Speedway Grand Prix racing came to Slovenia for the first time on Saturday, July 22, and produced one of the most exciting finishes in the history of the competition, as Australian Ryan Sullivan won his second successive Grand Prix.
But Poland’s Tomasz Gollob was so close behind that referee Marek Wojaczek used television replays to determine the winner.
”I knew Tomasz was close, I could hear him,” said Sullivan, ”but I was never in any doubt that I had eaten him to the line. I thought after winning at Cardiff that it might open the door for me and it has. But now I am the championship leader for the first time and the pressure will be on me in Stockholm in two weeks time.”
It was a wonderful result for Sullivan in more ways than one. Defending World Champion Tony Rickardsson, who was tied at the top of the table with Sullivan before the start, went out at the semi-final stage and is now 11 points behind him. Rickardsson looked strangely out of sorts all weekend and suffered a number of race defeats before eventually being eliminated.
Australia’s Jason Crump had another frustrating evening, storming through to the semis, only to be knocked out for touching the tapes. Crump knows that there are still six rounds to go but he desperately wants to start reaching finals again.
The meeting was staged in searing temperatures, which during the afternoon reached 38 degreees centigrade.
”It was very, very hot,” admitted Britain’s Mark Loram, who capped a fine evening’s work by taking third place on the rostrum.
The biggest surprise of the night was Sweden’s Andreas Jonsson who reached his first Final with a fabulous performance.
Gollob has now moved up to third in the overall standings on 63 points, with Leigh Adams on 55 and Crump and Mikael Karlsson a further point adrift.
Americans Greg Hancock and Billy Hamill continued to struggle in the GP series with Hancock running in ninth position and Hamill two places behing him. Still with six rounds to go it has become a battle for the two Americans to survive in the top ten to transfer automatically into next years GP series.
1. Ryan Sullivan
2. Tomasz Gollob
3. Mark Loram
4. Andreas Jonsson
5. Tony Rickardsson
6. Leigh Adams
7. Jason Crump
8. Mikael Karlsson
9. Greg Hancock
10. Krzysztof Cegielski