Nicki Pedersen picked himself up out of the Millennium Stadium air fence after a semi-final wipe-out to dust himself down, make the final of the British Grand Prix in Cardiff this evening and then win it in fine style from a back to form Jason Crump.

Tony Rickardsson in third place - he too experiencing a rare visit in to the fence - and Greg Hancock fourth. Rickardsson's third place put a little daylight between himself and the rest at the head of the overall standings.

A dream start in heat one for the young British boys Simon Stead and Chris Harris in heat one. Todd Wiltshire and Thomasz Gollob seemed much more concerned with each other leaving a huge gap round the inside of the first two turns which Stead and Harris shot through with glee to lead. Wiltshire recovered to smartly slide inside the pair of them through the next two turns then go on to win. Gollob anchored at the back.

Nicki Pedersen, Scott Nicholls and Andres Jonsson all made smart starts to win heats two, three and four respectively at the end of which Bo Brhel, David Howe, Lee Richardson, Piotr Protasiewicz, Ronnie Pedersen and Jason Lyons joined Harris and Gollob in the first elimination heats.

The first of them pitched in three Brits - Richardson, Howe and Harris in with Ronni Pedersen. Richardson was smartly away for an untroubled win and an extended evening's racing. Ronni Pedersen settled in to second with Howe never a real threat. The unfortunate Harris lifted and fell on the first lap for an early exit.

Gollob made sure he wouldn't be the first big name casualty thanks to a tapes to flag win in heat six. Brhel hit a problem early in the race and retired leaving Gollob's fellow Pole Protasiewicz second place with Lyons back in third and on his way out.

Wiltshire looked smart in winning heat seven with a determined Crump slicing in to second past Nicholls on lap one. Nicholls and Bjarne Pedersen now facing elimination next time out in heats eleven and twelve. Karlsson followed the dirt and made the most of the extra grip by moving wide to drive around Jonsson to take heat eight. Nicki Pedersen tried hard for second but couldn't make it with Stead outpaced at the back.

Was the great Tony Rickardsson feeling the pressure - he destroyed the tapes at the start of heat nine in his apparent eagerness to get away and had to watch the restart from his space in the pits, where he saw Thomasz Bajerski slice neatly inside Ryan Sullivan to win the race.

Lukas Dryml and Rune Holta passed and repassed each other over the first lap of heat ten and a real scrap looked likely but Holta's machine failed. Dryml had it all sewn up but slowed on the run in to the line allowing Michael Max to take the flag. Possibly a tactical move by Dryml as it meant he'd avoid a meeting with Rickardsson in heat sixteen.

Now on to the next two eliminators. Three Brits and a Pole took part in the first with one Brit (Nicholls) and the Pole (Protasiewicz) progressing at the expense of Richardson and Stead. Protasiewicz almost lost it getting well out of shape on the third lap but recovered well with Richardson not close enough to capitalise on the error.

The second eliminator (heat 12) was something of a family affair with brothers Nicki and Ronni Pedersen lining up with another Pedersen, Bjarne, and Gollob. The race served up the first controversy of the night when Gollob and Ronni Pedersen touched round the first turn. Ronni slid off and in to the fence, apparently sent on his way thanks to a little nudge from Gollob. After some deliberation, the white exclusion light came on meaning Gollob was out of the GP much to his dismay and disbelief. The Brothers Pedersen took first and second places in the restart to go through leaving Bjarne with an early night.

Bajerski emerged the leader of heat thirteen, which had to be restarted without Wiltshire after the Aussie lost it attempting to blast around Holta on lap two. The Pole made no mistakes riding an intelligent race to snuff out Holta's determined challenge with Ronni Pedersen back in third place.

The Dryml Master plan failed miserably in heat fourteen as he totally missed the start, was left well at the back and put the pressure on himself to avoid elimination in his next race. Up front Hancock was a tidy winner from Protasiewicz and Karlsson.

A tight first corner in heat fifteen ended with Nicki Pedersen sliding across the shale as he appeared to catch his handlebars on the back of Crump's machine. No exclusions this time - bunching deemed and all four back. A superb ride from Crump followed as the threaded the eye of the needle to cut between Adams and Pedersen which also had Pedersen moving past Adams in to second. Adams bided his time and stuck on Pedersen's back wheel waiting for a mistake - which arrived as the Dane drifted slightly off the racing line and Adams pounced to drive underneath.

Rickardsson got a belated first look at the track in the next and he must have liked what he saw when out battling Nicholls who had it all to themselves. Jonsson and Max way back and needing to pull something out of the bag in their next rides.

