Speedway

Crump to ride with dicky knee

Author: Mark Fattore

Posted:

World speedway champion Jason Crump's roller coaster season has again taken a turn for the worse, with news that the Australian will compete with a broken knee cap in round six of the title in Prague this Saturday. The injury, suffered in a domestic league crash in Poland last Sunday, is expected to restrict the 31-year-old's movements at the Marketa Stadium, just when he was looking to claw his way back up the world championship table from a lowly sixth position. Although Crump knows that some level of improvisation will be required at Marketa to work around his knee, he is still exuding confidence. The Northhampton resident top-scored for Australia in the final of the Speedway World Cup (SWC) in Poland last Saturday night, following on from a third place in round five of the world crown in Cardiff on June 30. "Cardiff was a good test for me," said Crump. "I had just two points from my first two rides so I had to pull my finger out for the remaining rides to get through to the final and I was glad to be back on the podium again. In Prague I will be aiming for an even higher place on the podium." The Czech GP will be held at the Marketa Stadium for the 11th successive year, a venue where Crump tasted success from 2002-2004, becoming the first rider to win the same GP three years in a row. Only one other rider has won three GPs at Marketa, the legendary Tony Rickardsson, but historical achievements hold very little currency for Crump. "I'm not taking any notice of that. Record books don't win races. It's all up to me on the night and hopefully I will have the form that will give me the victory. I've got to be on the ball the entire night, get my starts right and get the points during the heats and then get in the final and win." With six rounds remaining in this year's title, Crump is currently on 53 points, behind Nicki Pedersen (86), countryman Leigh Adams (75), Hans Andersen (67), Greg Hancock (67) and Briton Chris Harris (56), who was a popular winner at Cardiff. Adams, 36, is mounting a compelling case for a maiden world title, mixing consistency - once his Achilles heel in the top category - with the type of mesmerising form that has always been his stock-in-trade in the UK, Polish and Swedish leagues. Adams already has won masterful victory to his credit in 2007, at round three in Sweden, while Pedersen (two), Andreas Jonsson (one) and Harris (one) have been this year's other winners. Pedersen is still the one that everyone has to beat, although, like Adams, his record at Marketa is ordinary. But if he can re-ignite the form which humbled his rivals in the opening two rounds, nothing is beyond the unorthodox 2003 world champion. Other strong performers at Marketa in recent years include Jarek Hampel, Andersen, Bjarne Pedersen and Antonio Lindback. Hampel, the 2003 world junior champion, was a key figure in Poland's SWC victory, and he knows he must start to produce some strong results if he is to win automatic inclusion in the 2008 world title. The 25-year-old has finished fourth, third and second in the last three Czech GPs, while Andersen defeated Matej Zagar and Lindback in 2006. For live coverage of round six, visit www.speedwayworld.tv OVERALL STANDINGS (after round five of 11):
1 Nicki Pedersen, Denmark - 86
2 Leigh Adams, Australia - 75
3= Hans Andersen, Denmark - 67
3= Greg Hancock, America - 67
5 Chris Harris, Great Britain - 56
6 Jason Crump, Australia - 53
7 Andreas Jonsson, Sweden - 38
8 Tomasz Gollob, Poland - 36
9 Jarek Hampel, Poland - 34
10 Scott Nicholls, Great Britain - 30

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