Speedway

Adams prepared to shoulder the pain

Author: Mark Fattore

Posted:

Leigh Adams will endure the pain of an injured shoulder to keep his faint world speedway title hopes alive at the penultimate round in Slovenia this Saturday night. The Australian, who has managed to remain relatively injury-free during his glittering career, crashed heavily at a UK domestic league meeting in Reading on September 14, dislocating his shoulder as well as suffering extensive abrasions and bruising. The nasty crash could not have come at a worse time for Adams, who trails the talented Nicki Pedersen by 31pts with just two rounds remaining in the world title, and really needed to be in peak condition at the Matije Gubca Stadium to maintain pressure on the Dane. Despite the unfortunate turn of events, Adams remains philosophical about his predicament. "I have been very fortunate throughout my career with injuries so I have to take this latest obstacle in my stride," he said. "My shoulder is sore, but not broken so that will be okay and the grazes will be uncomfortable, but no big deal. I want to finish the season the way it has gone; another win would be real nice." With Adams certain to compete with some level of discomfort, Pedersen is now virtually assured of wrapping up the crown in Slovenia, where he won last year's GP ahead of Australian Jason Crump, Tomasz Gollob and Tony Rickardsson. Pedersen has been a wrecking ball all year, claiming the honours in 41 of the 61 races he has contested, for a phenomenal winning average of 67 percent. Only Swede Tony Rickardsson can boast a comparable recent record when he dominated the 2005 season en route to his sixth world title. However, no other rider has got close to Pedersen's benchmark in 2007, and his sublime form should be rewarded with a second world championship, which would make him the fourth Dane to win more than one title after Ole Olsen, Erik Gundersen and Hans Nielsen. Meanwhile, the arm wrestle for the final podium spot will continue in earnest at Krsko, with Crump desperate for an opening that will solidify his hold on third position ahead of Hans Andersen, the in-form Tomasz Gollob and American Greg Hancock. Of course, winning is the best way to fend of his challengers, and Crump certainly doesn't want to finish the year without a victory, which would be his first win-less season since way back in 1999. "Mathematically I cannot be world champion this year," said Crump. "I have accepted that and already plans are in place for next year's championship, but right now my focus is on coming out with all guns blazing this Saturday night. "Adams is still within reach as far as points go, but Gollob is also coming up behind me fast so I need to be on my toes. I need to win races, win the Grand Prix and then go to the final round in Germany full of confidence with the intention of bringing that $100,000 home with me." The staggering $US100,000 prize purse, which is being billed as "the richest minute in motorsport", is on offer to celebrate the 100th event since the world title adopted a GP-style format in 1995. Five GPs have been held at Krsko since 2002, with mercurial Australian Ryan Sullivan winning the first in typically blazing style, followed by Adams the following year. Since then, Adams' form has tapered off, while Crump has made the last two finals. All the action from Slovenia can be followed live on the internet at www.speedwayworld.tv OVERALL STANDINGS (after round nine of 11):
1 Nicki Pedersen, Denmark - 164
2 Leigh Adams, Australia - 133
3 Jason Crump, Australia - 96
4 Hans Andersen, Denmark - 95
5 Tomasz Gollob, Poland - 91
6 Greg Hancock, America - 86
7 Chris Harris, Great Britain - 79
8 Scott Nicholls, Great Britain - 67
9 Wieslaw Jagus, Poland - 66
10 Rune Holta, Poland - 65

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