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Images from Round 8 of the 2017 Speedway Grand Prix series


Sep 102017

It’s been a long, tough slog for Aussie shredder Chris Holder this season but he came back with a bang in a sodden German Speedway Grand Prix

48 hours of solid rain had put the event at risk and the track was swamped out just hours before the start, but the weather relented and the track staff worked tirelessly to make sure we got a race – and it was a brutal battle.

Teterow’s Bergring Arena may not be the biggest stadia on the tour but it creates an electric atmosphere and thousands of passionate German fans descended to get a glimpse of the best speedway racers in the world.

The conditions were tough and the racing even tougher but Holder made it look easy with his best performance of the season, scoring a season-high 14 points and taking fourth place on the night.

It was a night for making good starts and getting some fresh air and CH opened up with three straight wins to give him an instant confidence boost, and when he qualified on 12 points and then made the Final with a clever ride in the Semi it looked as if he could make his first podium of the year.

A place on the steps wasn’t to be as he got bogged down in the unfavourable outside gate but his performance was a timely reminder of just how good he can be when he’s on song. Not many racers have Chris’ ability and when his equipment matches his talent, he’s a force to be reckoned with.

The race itself was won by Slovenian veteran Matej Zagar, with Martin Vaculik in second and series leader Jason Doyle back in third place. It was a big night for Doyle as he stole a march on all of his Championship rivals, including Patryk Dudek and Tai Woffinden.

Dudek started on fire but tailed off slightly to finish his night on 11 points (Doyle got 17) while Woffinden suffered his toughest night since 2010 and ended on five.

Doyle now leads the series by 10 points and with three rounds to go he’s a hot favourite to take his first World Title, but anything can happen and our boys aren’t giving up.

First, we caught up with Holder as he finally afforded himself a smile;


“It was much better, I’m a little bit bummed that I didn’t get in the top three but I got double figure points again and I made the Final so it was much better, I’ll be pretty happy when I look back tomorrow.

“I’ve had a bit of a break the last couple of weeks because to be honest this season has been a never ending circle of crap and I needed a break from it. It was the first time we’ve used this engine today and we hardly changed anything with the bikes all night, the track was tricky but I wasn’t having any problems with it and that’s good. I felt sweet but the Final is a tough race and I needed to do something on the first lap really but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

“I did a practice start on one bike and then jumped off and tried another one and as soon as I dropped the clutch it took off and I smiled to myself and went back to the boys and said ‘yep, this one’. I got a couple of wins there and that was a good start, it’s good for your confidence.

“I got a lot of point and made the final so now I’m looking forward to the next one. We know we’ve got something that works pretty good so now I’ll do some practice and learn a bit more about the engine, learn what to do and what changes to make, and then we’ll be set for the last three.”


Here’s what Patryk had to say:

“I feel okay, I gave 100% in every race but today was mainly about the start and in my Semi Final I was a little bit slow into the corner. Zagar came out wide with me and I was a little bit slow and I couldn’t pass him, everything was not bad but could be better.

“I had some problems making a good start, I don’t know why, the first heats were good but later on not as good. I got 11 points which is okay so I am happy.

“I have never ridden in Stockholm or Melbourne but the tracks are the same as Warsaw and Cardiff so I know more about them now. Material is maybe a little bit different but I have some good results on these tracks and I like them so I am not worried. We have three rounds to go and anything can happen so we will see, I will just keep trying to score points and at the end of the season we will see where that takes me.”


And finally, Woffinden:

“This is the joys of world championship speedway! I made a wrong decision on which bike to ride today, it’s easy to say afterwards but I rode the same bike as I rode last time in Gorzow and it wasn’t the right track to use that engine at. I was chasing power all night really and never got it.

“It wasn’t a great advert for the sport, the only time anyone passed anyone was when somebody made a mistake. I have three of my favourite tracks coming up, Stockholm, Torun and Melbourne, and I’ve won in Stockholm before and it’s a great race track – and when I say that I mean we can actually race on it. Tonight there was no chance because the track was so heavy and you couldn’t race at all, but there you can.

“It’s never easy to take a night like this on the chin, I’m racing for a world championship and I only got five points. The last time I did that was in 2010! As a whole, it was a very bad performance tonight but it’s not the end of the championship at all.”