#1 Chris Holder – Best Odds 9/2 (Bet365)
The reigning world champion is 25 year old Australian Chris Holder who won the World Championships in just his third full season of riding in the GP’s. He finished 8th in both of his first season’s with averages of 8.73 (2010) and 9.18 (2011) whilst reaching 4 finals and going on to win 1 of those but in 2012 he averaged 13.33 points, reached 6 finals and won 2 of those, he also notched up 33 heat wins in 2012 which was more than his previous 2 years combined which was 25.
#2 Nicki Pedersen – Best Odds 13/2 (SkyBet)
The experienced and competitive Dane Nicki Pedersen is a three time previous world champion having won in 2003, 2007 & 2008 and we be competing in his 14th world championships having first featured in 2000. This man has averaged 11.71 over the years that he has featured which is a superb return and he missed out on last year’s title by just 8 points.
#3 Greg Hancock – Best Odds 10/1 (Various)
43 year old Greg Hancock continues to impress for a man his age, a third place finish last year and just 12 points off the winner. First appeared in the GP’s back in 1995 and in 1997 took his first title, it was a long wait for his next which came in 2011. He is Mr Consistency, he averages 12.52 points, has won 15 GP’s and made 64 finals. The man keeps defying the odds and is still as strong as ever.
#4 Tomasz Gollob – Best Odds 10/1 (Various)
Just a year younger than Hancock at 42 next month and is still one of my personal favourite riders, twice world champion in 1999 & 2010 and has won the Polish GP an incredible 8 times. He averages 12.42 since 1995, won 22 GP’s and made 61 finals and he has made the top 5 in all of his last 6 years.
#5 Emil Sayfutdinov – Best Odds 9/1 (PaddyPower)
Emil first entered the GP back in 2009 when he had an amazing first year and finished 3rd in the championship with him winning 3 of the 11 GP’s but has failed to follow that such promising debut, been hampered by injuries and has gone 27 GP’s in the last three years without winning one. He is still young and still learning at this level.
#6 Antonio Lindback – Best Odds 16/1 (Boylesports)
Antonio has been a real disappointment for me personally, I have always talked this guy up because he has the ability but rarely shows it, has now had 5 full seasons on the GP circuit and it was not until last year that he won a GP, in fact he picked up 2 wins and finished 7th overall.
#7 Frederik Lindgren – Best Odds 33/1 (PaddyPower)
No offence to Freddy but for the past 5 years he seems to have just been in the GP’s to make up the numbers, he averages 8.25 and has won 1 GP from 60. He is a decent rider but he is not great and does not excel himself on the GP circuit, he needs to step up his game.
#8 Andreas Jonsson – Best Odds 22/1 (Bet365)
Andreas has been on the scene for a while now, first debuted back in 2001 and his first full season was in 2002 and in 2011 he had his best season when finishing runner up and picked up 3 GP wins which almost doubled all his previous wins but he failed to follow that up last year when finishing down in 9th place and making just 2 finals.
#9 Martin Vaculik – Best Odds 33/1 (Bet365)
Martin appeared on the GP scene just last year, he rode in 6 GP’s and made 2 finals which is great for a newcomer and the fact that he went on to win one of the finals is great. We have a lot of newcomers coming on to the GP and making an immediate impact but the majority of those have failed to go on and follow that up in the following season but the experience of this year will be great for him.
#10 Jaroslaw Hampel – Best Odds 10/1 (Various)
Jarek entered the GP scene at a young age and in between 2000 & 2009 he rode in 39 GP’s from which he made 9 finals but failed to pick up a single win but then in 2010 he finished runner up in the world championships and then a year later he finished 3rd however in those 2 years he only recorded 2 wins which was his downfall in his attempt at the title and then last year he had a shocker after a good couple of GP’s, averaged just 7.25 points and only made 2 finals although he did miss 4 through injury, his inability to win finals is a big negative.
#11 Krzysztof Kasprzak – Best Odds 50/1 (Bet365)
Kasprzak was a wildcard in the GP in 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007 before becoming a fixture in the GP in 2008 but that only last 1 year, he failed make any of the finals that year and averaged just 5.18 but he reappeared last year again as a wildcard in a couple of GP’s and he made 1 final but is no back as a permanent fixture this year 5 years after his last full season.
#12 Matej Zagar – Best Odds 66/1 (Bet365)
Matej has had two full seasons in on GP scene and these came in 2006 & 2007, he has ridden in a total of 29 GP’s where he has made just 3 finals and is yet to break his duck. His last full season which was in 207 he rode in 11 GP’s and average a dismal 4.91 points. He is more experienced now but would have had to improved a lot .
#13 Niels-Kristian Iversen – Best Odds 40/1 (Boylesports)
Iversen is not too dissimilar to Zagar, he has been in 26 GP’s from which he has made just 1 final and is yet to break his duck and win a GP. He has had two full seasons which were in 2006 & 2008 where he averaged just 5.10 & 5.90, he has to get his averaged up and will have to make finals if he wants to make an impact on his return to the GP scene.
#14 Tai Woffinden – Best Odds 250/1 (Betvictor)
Team GB’s sole representative this year is 22 year old Tai Woffinden, Tai is no stranger to the GP scene having had a full season in it at just the age of 19 back in 2010, he failed to make a single final and averaged just 4.25 points. Tai is still so young in speedway terms so let’s put the record straight that Tai is just here for experience and experience only, any points that he picks up will be a bonus but the experience is going to be more important at this stage of his career.