The Brothers Pedersen went in the next eliminator (heat seventeen). Nicki won it to stay in the meeting but Ronni was a distant third and went out. Joint standings leader Dryml needed at least second place to prolong his evening and that's just what he got. Max joined Ronni in the queue for the showers.

Jonsson and Karlsson jetted away the quicker in heat eighteen with world number 3 Sullivan having much work to do or he'd be on his way. He gritted his teeth, swept wide seeking drive and eventually found it to slingshot past Karlsson in mid race. Karlsson and Wiltshire now went to the back of the shower queue.

Crump just held on from a charging Nicholls in heat nineteen as both qualified for the semi-finals leaving Protasiewicz and Bajerski with one last chance. Rickardsson had the turbo-boost up to full to shoot away from the tapes in heat twenty for a big win from Holta. Adams and Hancock left clutching at the second chance each would have to make the semis with the two last elimination heats next up.

Hancock trapped fast to make sure of his semi-final place. Nicki Pedersen slotted in behind but almost lost it after a wobble at the end of lap three but he held on from Protasiewicz. Sullivan had something of a poor start and even his powers of recovery were impotent this time as he came to the end of the road. Dryml's position as joint standing leader came to an end in the next heat. He and Adams were elbow to elbow speeding down the back straight of lap one neither giving an inch for the important second spot. Dryml stuck out a leg entering turn three to block Adams but couldn't hold it spinning out managing to retain some sort of control. Jonsson left clear from Adams and out go Dryml and Bajerski.

The first semi-final saw Hancock smartly away to win with something in hand from Crump who came under big late pressure from Adams with Holta way back.

Drama in the second semi final. After a fairly even break room became scarce on turn two. Pedersen had a slender lead with Jonsson edging round the white line, Nicholls out wide and Rickardsson cutting back looking for the gap that was emerging between Pedersen and Jonsson. But the gap disappeared. Rickardsson clipped the back wheel of Jonsson and baled out in to the fence collecting a blow from his own machine on the way. Despite being the man in front, Jonsson was a controversially excluded as primary cause handing a bruised Rickardsson a huge slice of luck he probably wasn't expecting.

And yet more drama in the restart. Nicholls hitting a rut, unintentionally straightening up and wiping out Nicki Pedersen in the process. Rickardsson reacting very fast to avoid the carnage and another trip in to the fence himself. Pedersen beat Rickardsson in the academic match race that followed. No need to race knowing they were both through to the final regardless.

Nervous shenanigans at the tapes for the final with Pedersen, owner of the inside gate, almost lining up in Crump's number two gate until being moved back over by the starting marshal. He need not have bothered the Dane he simply flew away from the start for a convincing all the way win from Crump, Rickardsson and Hancock with all four well strung out along the track.

All four riders improve their overall standings positions with Rickardsson's third place moving him clear at the head of affairs - but it's a wide open world championship race as the series moves on to Copenhagen in two weeks' time for the Grand Prix of Denmark.

Grand Prix of Great Britian, Cardiff:

Result
Nicki Pedersen
Jason Crump
Tony Rickardsson
Greg Hancock

Scores from Cardiff
Nicki Pedersen 25
Jason Crump 20
Tony Rickardsson 18
Greg Hancock 16
Leigh Adams 13
Scott Nicholls 13
Andreas Jonsson 11
Rune Holta 11
Lukas Dryml 8
Piotr Protasiewicz 8
Ryan Sullivan 7
Thomasz Bajerski 7
Peter Karlsson 6
Ronni Pedersen 6
Mikael Max 5
Todd Wiltshire 5
Lee Richardson 4
Bjarne Pedersen 4
Thomasz Gollob 3
Simon Stead 3
David Howe 2
Jason Lyons 2
Bo Brhel 1
Chris Harris 1

Overall standings after Cardiff
Tony Rickardsson 56
Nicki Pedersen 53
Lukas Dryml 46
Leigh Adams 42
Greg Hancock 40
Ryan Sullivan 38
Jason Crump 36
Rune Holta 35
Thomasz Gollob 27
Piotr Protasiewicz 27
Mikael Max 25
Thomasz Bajerski 22
Scott Nicholls 21
Krzysztof Cegielski 15
Andreas Jonsson 13
Bjarne Pedersen 13
Todd Wiltshire 12
Lee Richardson 12
Ronni Pedersen 10
Peter Karlsson 10
Bo Brhel 10
Jason Lyons 9
Hans Andersen 7
Mark Loram 5
Sebastian Ulamek 4
Rafal Rurmanski 3
Simon Stead 3
David Howe 2
Magnus Zetterstrom 1
Chris Harris 1