from Jason Crump
With thanks to Martin Rogers and Andrew Edwards
The match was at Belle Vue and it was a bit of an odd one as my King's Lynn team had only two true team riders in Niklas Klingberg and me!
The reason was we were decimated by injuries and then a rearranged Great Britain v Denmark Test match was put on at Wolverhampton that same night, which robbed us of Danes Nicki Pedersen and Tom Madsen!
We had to bring in guest riders like Andreas Jonsson, Gary Stead and Andrew Appleton.
Even so, we only went down by two points 46-44.
I won my first five races and then got a third before Jimmy Nilsen beat me in a run off for the bonus point, which was a bit of a blow.
The run off was called for as we'd won by the same score at Lynn against the Aces last week. Unfortunately the Lynn visit to Eastbourne on Saturday was called off because of bad weather.
It was off to Sweden once again for a Tuesday league match when my club Vargarna beat Team Svelux by over 25 points in the end.
I got 14 points and was pleased with my form and the way the bikes performed, only being beaten once by the world champion, Mark Loram in my second race.
It was onto Poland on Thursday this week, instead of Sunday, because the Overseas world championship meeting was held that day at Poole.
Riding for Gorzow against Wroclaw I got 13 points from my first five races, but I fell off when I was leading my last race.
I caught a hole in the track just in the wrong place, pulled a big wheelie and had to get off in a hurry before I went any wider!
It was a bit disappointing because we'd already been beaten by Wroclaw before that last race. They are a form team at the moment, riding high in the league, whereas unfortunately a couple of guys in my team are not riding so well just at the moment.
This week it's back to a full schedule of racing, Sweden Tuesday, King's Lynn Wednesday against Coventry, which is a Sky Sports televised meeting, Ipswich Thursday, Peterborough Friday and Poland Sunday.
Then we'll have to think of packing up to go to Poland for the new format World Speedway Cup, which takes up all of the first week in July.
MMY runner-up place in the British Grand Prix, held in the magnificent Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday, in front of a 40,000 crowd, now gives me something to build on for the rest of the season's four Grands Prix.
It's brought me right back into contention into fourth place in the world championship on 25 points, behind leader Tomasz Gollob, Tony Rickardsson and Todd Wiltshire.
Now I just have to hope that Gollob and Rickardsson get a bad Grand Prix, just like I had in Berlin. A couple of wins for me now and I'll be right up there.
I had to start off the British GP in the pre-main heats because of my bad position from the German GP and the idea was to get into the next part of the GP, the Sweet Sixteen, as quickly as possible. When you get a tough race like I had in my second ride with Scoptt Nicholls, Mark Loram and Martin Dugard in it you don't want to be caught up in the pack because anything can happen, so you've got to be very determined to get into the main event.
I made a couple of good gates off gate two, which gave me plenty of confidence as not many riders were coming off that gate that well. It got hard in race 11, the first of the Sweet Sixteen competition and my third race when Gollob took me very wide on the first turn and I had to knuckle down and get past Greg Hancock, who'd come past me when Gollob took me wide. I thought about what I was doing very hard and managed to get Hancock back up the inside.
Race 18 was nearly a disaster for me. My chain came off when I got slightly out of shape on one of the ruts.
But actually it got me fired up because it put me into the next race which was an elimination event. Top two and you go into the semi-finals, third or fourth and you go home, eliminated.
I went out to do the business in that one and got second to Niklas Klingberg, which put me into the second semi-final, heat 22.
I made a great start in the semi off gate four and beat Rickardsson for the win.
That put me in the final. Gollob had first choice of gate and he chose gate two. I could have chosen gate one, but having made a fantastic start off gate four in my semi-final I chose gate four again. I hadn't gone off gate one all night, so stuck to four.
In the final Rickardsson made a jet of a start off one to win. In the early part of the race I wanted to make sure I'd get a rostrum place which I did, then on the second lap I thought I'd give it the lot and take a bit of a chance and see if I could catch Gollob. Going over the line for the next lap I was actualy beside him so I thought I'd give it another go and just went for it which worked and I got second, passing Gollob on the outside.
I knew I wasn't going to catch Rickardsson in front, although he wasn't all that far in front of me at the finish.
It is brilliant that the GP organisers Benfield are putting speedway into fantastic stadiums like that at Cardiff. The presentation of the show, the climax when we were all on the rostrum and the middle part which we provided as the riders I thought was all great.
I think the track was just about as good as you're going to get to be honest when you have to lay it down in a couple of days before the meeting.
But the whole package was great and a great result for me too. Roll on the Danish Grand Prix on July 28!
The weekend was complete when there were three Aussies on the rostrum on Sunday in the Welsh Open Championship at Premier League track Newport, just down the road from Cardiff. I won the meeting from Todd Wiltshire with Steve Johnstone third and I reckon they must have drawn a crowd of between 3500 and 4000.
