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Speedway Grand Prix: Poole Pirates skipper Darcy Ward boosts world title hopes with bumper Prague haul
PIRATES star Darcy Ward climbed to third in the world championship standings after racking up 16 points in the Czech Grand Prix this evening.
The fast-gating Aussie is just a point behind Great Britain's Tai Woffinden - who triumphed at the Marketa Stadium in Prague - and Greg Hancock.
Poole second-stringer and wild card Vaclav Milik did not progress beyond the heats.
Still nursing a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, Ward flew off the outside to win his opening race.
Point-less in heat four, Milik walked away unscathed following a spectacular smash with Jaroslaw Hampel in his second outing, the Czech scoring two points on the re-run.
In a heat eight that saw a grand final field line up, Ward shut the door on veteran Hancock early on and kept Nicki Pedersen at arm’s length before taking the chequered flag.
The Queenslander notched up a third win from three with another gate and go success, but Milik slipped to the back after mixing it with Andreas Jonsson and Chris Harris early on.
Another stellar heat 13 line-up did not faze Ward one bit as he made a jet-propelled start and increased his points total to 12, despite early pressure from Woffinden.
Milik ended his night with two points after scoreless efforts in his final two rides, before Ward completed a clean sweep of heat wins after holding off Finnish Grand Prix winner Matej Zagar.
Ward nearly broke the tapes in the first semi-final and despite holding first in the re-run, was overhauled by Zagar on the back straight and then Pedersen a lap later, while Holder trailed at the rear.
Woffinden then took victory in the final ahead of Hancock, Zagar and Pedersen.
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