TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW
Sunday 9th September 2012, 10:24
New World Championship leader Chris Holder admits he was concerned about not following up his Cardiff heroics after storming to second place in the FIM Scandinavian SGP on Saturday.
The Australian champion leads the SGP standings by eight points after piling up 17 at the G&B Arena to overtake his Piraterna team mate Greg Hancock at the top.
After Holder left the Millennium Stadium with a whopping 23 points on August 25, all eyes were on the Poole-based star to see if he could turn up the heat on Herbie.
The usually laidback Sydneysider admits he felt the pressure a little, and particularly as he went into race 20 on seven points, knowing he needed to score from the graveyard gate four to reach the semis.
Holder took the chequered flag with aplomb, though, before joining meeting winner Tomasz Gollob and third-placed Antonio Lindback on the rostrum.
"I wasnâ€™t the quickest guy by any means. But when it came to the crunch, I got the bike set up really well and made the most of the last race to get me into the semi."
- Chris Holder
He said: “There was a lot of pressure on, especially for this one coming off Cardiff. I had a lot of people saying about that.
“I was sort of worried I couldn’t get a lot of points and I wasn’t sitting on many points going into my last race. I wanted to make the semis at least and getting that win made my night.
“I’m really satisfied with how everything went. It was a slow start for me and I wasn’t the quickest guy by any means. But when it came to the crunch, I got the bike set up really well and made the most of the last race to get me into the semi.
“In the final, I was just thinking, ‘let’s get on to the podium and get some more points.’ I’m happy with second place. Gollob was quick and so was Antonio. I was happy to beat him.”
Holder, 24, is over a decade younger than his nearest World Championship rivals Hancock and Nicki Pedersen, who is 11 points adrift of the Aussie international in third place.
But the deceptively mature Piraterna rider plans to keep his feet on the ground, despite putting himself in pole position for his maiden world title.
He said: “I’m not looking at the end result just yet. If it happens, it would be unbelievable. If you’re in there with a chance, anything can happen. I’m just hanging back and not getting caught up in it all yet.
“It’s nice to be up there and not battling it out for eighth place. But you’ve still got to do the job and there are two meetings to go. There are a lot of points to be won and lost.”
Hancock left the Scandinavian SGP at the semi-final stage with eight points, while Pedersen finished fourth in the medal race and ended up with a useful 11.
Herbie managed seven in Cardiff and failed to make the semis for the first time in over two years that night. His last two rounds could be considered a slump by Hancock’s lofty standards. But Holder said: “I don’t think he has had a blip. Sometimes things just go in other riders’ favour.
“In the past it has gone against me and right now it’s going with me. You’ve got to make hay while the sun shines.
“I think it could go any way between the top three guys, and even fourth and fifth (Tomasz Gollob and Jason Crump) could do it if they have two mega meetings. Who knows what can happen.”
- 23/05: NICKI OUT OF DANISH FINAL
- 23/05: HANCOCK LEADS AMERICAN ASSAULT
- 23/05: TRIALS ICON BOU SET FOR CARDIFF
- 22/05: NO SIX-POINTERS SUITS SAYFUTDINOV
- 22/05: DREAM CARDIFF CALL FOR ALES
- 22/05: NICKI'S TITLE BID IN BALANCE
- 22/05: ULAMEK AND ELLIS JOIN HAMMERS
- 21/05: NKI'S INDIANS STUN VETLANDA
- 21/05: CHAMP'S CHANGES FOR CARDIFF
- 21/05: INJURY PROMPTS POOLE CALL-OFF