Aussie racer Jason Doyle admitted “I can’t really comprehend what I have achieved at the moment” after racking up his third straight FIM Speedway Grand Prix win in Stockholm to top the World Championship standings.
The Newcastle-born racer was victorious at the Friends Arena on Saturday night, leading an Australian one-two with Chris Holder. Swedish star Fredrik Lindgren delighted the home fans by finishing third, while Slovenia’s Matej Zagar was fourth.
Doyle went into the meeting trailing series leader Greg Hancock by five points, but the 30-year-old now has a five-point advantage of his own going into the final two rounds in Torun next Saturday and Melbourne on October 22.
The Swindon, Zielona Gora and Rospiggarna man is delighted with the extraordinary form, which has seen him rack up four SGP victories and become the first rider to win three on the bounce since his idol Jason Crump achieved the feat on the way to the 2006 world title.
He said: “To win four SGPs this year is special. I can’t really comprehend what I have achieved at the moment. I still have a long way to go, but to win three GPs in a row is unbelievable.
“When I had gate one in the final, I knew I had to stick to the inside. I knew they were going to try and go around me and it would be a pretty desperate first corner. I stuck to my own plan and it worked again.”
Doyle has now achieved his pre-season target of qualification for the 2017 FIM Speedway Grand Prix series as he’s guaranteed at least a top eight finish in the final standings, along with Hancock.
Now JD can pursue more ambitious targets, but he accepts fending off the triple world champion and defending champion Tai Woffinden will be no easy task.
He said: “We know what’s going to happen in the next two rounds. It’s going to be very difficult. We came to this Grand Prix trying to bag the points and if we can go and make a final in the next couple, we’ll be up there in the end. Tonight sealed the deal that I’ll be in the GPs next year, which is a massive achievement that I set out to do at the start of the season. We can park that one and go for something in the future now.”
Doyle’s Stockholm win is even more remarkable given the fact he had reached just one semi-final in three appearances on indoor tracks in Warsaw, Horsens and Cardiff this year.
He said: “I have struggled a little bit on the indoor tracks with not having the right setup. Tonight we finally cracked the code and we had something working.
“My team worked very hard. We didn’t change much. We just tried to do the basics again. Basic speedway is what we’re about. We don’t want to be complicated.”
Doyle’s red-hot form is whipping up a frenzy in his homeland, as Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium stages the season-closing Australian SGP – a night which could see him become the first Aussie to become world champion Down Under.
The New South Wales star hopes another big Aussie performance on the world stage, with Holder also impressing in second spot, will bring fans flocking to the nation’s sporting capital on October 22. He said: “This is what we need for Etihad Stadium – to have some Aussies up there in the title chase. We need to show we’ve got some really good Australian riders in the World Championship.
“We’re going to go to Melbourne, do what we need to do to up the sport, get as many people as possible in the stadium and put on a good show.
“I’ve been riding in Europe for over 10 years now. But to go to Melbourne and have 90 percent of the stadium shouting for me and Chris is awesome. It’s a really good feeling to get your name called in front of that many fans. You get the goosebumps and you get a bit emotional. After what happened in the final last year, hopefully I can do something special.”
Holder scored just a point in his opening two rides. So he was elated to produce a terrific turnaround and score second place.
He said: “It was a tough day – it was really tough in the beginning. But you have to grind these results out. If you’d told me after my second race that I was going to be second tonight, I’d have taken it there and then.
“It was a good turnaround and credit to my boys for helping. We stuck it out, managed to salvage a second and I had good speed at the end.”
Third-placed Lindgren was over the moon with his first SGP final and rostrum appearance of 2016.
He said: “I’m really happy to get back on the podium. There is no better place than to do it in front of your home crowd.
“I was happy to start the evening with a heat win. That kind of mellowed all the nerves down. I was riding well and scoring points in every heat. I am pretty happy with the performance.”
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Jason Doyle 123, 2 Greg Hancock 118, 3 Tai Woffinden 107, 4 Bartosz Zmarzlik 100, 5 Chris Holder 98, 6 Piotr Pawlicki 81, 7 Maciej Janowski 80, 8 Antonio Lindback 74, 9 Fredrik Lindgren 73, 10 Niels-Kristian Iversen 64, 11 Matej Zagar 64, 12 Nicki Pedersen 62, 13 Peter Kildemand 62, 14 Andreas Jonsson 39, 15 Chris Harris 33, 16 Michael Jepsen Jensen 11, 17 Patryk Dudek 8, 18 Martin Smolinski 8, 19 Danny King 7, 20 Krzysztof Kasprzak 7, 21 Anders Thomsen 5, 22 Kim Nilsson 5, 23 Peter Ljung 4, 24 Vaclav Milik 3, 25 Tobias Kroner 2, 26 Denis Stojs 1, 27 Jacob Thorssell 1, 28 Nick Skorja 1, 29 Daniel Kaczmarek 1.
STOCKHOLM SGP SCORES: 1 Jason Doyle 19, 2 Chris Holder 13, 3 Fredrik Lindgren 14, 4 Matej Zagar 15, 5 Bartosz Zmarzlik 12, 6 Tai Woffinden 11, 7 Piotr Pawlicki 10, 8 Greg Hancock 9, 9 Maciej Janowski 8, 10 Niels-Kristian Iversen 7, 11 Peter Kildemand 6, 12 Kim Nilsson 5, 13 Antonio Lindback 4, 14 Michael Jepsen Jensen 4, 15 Jacob Thorssell 1, 16 Chris Harris 0, 17 Peter Ljung DNR, 18 Linus Sundstrom DNR.