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07.30.14

Chris Holder Ready To Race Bydgoszcz

Speedway - Bydgoszcz, Poland

Former world champ Chris Holder is ready to shake off his race rust and fire Australia into the Monster Energy FIM Speedway World Cup Final in Bydgoszcz on Thursday night.

The Sydneysider skippers his country in the Race Off, which sees the Roos tackle USA, Sweden and the Czech Republic for the one remaining spot in Saturday’s showpiece.

Holder has been stranded on the sidelines since June 20 when he suffered a broken wrist and fractured neck in a Danish Super League meeting at Region Varde.

Despite undergoing surgery on the wrist and having intense physio on the neck, the 26-year-old wasn’t quite ready to take his place in Event 1 at King’s Lynn on Saturday, and was replaced by Cameron Woodward as hosts Team Great Britain triumphed.

But Holder has declared himself fit for tomorrow’s meeting and has been practising this week in a bid to blow off the cobwebs that come with taking an unwanted five weeks off.

He said: “I’m feeling good. At first my recovery was really slow, but in the last two weeks it has really kicked on. The wrist is feeling good and the neck thing has died off. It’s feeling stronger and stronger and I have no pain.

“I would have liked to have a ride on Saturday, but I hadn’t raced for five weeks and we had a good team on paper that could do a job.

"I didn’t want to take anyone’s place, do the first lap in practice and find out it wasn’t as good as I thought it was. I didn’t think it would be that way, but I just haven’t ridden enough lately.

“I’ll do as many laps as I can to get back into the swing of things and go for it in Bydgoszcz.

“I need to do some laps. I need to get back into it and drop the clutch. I haven’t done it for five weeks. I know that doesn’t sound long, but compared to the boys that are racing, that’s a long time and a lot of meetings I’ve missed out on. I need to be racing, but practice is the next best thing.”

Holder could only watch from the pits as Australia suffered an avalanche of bad luck. Woodward managed only one point on a night where he suffered an exclusion and engine failure.

Darcy Ward also packed up after forgetting to turn his fuel on following a last-minute bike change. But the incident that epitomised their night was the SGP star’s exclusion from heat 18 after he stopped when he thought he saw a red light on bend four, which turned out to be from a camera flash in the crowd.

“The red light that stopped Darcy in heat 18 was the icing on the cake,” Holder admitted. “But I think it was all over before then. We needed to pull it back before those last four heats.

“It didn’t work out, but going to the Race Off isn’t the end of the world. We wanted to win, but GB were on fire. When we had a bad race, they had a great race. They capitalised on it and made the most of it.

“The USA did what they did last year, but even better. They touched us up as well and I don’t think anyone had that one the cards. Greg (Hancock) led by example as he normally does and the rest of the team followed suit. They did really well.

“We’ve just got to slug it out on Thursday. The Race Off is going to be tough, but we all like that Bydgoszcz track. Darcy nearly won the GP there. We’ve all ridden on it. It should be good.”
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