AFTER not having a good start to the world championship Grand Prix series in Berlin I'm hoping to kick start my GP season off at Cardiff's state of the art Millenium stadium, the setting for the British GP on Saturday.
My first GP was not a good one and leading up to it I just felt I wasn't riding that well, I was having a bit of trouble with my bikes but I wasn't riding that good either and to be honest now I feel that I'm riding a lot better and definitely happier with the way my bikes are working, so I'm just looking forward to Saturday.
I just only hope they don't make the same mistakes as the organisers did for the first GP in Berlin, when the track left a lot to be desired.
Our Grand Prix Riders' representative Bo Wirebrand, the former Swedish team manager, is now in Cardiff at the moment on behalf of all 22 GP riders, and our organisation is going to be more involved so things will be that much better for us, even down to the pit area, which in Germany was very ordinary for a GP, access for the public was very easy.
But I just need to get on with it now and after a day off on Thursday, it will be all roads to Cardiff on Friday to see the track for the first time and for practice.
My dad got into the UK on Sunday so he's at home right now working away on the world championship GP bikes for me which is good news for me.
In Sweden I was pretty happy when I got 14 from six rides away in Eskilstuna, but unfortunately the team were beaten in the league.
For King's Lynn I got 14 points, dropping one point in my first ride against Oxford, but the team also lost narrowly by two points 44-46 which was a bit of a downer and we lost Peter Karlsson, probably for the season. with a dislocated hip with the ball joint on the hip being broken.
We then went off to Oxford with a weakened King's Lynn team and I got 12 points from six rides, which was not that good. It was an awkward situation which we tried to make the best of.
I've been having a few clutch problems with the King's Lynn bikes just lately, so I've been doing a bit of work on them trying to sort them out and I rode one of my King's Lynn bikes in Poland this week, which worked really well having changed the clutch after the Oxford meeting and I dropped only one point in my Polish league match.
THIS week saw me in action for Australia in a Test match against Great Britain and in league matches in the UK and Sweden.
The week didn't start too well when I scored only eight for Vargarna, where blowing a head gasket and burning out a clutch didn't help at all. I just wasn't with it that night for some reason and in the end we lost our first match of the season, which was disappointing.
But then it was back to the UK for an Elite League match against Wolverhampton where I made five starts and won five races for a maximum in a convincing 53-37 win.
No disrespect to Wolves, but they don't normally perform very well at King's Lynn for some reason and I think they are a bit off form as a team at the moment, so we took advantage to get a good team victory under our belts.
I changed to a new bike for the Test match at Ipswich the next night which felt really good and I was definitely up for it. Test matches are a different scenario to a league match because you are up against a different class of rider in each race. Riding at number five for Australia I was unbeaten by an English rider and scored 14 points, paid 15, with my race partner Shane Parker winning, with me second in my third ride.
The close match went right down to a last heat decider. We were two points up before the last race so we needed at least another three points to win the Test match. Leigh Adams and I were out in that one and I had choice of gate and went off four and kept England's Scott Nicholls in second place, which helped give us victory over the Brits, 47-43.
For Australia that night, Leigh was a bit off form, and it was myself, Craig Boyce and Shane Parker which did most of the damage. But if our top five get going, that's Ryan Sullivan, Todd Wiltshire, Craig Boyce, Leigh Adams and myself, with maybe each scoring nine or 10 points each, then that's a score of about 50 points which is a winning score in any match. That's what we will have to aim for if we are to do well in speedway's first World Cup, to be held over a week in Poland from July 1-7.
That tournament means all the riders will be away from home for a full week which will be hard for all the competitors in a tough season of continental travelling for us, and I've confirmed with Grand Prix race organiser Ole Olsen there's to be five riders a race, one from each country, in the grand final of the tournament in Wroclaw which makes me a bit apprehensive that's for sure.
After the Ipswich Test match, I had a relaxing time at home for four days, including a free weekend which saw me watching the F1 Grand Prix from Monaco, and the World Superbikes from Donington Park, which I could get used to!
But this week it's back to racing, with matches in Sweden (Tuesday), Poland (Sunday) with two matches in the UK in between on Wednesday and Friday.
ON THURSDAY I am riding for Australia in a Test match against Great Britain at Ipswich in the UK which should be a very competitive match for us I'm sure.
We've still got a very strong team and our second string riders will be Ryan Sullivan and Todd Wiltshire with Jason Lyons at reserve along with either Steve Johnston or Shane Parker, I'm not sure which one has been drafted into the team yet.
There'll be Leigh Adams, Craig Boyce and myself as the heat leaders in the Aussie team to take on the Brits and I'm really looking forward to riding, representing my country for the first time this year.
Riding at the nearby King's Lynn track means I've done plenty of laps at Ipswich, as have the rest of the boys really, which could help us get the right result against Team GB. And Boyce is riding for Ipswich this year in the Elite League, so he'll be dialled into the place as well.
