HOLDER'S OFF-TRACK EFFORT
Wednesday 22nd August 2012, 16:06
Aussie champion Chris Holder believes “trying a lot harder” off the track has put him in the race for World Championship glory going into the FIM Fogo British SGP in Cardiff on Saturday.
The 24-year-old was eighth in his first two seasons in the Grand Prix series in 2010 and 2011, but has emerged as a genuine title contender this year. He is fourth in the standings on 94 points – putting him 17 behind leader Greg Hancock going into the Millennium Stadium showpiece.
Holder may not have the experience of Hancock, second-placed Nicki Pedersen or Jason Crump, who occupies third spot, but he has still made the strides necessary to reach their level this season.
The Sydneysider’s class on a motorbike has never been in doubt. But the Poole rider admits putting in the hard yards away from the track has made all the difference.
"Iâ€™m just trying to be a bit more focused for the Grand Prix. Iâ€™m trying a lot harder, more so off the bike than on it."
- Chris Holder
He said: “I’m just trying to be a bit more focused for the Grand Prix. I’m trying a lot harder, more so off the bike than on it.
“Everyone can ride really well. It’s the first guy to find the best setup for the track who usually scores the points. You have to be so switched on with that.
“Maybe this year I have been paying a bit more attention and doing a few more bits and pieces on the bike during the meeting rather than just being happy with how it’s going.
“So far that has been working for us. I’m so close to being in the top three and I want to get up there.”
While some SGP tracks demand huge horsepower, the tight, 278-metre Millennium Stadium circuit tests a rider’s track craft and ability to scrap for position.
Holder won the British SGP on his maiden Cardiff appearance in 2010 and finished third last year. He is keen to maintain his brilliant run in the Welsh capital.
“It’s not a really long record,” he said. “But I’ll do everything I can to get a good result to keep it going.
“I think everyone in that field likes Cardiff. The track has been really good, especially in the last couple of years, so that helps.
“With all those people there, it’s a massive event and everyone wants to win it. Everyone will be going pretty hard on Saturday, but hopefully I will come out on top.
“It’s not a wide-open track. You’ve got to be clever and you’ve got to have your elbows out for this one. It’s only a small track and everybody is pretty close together, so you’ve got to be ready for a bit of pushing and shoving. It should be good.”
Holder knows all about hard first turns after being taken wide by Pedersen in last year’s final along with Hancock, who was forced into a do-or-die swoop around the fence to hit the front and win.
“That was a big first bend,” Holder smiled. “But it was the final and everybody wants to win. They’ll try everything they can. Obviously you don’t want to be knocking people off, but you’re going to push each other to the limit. That’s how it goes.
“It would have been nice to win last year, but I’m wrapped with getting on to the podium. I’m just going for the final. If I get there, anything can happen.”
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- 19/06: SUNDSTROM'S SGP LIFELINE
- 19/06: KK'S DANISH DEAL
- 18/06: CHAMP PIPS PEDERSEN FOR PIRATES
- 18/06: HOLDER HANGING ON TO EMIL
- Play18/06: TAI'S RIDE
- 17/06: TOP THREE FOR TAI?
- 17/06: MIDDLO'S TEAM GB CHALLENGE
- 17/06: SGP QUALIFICATION DRAW