Rickardsson wins British Speedway GP

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Five time world champion Tony Rickardsson of Sweden won the British Speedway Grand Prix at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:52 IST
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Five-time world champion Tony Rickardsson of Sweden won the British Speedway Grand Prix at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday. Rickardsson wore the series leader's yellow race jacket for the night, starting with an 11 point lead over reigning World Champion Jason Crump of Australia. Grand Prix series regulars, Scott Nicholls and Lee Richardson alongside wild-card entry David Norris, headed the local British challenge. Controversial heats The semifinals and final of Grand Prix events are usually the highlights, but on this occasion the heats were providing entertainment and controversy. Jason Crump was disqualified in his third heat after he was adjudged to have caught Hans Andersen. The Australian was furious, especially as replays appeared to show there had been no contact between the two riders. With just two points from two rides, Crump was looking in danger of not making it to the last eight. But things simply got worse for the reigning World Champion, as he was excluded from his next heat, heat ten, after sliding on the first corner. Spectacular crash The drama didn't stop there. In the following heat Bjarne Pedersen suffered a spectacular crash. Fortunately he managed to walk way from it unscathed and went on to win the rerun. In heat 16 there was another pile-up involving Crump that led to his exclusion from his final heat. That meant he was out of the grand prix, without even making the semi-finals. Nicki Pedersen, who started the day in third place in the overall standings, also failed to make it to the last eight. The first semifinal was won comfortably by Bjarne Pedersen from gate two, obviously suffering no ill effects from his earlier crash. Hans Andersen came second to take the other final place. Dramatic semifinal The second semi was more dramatic. British rider Scott Nicholls was excluded after falling on lap three. On the rerun, Tomasz Gollob pulled out on lap two, having been injured in Nicholls' fall. Jaroslaw Hampel eventually went on to win the race, and along with Rickardsson qualified for the final. The start was dramatic with Rickardsson scraping the outer wall and coming close to knocking himself out of the race. Holding on But the Swede held on to take the full 25 points with Hampel second, and Bjarne Pedersen and Andersen third and fourth respectively. That results means Rickardsson now holds 95 points after round four of nine in the championship. That's 32 points ahead of his nearest rival, Crump, with Nicki Pedersen third a further 11 points adrift of the leader. The Swedish rider now looks favourite to take Crump's crown for his sixth world championship title. (AP)

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