Witches duo put bust-up behind them

SWEDISH team loyalty proved stronger than English team loyalty in the final dramatic heat of an enthralling speedway world cup.Hans Andersen appeared to help his Swedish League Luxo Stars team-mate Peter Karlsson through down the back straight in a last heat decider that started with Team Great Britain and holders Sweden level on 46 points.

By Elvin King

SWEDISH team loyalty proved stronger than English team loyalty in the final dramatic heat of an enthralling speedway world cup.

Hans Andersen appeared to help his Swedish League Luxo Stars team-mate Peter Karlsson through down the back straight in a last heat decider that started with Team Great Britain and holders Sweden level on 46 points.

Andersen rides with Scott Nicholls in the Ipswich Evening Star Witches side - but the Dane looked as though he wanted to deny the British captain a so-vital race victory.

A packed Wimborne Road Stadium, Poole, were left stunned as their home country heroes were left to reflect on what might have been.

Andersen was none too convincing today when he tried to explain his actions after saying immediately after the meeting that he did not look across to see Karlsson coming up outside him as he appeared to slow down his throttle.

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Today he said: “I was on a machine that was not working right, and not only Peter got past but Scott as well. The bike was spinning and I was making no progress. I don't think it is fair to hold me up as the British scapegoat.

“I have every respect for Scott and will be doing my best for the Witches tonight. Things soon blow over as far as I am concerned.

“I've taken plenty of stick in my time and more will not bother me.”

Andersen and Nicholls ride for Ipswich tonight in a Sky Bet Elite League meeting at Eastbourne and Nicholls confirmed that there would be no animosity.

“At the end of the day Hans did what he did and for the reasons he knows,” Nicholls said.

“I knew Karlsson would be quick in my last ride and quite honestly I am more sick about stopping in my fourth ride because of a red light in the crowd that I saw, than the last heat.

“We can look back on so many things that cost us.”

“I am not going to worry about my relationship with Hans. It has been fine between us for the last few weeks.”

Like every British fan at Poole, Nicholls' first thoughts were to slam Andersen for his 'gamesmanship'.

“What Hans did was total bull,” Nicholls fumed straight afterwards.

“How much did he get paid to do that? I hope it was worth it to him, because Hans will be pleased to know it has cost us the world title.”

Watching from the TV studio, Witches' rider manager Chris Louis also did not hold back in the

aftermath of another gripping night of full throttle racing.

“Hans shouldn't have done what he did. He said he didn't see Karlsson, but he looked twice. If he didn't see him after that, he needs glasses and perhaps shouldn't be riding.”

For Nicholls it was a mixed evening. After starting with a win, he then stopped on lap three of his fourth ride when comfortably in third place after seeing a red light ahead of him. This appeared to be a video or flash camera in the crowd - and cost his country dearly.

Sweden, led by Karlsson and Tony Rickardsson were good value with Great Britain giving their best

performance in this competition since they finished second in 2000.

Poland were never in the hunt with Gollob failing to score, while Denmark lost their way mid-

meeting, with world champion Nicki Pedersen very disappointing for the young Danes.

Sweden 49: Peter Karlsson 12, Tony Rickardsson 12, Mikael Max 9, Antonio Lindback 9, Andreas Jonsson 7.

Great Britain 48: Mark Loram 12, Lee Richardson 10, David Norris 9, Gary Havelock 9, Scott Nicholls 8.

Denmark 33: Hans Andersen 12, Bjarne Pedersen 8, Niels-Kristian Iversen 5, Kenneth Bjerre 4, Nicki Pedersen 4.

Poland 21: Jariusz Kolodziej 10, Marcin Rempala 7, Jarek Hampel 4, Krzystof Kasprzak 0, Tomasz Gollob 0.

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