Speedway

Adams’ fight to gather momentum in Poland

Author: Mark Fattore

Posted:

The epicentre of speedway, Poland, will host one of the most eagerly anticipated world title rounds in recent memory on Saturday night, as Australian Leigh Adams continues his fight to rein in Nicki Pedersen's 21-point lead. Not since Jason Crump wrapped up his first world title in the final GP of 2004 has the expectation been so high before an event and, fittingly, it will take place in front of the most fervent speedway supporters on the planet. Although the partisan crowd will undoubtedly be cheering on local hero Tomasz Gollob as he strives for a fifth victory at the Polonia Stadium in Bydgoszcz, it will also be keeping a close eye on the performances of Adams and Pedersen, who remain the only two riders with genuine claims on the world title. Adams' recent form has bordered on perfection. Since he wrapped up a second successive GP in Latvia on August 25, he has competed in an amazing nine domestic league meetings in 11 days, winning 95 percent of his races. In such a fertile climate, the Mildura rider is confident that he can finally put a chequered past at the Polonia Stadium behind him. "I feel excellent to be honest. We are in the play offs in the UK, Poland and Sweden and my Grand Prix form has never been better, so with that comes a degree of contentment," said Adams. "I feel as though I've never really had much luck at Bydgoszcz, and in some ways it's been my fault and sometimes just the wrong bike setup. "The track can be so different from practice to the race that many riders have been caught out. They love a local winner there and that's fair enough, but I think the rest of us are a little more in tune with what's happening now and we should be okay this time around." After a couple of lean - and ultimately wasted -- years in the world speedway title, Adams has put down his resurgence in 2007 to a restoration of faith - particularly in his equipment. "I've always believed in my ability, but at various times I've had limited faith in my equipment," admits Adams. "Now that I have overcome that doubt about my bikes, my belief in myself has risen further and that is a great way to feel. You can rest assured that come Saturday night I will be pumped and my gut tells me it's going to be a good one." Although his confidence is sky high, Adams is under no illusions about the job in front of him over the final three rounds. "Nicki is in the box seat and he set this up in the early rounds, but I'm really strong at the moment and it'd be a major surprise if he wasn't considering me a threat," said Adams. "If I can win one of the last three rounds and make the final in the other two, then he (Nicki) will have had to ride really well to hold me off." The task for Adams will now be to match the rhetoric with reality on Saturday night, which Pedersen knows only too well. The Dane can also look back with comfort on last year's win in Bydgoszcz; the first non-Pole to prevail since Crump in 2001. Crump, the reigning world champion, would have again been one of the favourites at the 348-metre circuit if not for aggravating his previously injured left knee in the UK last week, which forced him to withdraw from the prestigious Elite League Riders' Championship. It was the continuation of Crump's very own annus horribillis, with his title defence never really getting off the ground. "The race is on for me to be fit again," said Crump. "I am having daily treatment to my knee so I should be in reasonable shape but not at full fitness unfortunately. In real terms, the doctors are saying I need a few months to fully recover so that will have to come at the end of the season. "Bydgoszcz is a fast track and I have won there before, so my main focus will be on collecting points and getting to the final. And if I get the right break in the final, there is no reason why I could not win. We will just have to wait and see how I perform on the night. "There are three GPs left and it would take an absolute miracle for me to retain my world championship, but I am not conceding yet. There are still plenty of points available and anything can happen." Although Gollob is the undisputed doyen at Bydgoszcz, Crump is not too far behind, having made it into four finals since his victory in 2001. Last year was the first time he missed out, with Pedersen going on to win from Greg Hancock, Gollob and another Pole, Wieslaw Jagus. Crump is currently fourth in the standings on 89pts, in a tight battle for the final podium spot with Dane Hans Andersen (92pts) and Hancock (81pts). All the action from Polonia Stadium can be followed live on www.speedwayworld.tv Main Photo: Leigh Adams at the head of the field
Credit: Mike Patrick

OVERALL STANDINGS (after round eight of 11):
1 Nicki Pedersen, Denmark - 145
2 Leigh Adams, Australia - 124
3 Hans Andersen, Denmark - 92
4 Jason Crump, Australia - 89
5 Greg Hancock, America - 81
6 Chris Harris, Great Britain - 74
7 Tomasz Gollob, Poland - 70
8 Scott Nicholls, Great Britain - 63
9 Wieslaw Jagus, Poland - 61
10 Rune Holta, Poland - 55

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