Former world champion Chris Holder may have topped the FIM Speedway GP of Great Britain – Cardiff podium in 2010 and 2012, but the Aussie believes it should have been three wins in a row.
The 2012 Speedway GP world champion heads back to Principality Stadium as a special guest this Saturday as the series celebrates its 20th visit to the Welsh capital with an epic weekend of entertainment on and off the track, including the FIM SGP2 of Great Britain for the sport’s under-21 stars on Sunday.
Holder stormed to his first Speedway GP victory in the 10th Cardiff event in 2012, before repeating the feat two years later on his way to the world title.
But the Sydneysider is gutted not to have a Cardiff treble to his name. “I should have won it in 2011,” he said. “I made the start in the final. I remember gate one being terrible. I was off gate two again, which was good. But then (Emil) Sayfutdinov went down in the first corner.
“I was in front and if you are in front in the final around there, by the end of the night it’s hard for the others to do much. But it got restarted and I had to try and do it again.
“Of all the people you can have off gate one – no matter how good or bad it is – you don’t really want Nicki (Pedersen) because you know where you’re going. We all got pushed out and Greg (Hancock) just breathed in, snuck around the outside and that was it.
“Out of all of them, that one annoys me the most. It would have been three in a row. If that race hadn’t got stopped, I was gone. But that’s how it goes. I still have a good record there, so I can’t complain about that.”
Holder’s 2010 triumph is not only memorable for being his first Speedway GP win. He was also involved in a verbal altercation with Aussie legend Jason Crump on the way back to the pits after a hard-fought heat 14.
Holder was far from happy with being run hard by JC on the back straight and was keen to voice his displeasure. But he admits it wasn’t just that incident which sparked the confrontation.
He said: “I know it was the Grand Prix and the World Championship, but I felt like every time we raced each other, he was always extra hard on me.
“I made a good start and went a little bit wide. When I watch it back, I had a little bit of room, but he just pushed me into the fence. The thing that annoyed me the most was I went from second to last. I just wanted to let him know I wasn’t very happy about it. I was only a young dude and I was fired up.
“I wasn’t even hard done by; it was just hard racing. I can’t remember what I said to him, but I gave him a serve on the way back to the pits. But then he was pushing me away or pointing at me in my face, and I don’t like people pointing at me in the face.
“But it was all good. It was all just heat-of-the-moment stuff. Nothing came from that and I just cracked on with the rest of the night. I managed to get the big one at the end so it all worked out.”
The pair met again in the final that night, with Holder showing incredible composure to keep Crump at bay for four laps and take victory.
He said: “I was stoked just to be in the final. Even for the final, I was thinking ‘just don’t finish last – get on the podium.’ Then I made a really good start off gate two. Jarek Hampel was off one and I did just enough to get over him. He pushed me up, but I still came out in front and rode four laps around the middle.
“I was watching the big screen every time to see where they were and it worked out well. I knew Crumpy was buzzing around my back wheel, but I managed to snag the win and then it was just craziness. I probably did about 30 laps after the race! I couldn’t believe it – it was insane.”
Celebrate 20 years of Speedway GP in Cardiff on Saturday with all tickets including entry to Sunday’s FIM SGP2 of Great Britain, featuring the sport’s under-21 stars. Secure your seats at Principality Stadium online here now: https://bit.ly/3ixX9wQ