||Last Updated: Jul 17th, 2014 - 18:24:19
Polish star Jaroslaw Hampel hailed his side for holding their nerve as they retained the FIM PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna Speedway World Cup in Vojens on Sunday afternoon.
SWC legend Tomasz Gollob lifted the Ove Fundin Trophy for the fourth time after his side bagged 44 points to pip Denmark, who scored 39, to the gold. Sweden claimed the bronze with 35 points after edging Team Great Britain off the podium by two points in a last-race decider. The Poles were tipped as huge favourites going into the competition, but Denmark had no intention of going down without a scrap on home shale. The two sides traded the lead as the meeting headed to its climax and were level at 39 points apiece with two races left.
But World Championship challengers Jaroslaw Hampel and Tomasz Gollob saw their team home with second and first places respectively, while Danish duo Hans Andersen and Kenneth Bjerre both finished last. With a crippling weight of expectation on Poland’s shoulders, Hampel was ecstatic his team stood the heat and won the nation’s first world team title on foreign soil since 1996.
He said: “There was a good team spirit and we proved we could win everywhere and be world champions. There was a lot of pressure and we felt that. It’s always very hard to race under pressure. But kept our nerves and tried to concentrate heat by heat. Everything has finished well for us.”
Hampel and his side trailed the Danes by four points after five races. This was after Gollob was controversially excluded from heat three by referee Craig Ackroyd, when he collided with Danish star Niels Kristian Iversen on the first turn. The Poles followed this up with two last places, but they turned their fortunes around by winning four of their next six races and ending their night with a barnstorming display.
Leszno and Vetlanda man Hampel added: “That was a really hard job today. It was hard from the beginning.We were down on points and we had some trouble, but we believed we could get victory from the beginning. We tried to fight on the track all the time and in all the heats.”
Having won their 2005, 2007 and 2009 SWC gold medals on Polish soil, Hampel was delighted his side showed their class at Vojens. He added: “That was a good day for us because everything wasn’t so easy. Denmark knew the track a little bit more and which lines were best.
“We had some problems with the Danish guys because they know where is best to race here. It wasn’t so easy because they were good from the gates, but we were fast and trying everything to keep the speed in the bikes. We found some good lines on the track; spoke with each other in the pits, and worked together to get this result.”
Team Great Britain narrowly lost a tense battle for the bronze medal in the closing stages, mainly thanks to a final flourish from Sweden’s Brazilian-born star Antonio Lindback. With the Lions four points ahead going into the final three races, Lindback romped to back-to-back wins in heats 23 and 24. This was before his team mate Andreas Jonsson beat Team GB’s Scott Nicholls to second place in the final race to wrap up third spot.
1 Fredrik Lindgren (1-2-0-0-T) 3
2 Jonas Davidsson (3-0-2-2-0) 7
3 Antonio Lindback (3-1-0-0-3-3) 10
4 Magnus Zetterstrom (2-0-0) 2
5 Andreas Jonsson (2-3-2-4 ^-0-2) 13
Team Manager: Peter Jansson
1 Rune Holta (2-3-3-X-2) 10
2 Jaroslaw Hampel (2-3-3-1-2) 11
3 Tomasz Gollob (X-3-3-3-3) 12
4 Adrian Miedzinski (0-1-2-X-2) 5
5 Janus Kolodziej (0-R-2-3-1) 6
Team Manager: Marek Cieslak
1 Kenneth Bjerre (3-2-1-3-0) 9
2 Nicolai Klindt (1-1-1-2-1) 6
3 Niels Kristian Iversen (2-X-2-3-2) 9
4 Bjarne Pedersen (3-3-0-2-1) 9
5 Hans Andersen (1-2-1-2-0) 6
Team Manager: Jan Staechmann
GREAT BRITAIN (YELLOW)
1 Chris Harris (0-2-3-X ^-3-3) 11
2 Tai Woffinden (R-2-3-1-0) 6
3 Simon Stead (1-1-0) 2
4 Scott Nicholls (1-1-1-1-1) 5
5 Lee Richardson (3-0-1-1-3-1) 9
Team Manager: Rob Lyon
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