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Grand Prix Preview 2005
by Chris Seaward

Did you miss Part One?

Jonsson
Hampel
Nicholls

Lee Richardson
Before the 2005 season began I had constructed a somewhat negative stereotypical image of Lee Richardson's racing, believing he often lacked determination and courage, frequently relying solely on his impressive gating ability. However after watching him at Swindon this year it seems I owe Lee an apology. He is an extremely brave, fast and talented rider, who is not afraid to exploit even the smallest of gaps, teaming up with Leigh Adams is undoubtedly benefiting his riding. If he can stay clear of injury I envisage Lee performing fairly consistently in this year's series, he is a rider that seems to fade into the Grand Prix background and is often secluded by the series larger personalities. However impressive results such as last year at Cardiff help propel the Brit firmly into spotlight.

Predicted Position 8th - "The Series fast gater"


Jarek Hampel
A quiet rider who tends to go about his work discreetly. Nevertheless managed to seize that much sought after eighth position last year without really making a massive impression on the series. Because of his absence from British league speedway Hampel's ability isn't discussed possibly as much as it should be, however Polish fans realise his talent and have high expectations. Whether he is able to follow in the footsteps of Gollob remains to be seen and I believe Jarek will struggle to hold down a top eight position this year.

Predicted Position 11th - "The quiet guy of the series"


Tony Rickardsson
He is simply a truly exceptional speedway rider, possibly the best ever. All aspects of his racing are immaculate and the speed he generates is quite remarkable. Yet as Rickardsson's career begins to march on can he still consistently perform on the world stage? Of course he can! His recent return to the elite league may have been brief but reminded fans what an impeccable performer he really is.

Predicted Position 3rd - "The Godfather of the series"


Scott Nicholls
Had a disastrous 2004 GP season which was hampered by injuries and consequently was never able to perform to his true ability. Scott is once again backed by Allan Ham in '05 and a better set of results are surely achievable. Widely considered Britain's best rider, if he is able to improve his gating and furthermore overcome machinery gremlins then Scott has the ability to be regularly mixing it with the big guns this year.

Predicted Position 7th - "The British bulldog of the series"


Greg Hancock
The likeable Californian had a brilliant 2004 campaign and a sensational win at Cardiff, but in reality never really posed a serious threat to Jason Crump. I believe Greg will benefit least from the new system and can't really envisage him challenging for the title this year. Has had a somewhat subdued start to the season, sorry Silver Machine fans I just don't think it will be Greg's year.

Predicted Position 12th - "The Grin of the series"


Andreas Jonsonn
The young Swede is an extremely fast, courageous natural born racer whose passing manoeuvres are usually breath taking works of art, a real pleasure to watch. Seems to have found some league form just as the GP's begin and I expect Andreas to be lurking around the top eight zone. He is a real exciting prospect who is yet to hit his racing peak, will certainly perform well at the Swedish venues.

Predicted Position 9th - "The Daredevil of the series"


Bjarne Pedersen
Exceptional performance at Wroclaw last year but otherwise had a very quiet series. Another rider who the new format won't suit greatly. In the midst of such tough competition I can't see Bjarne winning a whole lot of races. Nevertheless a talented rider who maybe needs a little more speed on occasions but whose riding will develop significantly during his second season of GP racing. Aiming for eighth place must be his target.

Predicted Position 13th - "The series Danish Pirate!"

 

This article was first published on 30th April 2005

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