It all goes wrong for Nicholls
SCOTT Nicholls suffered a nightmare evening in the Swedish speedway GP on Saturday, returning home from Avesta with just two points.The Ipswich Witches captain's night was all over after just two races, after he was excluded in his first for touching the tapes in heat three and then finishing third three heats later and being eliminated.
By Mike Bacon
SCOTT Nicholls suffered a nightmare evening in the Swedish GP on Saturday, returning home from Avesta with just two points.
The Ipswich Witches captain's night was all over after just two races, after he was excluded in his first for touching the tapes in heat three and then finishing third three heats later and being eliminated.
It was a hugely disappointing result for the British champion, who lost out for second place by inches to Ronni Pedersen in heat six, his eliminator heat.
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"I thought I'd turned the corner a bit of late," Nicholls said last night.
"It is a big blow for me and the tapes exclusion in my first race was the most frustrating.
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"The annoying thing is I felt really fast and had a good practice. If I could just have got through the early heats, I am not saying I would have won, but I'm sure I would have done well.
"If I had felt rubbish all night then so be it, but I didn't."
With two GPs gone Nicholls now has just eight points and knows he will have to begin to make some serious strides in the competition if he is to gain a top-10 place and guaranteed entry to next year's series.
For Australian Ryan Sullivan, however, it was a night to remember. Just a month after breaking his collarbone in a Swedish Elite League match, the Peterborough star was in inspirational form and he won the final with Lukas Dryml second and Leigh Adams third.
In front of 15,000 people Sullivan said afterwards: "I was in considerable pain and obviously my collarbone is not healed, but I had to put that to the back of my mind.
"The injury is not feeling too bad now and let's just say the frustration of the past few weeks all came out tonight.
"It was all a bit desperate by me, to be honest, as I knew I had to do well here if I was going to keep my championship hopes alive."
Sullivan had to make two starts in the final. The first attempt to run the race was stopped when Dryml and Adams piled into the safety fence after Greg Hancock came hard under Adams, just clipping his leg with his mudguard.
Hancock, much to his annoyance, was excluded, and in the re-run Sullivan gated to victory.
Current world champion Tony Rickardsson failed to make the final after losing out to Dryml in an exciting semi-final and it is now those two who lead the standings.
For Nicholls and fellow Brit Lee Richardson, who only netted one point, it was a poor night. They will be hoping for much better performances in the British GP at the Millennium Stadium in two weeks' time.