The return of Chris Holder helped Australia seal their place in Saturday’s World Cup Final joining Poland, Great Britain and Denmark in the process. An 11 point haul from the Aussie captain including 3 race wins was enough on the night. In a very competitive meeting Sweden and Australia were neck and neck until the Australia quality proved too much for the Swedes. Sweden were leading after 12 heats but only 9 points in the last 8 heats was not enough compared to the Aussie 22 point haul..
Greg Hancock was in inspired once again riding a 6 ride maximum including a 6 point joker win in heat 11 but his team mates could not follow suit. Hancock picked up 21 out of USA 26 points on the night but Gino Manzares , Max Ruml and Ricky Wells could only scores 5 points between them. The Czechs proved key spoilers throughout the meetings taking key points off all the teams. Led by Ales Dryml who only scored 5 on the night, a young team rode well but were let down by too many third places. Vaclav Milik and Eduard Krcmar impressed scoring 9 and 8 on the night but experience in the field proved pivotal in key races.
The turning point of the meeting for the Swedes came in heat 15 were Eduard Krcmar was riding for double points for Czech Republic. Troy Batchelor made a beauty of a start off gate 3 and was away at the front but the battle was between Krcmar and Kim Nilsson who were battling for second. Nilsson rode a very wide line out of bend 4 pushing Krcmar up and into the air fence, luckily the Czech rider managed to stay on the bike. It wasn’t until the end of the race were the referee decided to make a decision on Nilsson’s move. With the referee outcome excluding Nilsson it meant the Sweden team went from being one point behind the Aussie to 3 with the momentum already changing in favor of the Australians.
The Swedish team were led by Grand Prix rider Andreas Jonsson who scored 9 on the night with Thomas H. Jonasson top scoring with 11. Oliver Berntzon rode very well on the night but could only score 8 with Kim Nilsson only managing 4. The missing Fredik Lindgren proved pivotal in the race off where his experience could have helped the Swedes to challenge the Australians until the end.
The Australian team were back to full strength with Holder joining Ward, Batchelor and Doyle where they all showed quality throughout and not one rider pulling away in the points. Ward, Bathcelor and Holder all scored on 11 with Doyle just one point behind on 10. The Australian victory sees them join Great Britain who won Semi Final 1, Denmark who won Semi Final 2 and Poland who are the hosts. Troy Batchelor who rides for Swindon Robins in the Elite League has called for more of the same from his teammates, with experience of the track behind them and a full fit Chris Holder they have a chance. Great Britain team manager Alun Rossiter suggested that Poland will have the advantage with track knowledge and preparation of the track to their advantage. No matter what we all think before all the teams have a chance of winning and have experienced riders to help the younger riders through. Prediction: Poland, Australia, Denmark, Great Britain with Poland only winning by 3 or 4 points.
Australia 43: Ward 11, Batchelor 11, Holder 11, Doyle 11
Sweden 32: Jonasson 11, Jonsson 9, Berntzon 8, Nilsson 4
USA 26: Hancock 21 (Maximum), Wells 4, Ruml 1, Manzares 0
Czech Republic 24: Milik 9, Krcmar 8, Dryml 5, Franc 2