Nicholls gets nod for Grand Prix
SPEEDWAY: Scott Nicholls received confirmation in Australia this morning that he has been named one of the six nominated riders for the 2003 Grand Prix speedway series.
By Elvin King
SCOTT Nicholls received confirmation in Australia this morning that he has been named one of the six nominated riders for the 2003 Grand Prix speedway series.
This is no great surprise as the 24-year-old Ipswich Witches rider finished runner-up in the Australian GP last month, and gradually improved in his first year of regular GP racing.
The other names announced by Benfield Sports International are Rune Holta (Norway), Nicki Pedersen (Denmark), Andreas Jonsson (Sweden), Todd Wiltshire (Australia) and Krzysztof Cegielski (Poland).
The choice of riders, agreed in a meeting between BSI and the FIM, has been relatively straightforward for the coming season.
Nicholls, who is currently on holiday in Australia, is one of the best up-and-coming talents in the world. He will be seeking more sponsorship after losing money in the 2002 series, and if the Elite League promoters put a ban on GP riders in 2003 at their annual conference later this month it will put Nicholls in a dilemma.
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The British champion has already stated that he cannot afford to be without regular British league racing.
Elite League promoters met in Rugby yesterday and it is likely that GP stars will remain part of the British scene – if at a reduced scale.
John Postlethwaite, chief executive of Benfield Sports International said: "We are fortunate that such an easy choice has resulted with representatives from six different countries coming into the series and I think every rider fully justifies their place in 2003.
"It's exciting that this new breed of young riders are pushing the established guys at the top of the table and this bodes well for the future health of the sport."
The final 2003 line-up also includes Australia's Jason Lyons, who takes the sixth qualifying place from the Grand Final following the automatic qualification of Lukas Dryml. This makes Australia the highest represented country (five) in the championship.