#15 Darcy Ward – Best Odds 8/1 (Bet365)
Darcy Ward is the final of the 15 riders and is the youngest of the field at just 20 years of age. He arrived on the GP scene back in 2011 when he got to ride in a couple of GP’s, he even made a final in one, from 11 heats he managed to win 5 of them and notched up an average of 11.00. Still young and experience will be valuable here this year but if he is to fulfil his potential in his first full year then we could see a shock!
The Key Players
There are several rider’s in the GP series this year who are going to have to step up their games if they are going to get into the top five, they need to go out there and prove that they are not just there to make up the numbers, riders who have been around for a while now and should be doing better.
I have a shortlist of 5 riders for the World Championship and they are reigning champion Chris Holder, Nicki Pedersen, Tomasz Gollob, Emil Sayfutdinov & Antonio Lindback.
The reigning champion Chris Holder went to Poland for the last GP with just a 2 point lead over Nicki Pedersen and finished 4th on the night with 15 points whilst Pedersen had a poor GP with just 1 heat win on the night and finished with 9 points which handed the title to Holder. Holder has a slow start to the year after picking up just 4 points on the opening night in New Zealand but then he went on to pick up 10+ points in 9 of the remaining 11 GP’s. Since the GP series started back in 1995 there has been 3 occasions when a rider has retained his crown, the great Tony Rickardsson achieved this twice in 1998 & 1999 and then again in 2001 & 2002 and Nicki Pedersen was the other in 2007 & 2008 so Holder has it all to do if he is to retain his crown.
Nicki Pedersen has consistent last year, in only 3 of the 13 GP’s he failed to score 10+ points but he needs to score 15+ consistently to be a serious challenger and he only scored 15+ on three occasions last year but last year showed that he was back to his best, having finished 10th in both 2010 & 2011 his 2nd place finish was much better but a better final GP and he was also a big let-down at his home GP scoring just 9 points, if he gets that consistency this year then he will be a big player.
There is 10/1 available on Gollob, he has been a favourite rider of mine for many of years just because of his competitive nature, he does not know what down and out means and he pulls off incredible manoeuvres out on the race track which no one else could do. The 2010 world champion has had a couple of poor years and has notched up just 2 GP wins over the past 2 years despite making 9 finals, he started off well notching up 43 points in the first three meets but then a 6 and a 3 done the damage but an inspiring 21 points in the final GP should he was not done. All I will say is write him off at your peril because I do not believe that he is done with yet.
I am looking at Emil as I viewed Hampel in 2010 when Hampel went on to finish runner up, Emil now has the experience of three full GP seasons behind him, he would by now have picked up on what works best during the meets and although he has not won a GP in the past three years that experience is so valuable on this scene. I hope that he stays clear of injuries and gets a good run because he picked up towards the back end of last year having scored 68 points in the last 5 GP’s, compared to the 48 that he scored in the first 5. If he can bring that form into this year’s event then he would have every chance because he has the ability.
Antonio Lindback is not going to be a name on everyone’s shortlist but I am predicting a big year for the Swede, this will be his 6th full GP series and on the promise of last year it could prove to be his best to date. His final 5 GP’s were so impressive, this man picked up 46 points in his first 7 GP’s of last year and then in the final 5 he tallied up 76 points which was an average of 15.20 which is superb however you are. IF he can hit the ground running this year which he did not last year and by the time he picked up he was way too far behind but if he makes the start it will give him confidence for the rest of the series and he is the man that I believe is going to be the surprise package this year.
Bet 1: Tomasz Gollob to win the World Championship @ 10/1 (SkyBet)
Bet 2: Antonio Lindback to win the World Championship @ 16/1 (Coral)
I will be dutching these two bets, if you want to play them eachway which means a top 3 finish then Bet365, SkyBet, Ladbrokes and Coral are the only ones which are offering ¼ odds whereas the rest are 1/5 odds.
Along with these bets, I shall be putting up selections for each and every individual GP so keep an eye out for these, the dates for the GP’s can be found below.
2013 FIM SPEEDWAY GRAND PRIX CALENDAR
March 23: New Zealand FIM Speedway Grand Prix – Auckland, New Zealand
April 20: European FIM Speedway Grand Prix – Bydgoszcz, Poland
May 4: Fogo Swedish FIM Speedway Grand Prix – Gothenburg, Sweden
May 18: Mitas Czech Republic FIM Speedway Grand Prix – Prague, Czech Republic
June 1: British FIM Speedway Grand Prix – Cardiff, Great Britain
June 15: Gorzow FIM Speedway Grand Prix of Poland – Gorzow, Poland
June 29: Danish FIM Speedway Grand Prix – Copenhagen, Denmark
August 3: Fogo Italian FIM Speedway Grand Prix – Terenzano, Italy
August 17: Latvian FIM Speedway Grand Prix – Daugavpils, Latvia
September 7: Slovenian FIM Speedway Grand Prix – Krsko, Slovenia
September 21: Scandinavian FIM Speedway Grand Prix – Stockholm, Sweden
October 5: Torun FIM Speedway Grand Prix of Poland – Torun, Poland[poll id=”53″]