Ryan Sullivan won an incident-packed British Grand Prix in Cardiff tonight [Saturday] charging through from third place in the final to come home ahead of surprise packet Todd Wiltshire with Mikael Karlsson third and Leigh Adams fourth.

Sullivan's win coupled with Tony Rickardsson's failure to make the final in slightly controversial circumstances means that the pair now are level at the head of the series standings on 58 points and with seven rounds left to go the world championship is blown wide open.

Flyin' Ryan's win was all the more remarkable as he managed it off the very unfavourable outside starting position, which provided just one other race winner all night long. Up until the final, the man starting off gate one had a marked advantage with fifteen of the twenty five heats being won off gate one.

Wiltshire gave a display of electric starting coming through right from the first qualification heat to make his first final for some time. And he looked good to win after another lightening escape from the tapes. That was until Sullivan's brave but controlled blast practically scraping the air fence in his attempts to find the dirt and drive that would propel him to the lead.

Sullivan found it and the rest, as they say, is history. A maiden grand prix win at a most opportune time to take full advantage of a rare non-appearance in a GP final from Rickardsson. Adams picked himself up after a nasty incident in heat twenty-two when Andreas Jonsson ran in to the back of him to win his semi-final in determined style and looked in good enough form to at last win a GP but a poor start in the final left him too much to do and there would be no way he would catch third placed man Karlsson.

A furious Rickardsson went out after finishing in third place in his semi-final. He'd looked his fast, assured self all night and seemed to be cruising towards yet another GP win. However, there was a delay in the tapes rising in that semi-final. Rickardsson pulled up then settled down again and when the tapes did rise the four time world champion didn't get away as quickly as normal and there was nothing even he could do to catch Wiltshire or Sullivan.

After the race Rickardsson protested furiously to referee Tony Steel that he couldn't see the green light. Steel was having none of it and the result stood. If it was of any consolation, Jason Crump also didn't get any further than the other semi-final coming home at the back and struggling after aggravating a wrist injury earlier in proceedings.

Wiltshire god his night off to the perfect start being an easy winner of the opening qualification heat, where wild card Lee Richardson began what would become a big night for him by rounding Greg Hancock. Jonsson was a similar easy winner of heat two with Niklas Klingberg and the other wild card Joe Screen going either side of Carl Stonehewer. Karlsson and Scott Nicholls assured themselves of at least two more rides by coming home first and second in heat three. Andy Smith lead heat four early but not for long as a slight drifting off the racing line by Smith let both Lukas Dryml and Greg Walasek through.

Heat five brought up the first elimination situation. Stonehewer battled his way to the head of affairs and was joined by Smith after a brilliant move took him to second place and seemingly to the main event. But a re-run was required as Hancock gave Krzysztof Cegielski a little nudge which dominoed the Pole in to Smith with Steel judging that Cegielski was at fault thus excluding him from the restart. Hancock made no mistakes to win that comfortably from Smith, who took advantage of a Stonehewer error and sent the Workington man for an early shower. Nicki Pedersen and Matej Ferjan went out in heat six as Ulamek and Screen went through.

Wiltshire gave a display of gating and controlling the race from the front in heat seven that Rickardsson would have been proud of. A shocking start from Karlsson left him seemingly without a chance but he picked off Klingberg then opened the throttle as wide as he could round the final bend to slingshot through the narrowest of gaps between Walasek and the fence to nick second place by a wheel right on the line.

Heat eight took three attempts to run after a little episode of first bend bunching then a temperamental starting gate but when all did go smoothly, Jonsson won it by a country mile. By this stage the dirt was moving out towards the fence and the riders had to chase it if they wanted to get the advantage. And with four world class riders all wanting the same line on the track, incidents were bound to arrive.

Not long to wait for the first - Gollob pushing Crump out wider and wider from the start of heat nine - so wide that the Australian ran out of room and had to bale out. All four back was the decision from the box and Sullivan won the re-start. Heat ten brought Rickardsson's first appearance and as usual he was away and in to a heat winning lead almost before the opposition realised the race had started. Richardson and Screen blazed away to give a British 1-2 in heat eleven with Hancock and Walasek eliminated.

Heat twelve saw Dryml, Ulamek and Klingberg getting tangled up on the first turn and experiencing the air fence at close quarters. Only Smith escaped the melee but his night would end with third place in the re-run, which was won by Dryml from Ulamek with Klingberg eliminated.

Wiltshire gone again from the start of heat thirteen but another re-run needed when Ulamek picked up a little too much grip in his attempts to catch Adams causing him to lift slightly, catapult forwards and run straight in to Adams. Ulamek excluded. Wiltshire jet propelled from the tapes and looked to have the re-run sewn up until Sullivan casually cruised past on the last lap.

