Australia star Jason Doyle joined an elite club of Speedway Grand Prix stars by winning his third GP in a row with a scintillating performance in Stockholm’s Friend Arena.
Doyle charged to victory in the last two rounds, in Poland and Germany, and he headed to the Swedish capital aiming to become only the third person to land three straight wins and he did it in style to overtake Greg Hancock at the top of the overall leaderboard.
Hancock was celebrating his 200th GP at the place he calls home for six months of the year and he was hoping to mark that incredible achievement by taking his 22nd GP victory, but he had a man on a mission in his way in the shape of Doyle and he was powerless to prevent him romping to another win.
The 30-year-old racer joins six-time world champion Tony Rickardsson and three-time winner Jason Crump in the hat-trick list, and he is now favourite to join them in the most prestigious club of them all – the world title winners.
It was a tense night in Sweden’s national stadium with Hancock desperate to extend his five-point lead while Doyle was chasing history. Add into the mix Tai Woffinden, who was attempting to claw his way back into the title hunt after a tough run of results, and Chris Holder – who is hot on the heels of the top three – and it was a pivotal night in the race for the medals.
Doyle and Hancock both started well and stayed neck and neck until their final qualifying race. Greg finished last in heat 19 and that meant that a Doyle win in heat 20 would see him draw level on points overall.
He made no mistake and then subsequently went on to win both his semi-final and the final and with GH missing out on a spot in the final himself, it meant Doyle landed a psychological blow in the race for gold.
Doyle didn’t have it easy though because birthday boy Chris Holder pushed him all the way in the final after recovering from a tough start to score 13 points and moved closer to Woffinden in third place overall.
Despite missing out on the win, Chris was happy to turn his night around; “The start of the meeting I was really slow, I didn’t feel so great and I was sat there looking at myself trying to turn it around, so I’m really pleased with how my night ended up.
“I changed bike after the first two and just tried to make it easier to ride, the first two races was really hard and it didn’t feel good to ride at all, it was really rough. As soon as we got it dialled in I had some good wins, I was on the pace and felt good again. When I won my first race we just left the bike alone and didn’t touch it again.
“The title is a bit out of reach at the moment but if I can keep chipping away at the points and give myself something to go for in the last couple of rounds I’ll be happy. The next two rounds are at two of my favourite tracks so I’m looking forward to them, hopefully I can give myself a good chance of getting in that top three.”
Hancock was understandably disappointed to lose his lead at the top but he knows there’s a long way to go yet, saying; “It didn’t go as planned and you’re always deflated when you don’t get in the final but I’ve got to just take it in my stride and move on to the next one now.
“We have a GP again next week and that’s at a track I really like so I look forward to it, it was a tough night but I’m still looking for my world title so it’s game on now.”
Doyle holds a five-point lead over Greg, with Woffinden a further 11 back, with the next event taking place at one of the best venues in world speedway – the Torun Motoarena in Poland.
It promises to be another action-packed night and at the end of it we may have another indication of just who is going to lift the world championship trophy…
Stockholm Speedway GP Result
1 – Jason Doyle (19 points)
2 – Chris Holder (13 points)
3 – Freddie Lindgren (14 points)
4 – Matej Zagar (15 points)
Series Top Eight
1 – Jason Doyle (123 points)
2 – Greg Hancock (118 points)
3 – Tai Woffinden (107 points)
4 – Bartosz Zmarzlik (100 points)
5 – Chris Holder (98 points)
6 – Piotr Pawlicki (81 points)
7 – Maciej Janowski (80 points)
8 – Antonio Lindback (74 points)