I'm sure it will be a good fun meeting for us and I just hope we get the right result on the night, watched by a good crowd.
On the foreign news front this week, I got 13 points in Sweden at home for Vargarna in a league win against Vastervik, who are a pretty strong side this year in what for us is a local derby.
Then it was on to Poland where I did some important engine testing on Saturday before riding for Gorzow the day afterwards against Czestochowa. The match went really well and I was unbeaten in five rides, which meant I got a reward for doing the work the day before which was nice.
Unfortunately last week's Elite League match for King's Lynn against Coventry was washed out, but King's Lynn will be back in action on Wednesday (May 23) at home to Wolverhampton, the day before we go to Ipswich for the Test match on Thursday (May 24).
Then there's a bit of a break for me until Monday, with no Polish league match on the weekend because of the British final at Coventry on May 26, when King's Lynn are are Wolverhampton, where we'll be hungry to get some league points.
KING'S LYNN, my UK team had superb home and away wins in the Elite League Knockout Cup this week.
The first leg was at Belle Vue where the team gelled really nicely and there was a great performance from everyone and we hit the Aces with 47 points to their 39.
Peter Karlsson was paid for the lot for us, and was unbeaten by any opposition rider, while I was very happy to drop just one point from my four rides.
This superb performance away by the team meant the pressure in the home leg on our own track was not so great and it really was a one sided match with only Jason Lyons and Kai Laukkanen showing anything at all for Belle Vue.
As a team one to seven it was probably King's Lynn's best performance of the season so far.
We won the second leg 56-34, which puts us into the hat for the next round of the KO Cup.
Don't write King's Lynn off yet in the Elite League either, despite our lowish position in the league table!
I think we can pull it back because we've done a lot more away meetings than we have done home meetings and we should have a lot of advantage with the bonus point situation, when we ride these teams back at our home track. And it looks like one of those seasons, when no team will finish with an intact home record. There's already been a few shocks.
But I think my best chance to win medals this year is in the Swedish league with Vargarna, we've got a really good team there this year and are one of the favourites to do well this season. In the side with me this year are Jason Lyons, Jimmy Nilsen, Niklas Karlsson and Jesper B Jensen and a couple of half handy reserves too. We beat Bysarna away from home last week 51-45 and I scored a five ride maximum.
I was in Poland for an away league match for Gorzow at Wroclaw, where we finally went down by just eight points.
I got a paid 12 points in that match, but in scoring 41 points to Wroclaw's 49 we aquitted ourselves really well because that's the best result an away side has had at Wroclaw this year. They are very strong this year and have Greg Hancock and Scott Nicholls riding for them this season, and they're only their second string riders!
I was talking to Tony Rickardsson on the way from Poland to Sweden this week and he told me his Swedish club side Masarna only got 25 points in total at Wroclaw, and Rickardsson got 10 of them!
May 9, 2001.
TO say the least I had a bit of a nightmare start to the 2001 World Championship Grand Prix season on a very wet Berlin track in Germany on Saturday night.
I felt my form had been coming good just at the right time. Before the first GP, I'd had a 15 point maximum for my Swedish club Vargarna on Tuesday night and had a decent meeting for the Gorzow club in Poland on Thursday.
Even after practice at the Friedrich Ludwig Jahn Stadium on Friday things were still looking good for me, then the rain came which changed everything round. The track was very narrow, wet and rough and normally these conditions wouldn't have bothered me at all, but for some reason on the day I just couldn't make anything happen.
It was very disappointing to me because I've been planning for this first Grand Prix since the last one of last year. So when the first GP ends in this fashion, it is very disappointing to say the least. But it's certainly not impossible to win the world championship from here, but it's going to be a tough old job after |I finished 16th with five points, but as they say anything that's easy is not worth having.
It's not just me either that didn't have a good meeting, three of the top four of us from the world championship last year are in a similar position. But the way I always look at it is I'm never beaten right up to the last and if I can get the consistency going like I had in the tailend of last season, when I was definitely as consistent as anyone over the last two or three GPs last year, and if I can get that happening from the second GP right up to the end there's no reason why I can't do it.
I only hope that at the next GP, which is the British at Cardiff Millennium Stadium on June 9, and the other new GP venue this year in Stockholm, that they spend a little bit more time trying to sort the track out and make them both a bit more raceable, rather than one that's just a riding around track.
The Berlin track was nine metres wide all the way round its 387 metres and very square.
Although I felt a little hurt on the night, I was in Poland the day afterwards and bounced right back and dropped only one point for Gorzow in a superb away win at |Zielona Gora, which is a local derby league match for us.
In Britain my club King's Lynn have had a mediocre start to the season, but basically we're a pretty solid sort of a team, but haven't all got it together yet I don't think.
In Sweden, Vargarna are looking very strong and I think we'll be able to win something for the club this season.