A gallant Team Australia has finished fourth in the 2023 Speedway World Cup (SWC) final in Poland, with the July 29 decider won by the host nation ahead of Great Britain and Denmark.
Despite winning two of the last five heats, the Aussie quintet of Jason Doyle, Max Fricke, Jack Holder, Jaimon Lidsey and Chris Holder just fell short of dislodging Denmark from the final spot on the podium.
The Aussies finished on 27 points, two behind Denmark, while Poland’s ninth win in the SWC format came with a 33 point haul. Great Britain completed proceedings on 31 points as the powerhouses of world speedway battled it out for SWC supremacy for the first time since 2017.
After keeping its powder dry in the first block of heats, Australia came out swinging in the middle stages of the SWC final, with Jack Holder doing most of the heavy lifting after stirring victories in heats 10 and 11 – the second as a tactical substitute for Lidsey.
Doyle’s second place in heat 12 was also invaluable as the Aussies moved into third, 4pts behind Poland –which had just moved into the overall lead for the first time over fast-starting Great Britain. But there was more high drama to come.
Doyle won again in heat 14, but the next outing was a hammer blow for Australia – which had booked the final spot in the SWC final after powering through the race-off the day before – when Jack Holder high-sided after contact with Dane Rasmus Jensen. A battered Jack was unable to make the restart, and was replaced by his older brother, Chris, who finished third.
The CBS Bins-sponsored Australia rallied at the death knell, but victories for Doyle (heat 17) and Fricke (heat 20) weren’t enough to dislodge Denmark from third place.
“It’s not looking good for Jack (Holder). He’s complaining of a wrist injury. All the best for him. He flew through the air and landed on his wrist, so it’s not looking good,” Jason Doyle said. “It was so close all night and Jack was a massive key. We knew that it was going to be difficult to get back into the game. But that’s speedway! What a great night of racing, very close. Over the last couple of days, I have really enjoyed riding for Team Australia. It is a great week for our sport and our country. Not the result we wanted, but fair play to Poland. What a great night!”
Meanwhile, Poland and Great Britain were back on even terms after 16 heats, setting up a crackerjack final stanza. But a more consistent run home for Poland – 4-1-2-2 results against 2-3-3-3 for Great Britain – saw them take a grip on the trophy.
“It feels fantastic – in front of my home crowd,” Polish captain Maciej Janowski said of hos countries win. “I was screaming. I couldn’t hear my brain when I crossed the finish line. I just looked at the fans and they were going crazy. I exploded also, so that was amazing. “I am proud of my team, proud of the fans and proud of everybody who was around us.”
Poland is now five wins ahead of Denmark (four) on the SWC honour board, followed by Sweden (three) and Australia (two) – those victories coming in 2001 and 2002.
2023 Monster Energy FIM Speedway World Cup results
1 Poland 33 Points
Bartosz Zmarzlik 11,
Patryk Dudek 6,
Maciej Janowski 7,
Dominik Kubera 9,
Janusz Kolodziej 0
2 Great Britain 31 Points
Robert Lambert 12,
Tai Woffinden 7,
Adam Ellis 3,
Dan Bewley 9
3 Denmark 29 Points
Leon Madsen 9,
Rasmus Jensen 13,
Mikkel Michelsen 2,
Nicki Pedersen 0,
Anders Thomsen 5
4 Australia 27 Points
Max Fricke 7,
Jack Holder 8,
Jason Doyle 10,
Jaimon Lidsey 1,
Chris Holder 1