Brits KO'd from World Cup finals
GREAT Britain were knocked out of the World Cup and failed to make the final, despite a brave effort in Leszno.Instead it was Australia and Sweden who booked their places in Saturday night's final.
GREAT Britain were knocked out of the World Cup and failed to make the final, despite a brave effort in Leszno.
Instead it was Australia and Sweden who booked their places in Saturday night's final.
It was a case of so near yet so far for Rob Lyon's brave charges, who led Sweden for most of the meeting and were only denied runners-up spot in a dramatic, and briefly baffling, finish that saw Heat 22 re-run because of an error over the starting positions.
The Aussies, runners-up to Poland at Peterborough on Monday night, quickly showed their hand by supplying six of the first seven race winners, with Jason Crump cleverly repassing Fredrik Lindgren in Heat 6, and they opened up a sizeable cushion on the other three teams.
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With Chris Holder and Davey Watt rising to the occasion, they took a firm grip on proceedings and were never in any danger of being pegged back.
The battle behind them turned into a rousing three-way fight for the right to join Russia, Poland and the Aussies in Saturday's Final at Leszno.
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Sweden, who had opened the night with two last places, Denmark and Great Britain were all locked together on 12 points after Heat 10, with Australia clear on 24.
When Lee Richardson won Heat 11 for double points, it gave Britain some daylight on the two Scandinavians, with SWC holders Denmark, handicapped by the double setback of the injured Nicki Pedersen being absent and Hans Andersen carrying a hand injury, struggling to stay the pace.
Britain, who had run last places in Heats 3, 4, 5 and 6, owed much to the brilliant Richardson, who had replaced Edward Kennett in the line-up, and the plucky Chris Harris.
Harris had to work hard to keep David Ruud behind him in Heat 14, but Denmark made up some lost ground when Event One hero Kenneth Bjerre claimed six points for a joker win in Heat 16, and going into the final round of five races, Britain had 29 and both Sweden and Denmark were on 25.
Heat 22 caused a stir when Antonio Lindback became the first rider to beat the imperious Crump, with Tai Woffinden stuck at the back.
But the riders had started from the wrong gate positions, and after a lengthy discussion between referee Istvan Darago, race director Ole Olsen and the teams, the heat was re-run.
Impressively the improving Lindback did the business again to keep Crump behind him, but Woffinden this time bagged third place to keep Britain five ahead of both Sweden and Denmark.
Heat 23 then became decisive when Sweden threw skipper Andreas Jonsson (pictured) in as a joker.
Britain's Daniel King rode shoulder-to-shoulder with Jonsson down the back straight, but he was then pushed wide and relegated to the back.
It proved a terminal blow for GB with Jonsson's win overturning their advantage - Sweden now led by a single point - and though Woffinden was awarded third place in Heat 24 when Adam Shields crashed on the last two turns and forced the Brit to lay his machine down, the Swedes led by two ahead of the final race.
Lindback came in as a tactical substitute to finish second behind Leigh Adams and gleefully book Sweden's passage into the final, with Harris trapped at the back for the crestfallen Brits.
Sweden skipper Jonsson said: “I am very proud of the team. We started with two zeros which is really hard to come back from, but we did it.
“Most of the team swapped bikes and put a lot of effort in and it paid off. I don't think we will practice tomorrow, it has been really hot and we're not used to it! I think we take it easy before Saturday's Final.”
AUSTRALIA 51: Jason Crump 14, Chris Holder 11, Leigh Adams 11, Davey Watt 11, Adam Shields 4.
SWEDEN 39: Andreas Jonsson 16, Antonio Lindback 10, Fredrik Lindgren 8, Jonas Davidsson 3, David Ruud 2.
GREAT BRITAIN 35: Lee Richardson 17, Chris Harris 9, Tai Woffinden 8, Daniel King 1, Lewis Bridger 0.
DENMARK 34: Kenneth Bjerre 17, Nicolai Klindt 6, Patrick Hougaard 6, Niels-Kristian Iversen 4, Hans Andersen 1.