Speedway

Ryan Sullivan out of 2006 Individual Speedway World Championship

Author: Mark Fattore

Posted:

Australian Ryan Sullivan's uninterrupted eight-year run in the Individual Speedway World Championship is over, after the 30-year-old failed to earn a 'permanent' wildcard spot for the 2006 season. After an underwhelming 2005 which only yielded two semi-final appearances in eight rounds (he sat out round nine because of illness), Sullivan's only world championship reprieve wrested with a permanent wildcard position. However, it's now been announced by the FIM that Jaroslaw Hampel, Antonio LindbÌ_ck, Scott Nicholls, Lee Richardson, Niels-Kristian Iversen, Piotr Protasiewicz and Matej Zagar will complete the 15-rider full-time roster in 2006, with the field at each round to be completed by a stand-alone wildcard. The automatic qualifiers for 2006, made up of riders who finished first to eighth in 2005, are Tony Rickardsson, Australians Jason Crump and Leigh Adams, Nicki Pedersen, Greg Hancock, Bjarne Pedersen, Tomasz Gollob and Andreas Jonsson. Sullivan, who was born in Melbourne, will be joined on the sidelines next year by two other 2005 world championship incumbents ‰ÛÒ Dane Hans Andersen and Pole Tomasz Chrzanowski. The latter's demotion was expected after a below-par 15th position, while Andersen, a GP winner in 2004, will feel slighted after finishing in 12th ‰ÛÒ one position better than Richardson, who has been retained. The new riders in 2005 are Zagar, Protasiewicz and Iversen. Of the trio, Protasiewicz is the only non-rookie, having completed his first campaign in 2001. Sullivan began his world championship career in 1998, and finished as the leading Australian in seventh position. He won the first of four GPs in 2002 en route to his best championship finish ‰ÛÒ third behind Rickardsson and countryman Crump. The UK-based rider remains one of only five riders to have won successive GPs since the multi-round structure was adopted in 1995. With the demise of Sullivan, Australia's full-time representation in the world title has now been whittled back to two from a peak of five in 2003. In 2006, Sweden and Denmark will both have three riders in the championship, followed by Australia (two), Great Britain (two), Poland (two), America (one) and Slovenia (one).

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