News 11 Jul 2010

Speedway: Aussie Holder clinches first victory at British GP

Australian champion Chris Holder won his first ever world championship round after scrapping his way through a fiery FIM British Speedway Grand Prix in Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.

The 22-year-old defeated world champion and countryman Jason Crump, new series leader Jaroslaw Hampel and Danish hotshot Hans Andersen after powering away from the tapes in the final.

The Poole, Torun and Lejonen star admits he was taken aback by a raucous, record-breaking 44,150 crowd, but showed no sign of nerves on his first appearance in the Welsh capital.

He led Rune Holta, Tomasz Gollob and Nicki Pedersen home in his opening race and went on to accrue 10 points from his five heats. This was before he stormed through his semi-final, before sealing his landmark victory – a win that left Holder struggling for words.

“I’m stoked to be here and I honestly can’t believe it. It was a bit of blur and I can’t remember how I got there, but I did,” he commented. “What happened tonight was unreal. Even on the track walk when there were just a few thousand people, I heard the atmosphere and knew it was going to be a good one.

“On the parade lap I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It was a pretty intense sort of feeling. I got the win in heat one, which was awesome for me. I plugged my way through the heats and made two good starts when I had to.

“I honestly didn’t think that was possible and I don’t have the words for it. I’m stoked that it happened. I’ve got no words – I’m so happy.”

Holder had to be on top of his game to pen a hard-charging Crump behind him in the final, and the pair were involved in another of the meeting’s flash points in race 14.

With Davey Watt storming into the lead, Crump made a smart move around the kerb on turn two to dive past Andreas Jonsson. He then surged hard under his fellow countryman going into turn three.

The move incensed Holder, who confronted Crump furiously on the circuit. The pair exchanged words in the pits afterwards, but the Poole-based racer was quick to apologise to the three-time world number one at the post-meeting press conference.

“I’ve got to apologise to Jason,” he said. “I was probably out of order there. It was heat of the moment I guess. I have no hard feelings and I hope he’s the same.”

Asked for his view on the incident, Crump joked, “Chris had his skirt on and I pulled my handbag out for a minute.”

While Holder surged up to fifth in the world championship with 60 points, Hampel took charge at the top on 92 – two ahead of his fellow countryman Tomasz Gollob.

The 39-year-old has been notorious for struggling in the Millennium Stadium over the past decade, but produced a blinding display to top the heat scorechart with 12 points from a possible 15.

Disaster struck in his semi-final, though, when he thundered away from the tapes, only for him to suffer an ignition failure on turn two.

Meanwhile, it was a tough night for the Brits as Chris Harris and Tai Woffinden both missed out on the top eight with six points. Wild card Scott Nicholls bagged four on his return to the World Championship.

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