting place in next year's series.

Other qualifiers for next year were Nicki Pedersen, Scott Nicholls, Lukas Dryml, Carl Stonehewer and Andy 'Houdini' Smith.

Hancock retains his place in the main event and will again be joined by Carl Stonehewer, winner of the consolation final and Andy Smith, the incredible escape artist.

Smith, a constant struggler in the main series, seems to possess a remarkable ability to get it right in this meeting and return via the back door. He was even more fortunate this afternoon. Originally due to begin the qualification task in the pre-main event, Smith was bumped up to the big show due to the withdrawal of Rune Holta. A good performance culminated with second place in the consolation final and 'Smudger' retains his starting place for next year.

Lukas Dryml fought his way through from the pre-main event then won his semi-final to secure qualification and then went on to finish second to Hancock in the main final. The young Czech was given a late call up to the event after David Kujawa's injury - and how he made the most of his chance. Dryml's performance will perhaps be the main talking point given that he's been 'unfit' for weeks and unable to ride for his British club Oxford but has popped up in continental meetings.

Stonehewer again remains the sole Premier League representative after the early exit of his great friend and rival Sean Wilson. Scott Nicholls confirmed his place on the world stage picking himself up from a first ride fall and powering through to third place in the main final. He can mature in to a genuine threat next season, as can Nicki Pedersen who was so unlucky not to win the German Grand Prix earlier in the year.

The 'grand old man' of world speedway, Sam Ermolenko put up a brave show to almost make it until crashing out with a fall in heat nineteen. Will this become the popular American's epitaph at world level?

All credit to Hancock, Pedersen, Nicholls, Dryml, Stonehewer and Smith. We now await news of the 'wild cards' who will join today's half dozen and the top dozen from this season in the 2002 speedway Grand Prix.

Grand Prix Challenge, Krsko, Solvenia
Result:

Grand Final
Hancock, Pedersen, Nicholls, Dryml

Consolation Final:
Stonehewer, Smith, Karlsson, Protasiewicz

Semi finals:
Nicholls, Pedersen, Smith, Protasiewicz
Dryml, Hancock, Stonehewer, Karlsson

Heats:
Heat 1 - Dryml, Louis, Wilson, Kaspar
Heat 2 - Andersson, Laukkanen, Lyons, Jagus
Heat 3 - Ulamek, Balinski, Jonsson, Havelock
Heat 4 - Ermolenko, Brhel, Gunnestad, Nicholls
Heat 5 - Nicholls, Jonsson, Jagus*, Wilson*
Heat 6 - Lyons, Havelock, Gunnestad*, Kaspar*
Heat 7 - Brhel, Dryml, Ulamek, Laukkanen
Heat 8 - Ermolenko, Andersson, Louis, Balinski
Heat 9 - Nicholls, Ulamek, Balinski*, Havelock*
Heat 10 - Louis, Jonsson, Lyons*, Laukkanen*
Heat 11 - Smith, Jonsson, Pedersen, Brhel
Heat 12 - Ulamek, Stonehewer, Ermolenko, Protasiewicz
Heat 13 - Louis, Hancock, Ferjan, Dryml
Heat 14 - Nicholls, Karlsson, Andersen, Andersson
Heat 15 - Pedersen, Protasiewicz, Ferjan*, Andersson*
Heat 16 - Dryml, Ermolenko, Andersen*, Brhel*
Heat 17 - Smith, Karlsson, Stonehewer, Louis
Heat 18 - Hancock, Nicholls, Ulamek, Jonsson
Heat 19 - Pedersen, Stonehewer, Jonsson*, Ermolenko*
Heat 20 - Dryml, Protasiewicz, Louis*, Ulamek*

(* = eliminated)