Crump was an easy winner of heat fourteen with Screen, Jonsson and Loram all trading places behind him as if none of them really felt like coming second. Loram eventually decided he quite fancied it, got the bit between his teeth and contorted himself through an impossible looking gap past Jonsson on the second lap. Excellent speedway racing.

Then a bizarre heat fifteen. Gollob surely couldn't be caught after building up a good lead. Hamill charged under Dryml on the first turn of lap two with and Dryml performed a minor acrobatic miracle to stay in the saddle. Hamill then managed to fall off all on his own soon afterwards but remounted for a guaranteed third place as by this time Dryml had retired from the race. But up the front, Gollob slowed dramatically with Karlsson coming through for the heat win.

More incident in heat sixteen with Nicholls executing a hard but fair move under Rune Holta with the Norwegian parting company with his machine - although no contact was made by Nicholls. Holta excluded from the re-run which was won by Rickardsson from Richardson and a frustrating third for Nicholls who came in to the race without his fuel tap turned on. No doubt the person responsible in the Nicholls pit was spoken to about his temporary amnesia.

Hamill was a determined winner of heat seventeen after shaking off a hard Adams challenge on the first lap. Screen and Holta going out. Ulamek came out in heat eighteen sporting a broken bone in his hand sustained in his earlier crash. Too much of a handicap and his night ended here, as did Dryml's participation with Jonsson winning and Nicholls charging through to second place. Sullivan look all over the winner of heat nineteen until a late mistake let Karlsson through.

Now things really became crucial as the business end of the event loomed up. Rickardsson gave yet more evidence of his likely winning form by taking heat twenty seeing off both Wiltshire and Crump on turns one and two. Wild card Richardson took heat twenty one by a big margin to send him to the semi-finals. Hamill went out after falling (again) on turn one and Nicholls also out but not before putting huge pressure on Gollob who just had enough to hold on to second place.

Adams found himself in the air fence again as the innocent party after Jonsson got a bit too eager and slammed right in to Adams. Fortunately no injuries but Jonsson excluded and out. Wiltshire won yet another re-start from Adams who had to work very hard indeed under significant and consistent pressure from Loram.

Now the to first semi-final with heavy rain starting to fall and coming through the gap left in the slightly open stadium roof. Adams not affected by winning to make the final - and how he deserved it. Karlsson second. Richardson's superb night ended here with his third place but he loses no credit and Crump can do not much more than potter round at the back thanks to his problem wrist, but every GP point is crucial and Crump's eleven points tonight keep him in the hunt.

The second semi-final brings Rickardsson's protests after a tardy start leaves even he too much ground to make up on Wiltshire and Sullivan and with the referee dismissing the protestations about not being able to see the green light Rickardsson has to content himself with thirteen points but also knows that if Sullivan wins the final he will draw level at the top of the standings.

And that's just what happens as Sullivan blasts past early leader Wiltshire and then repels Wiltshire's brief challenge. A superbly entertaining GP which concludes with the series being blown wide open.

British Grand Prix, Cardiff:


1. R. Sullivan
2. T. Wiltshire
3. M. Karlsson
4. L. Adams

Scores from Cardiff:

R. Sullivan 25
T. Wiltshire 20
M. Karlsson 18
L. Adams 16
T. Rickardsson 13
L. Richardson 13
T. Gollob 11
J. Crump 11
M. Loram 8
S. Nicholls 8
A. Jonsson 7
B. Hamill 7
L Dryml 6
J. Screen 6
S. Ulamek 5
R. Holta 5
A. Smith 4
G. Hancock 4
G. Walasek 3
N. Klingberg 3
N. Pedersen 2
C. Stonehewer 2
M. Ferjan 1
C. Cegielski 1

Overall standings after Cardiff:

T. Rickardsson 58
R. Sullivan 58
J. Crump 43
T. Gollob 43
M. Karlsson 43
L. Adams 42
T. Wiltshire 39
M. Loram 34
B. Hamill 29
C. Stonehewer 20
A. Jonsson 18
R. Holta 17
G. Hancock 16
S. Nicholls 16
A. Smith 14
S. Ulamek 13
L. Richardson 13
G. Walasek 12
L. Dryml 12
N. Klingberg 11
C. Cegielski 8
N. Pedersen 8
P. Protasiewicz 7
J. Screen 6
L. Gunnestad 6
K. Laukannen 6
M. Ferjan 3
J. Hampel 2