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Speedway: Chris keeping his cool ahead of world title bid
Chris Holder admits he must keep his cool in the heat of battle if he is to triumph on his date with destiny.
The Pirates captain is preparing for the biggest meeting of his career as he bids to claim his first world title.
Bearwood-based Holder leads multiple former champion Nicki Pedersen by two points going into the last event of the 2012 Grand Prix series at Torun tonight.
With reigning king Greg Hancock 10 points behind Holder in third place, the Australian remains favourite to land his maiden world championship.
Holder, a four-time Australian champion, believes he will need mental toughness to hold off the challenge of his experienced rivals.
The Wimborne Road hero told the Daily Echo: “It is more in your head now. The closer it gets, the more people you know bring it up. There is a lot of pressure that comes with it and a lot more attention. I am just trying to stay cool.
“There is no reason to change. People say don’t change but it is hard when everyone is in your face all the time. It is just a whole new experience. You need to try to keep your head, stick to your plan and go for it.”
At his home Polish track, Holder is hoping that the familiar surroundings will work in his favour. And Holder, who is aiming to follow in the footsteps of Mark Loram and Tony Rickardsson in winning the world championship while with Pirates, will have no shortage of support as he bids to earn his place in speedway history.
Ford, who first brought Holder to the Elite League, said: “I know that it means a lot to everybody in the town. Neil Middleditch and I went to a Poole Tourism event on Thursday and they put up a picture of Chris and spoke about his achievements during the season so far. We are all just hoping for that success.”
Middleditch, who has been Holder’s team manager throughout his career in Britain, added: “The likes of Nicki and Greg are seasoned campaigners and have been there before, so their nerves probably won’t be quite so raw as Chris’s. But Chris is a good rider, he is experienced and I think he is ready for it.
“He has matured from a very good Premier League rider into one of the best riders in the world at the moment. It has been a pleasure to work with him and, hopefully, today will cap all his hard work.”
Grand Prix top eight: 1 Chris Holder 145, 2 Nicki Pedersen 143, 3 Greg Hancock 135, 4 Emil Sayfutdinov 122, 5 Jason Crump 121, 6 Tomasz Gollob 121, 7 Freddie Lindgren 111, 8 Antonio Lindback 103.