Chris Holder stormed to the top of the speedway world in 2012, as he won the World Championship for the first time.
Since then Holder suffered a horrific injury, which turned out to be a major set-back for the Aussie. His championship win in 2012 will surely not be his last. We take a look at the career which led him to his success and how he will return to the top sooner rather than later.
Chris Holder was born in Sydney in 1987 and was one of a very talented production line of Australian speedway riders, heading for Britain. Chris first came over to ride in the UK in 2006 with the Isle of Wight Islanders and hit the ground running in the National League.
He won the Premier League Pairs and Premier League Fours in his short time with the Isle of Wight. Chris stayed just one year with the Islanders, before heading to Poland with WTS Wroclaw and Sweden to ride for Lejonen. 2007, proved to be a very successful year for Holder, not only did he have success with the Islanders, he won the Swedish League with Lejonen and claimed his third consecutive Australian U21 crown.
The following year was even more successful for the Australian. He returned to Britain to ride for the Poole Pirates and signed from KS Torun in the Polish Ekstraliga. He went on to claim a famous hat-trick of league wins, as he won the British Elite League with Poole, the Swedish Elitserien with Lejonen and the Polish Eksraliga with Torun.
He also won the Australian U21 Championship for the fourth and final time and was Australian senior champion for the first time. 2009 saw Holder regain the Swedish league and become Elite League Champion, but it was in 2010 where Chris Holder made his Grand Prix bow.
Holder qualified for the Grand Prix series of 2010. Chris' aim before the start of the series was a top eight finish and that's exactly what the Aussie managed. He confirmed his eighth place finish in the last round in Bydgoszcz and on the way to his top eight finish, he won speedway's pinnacle event - the British Grand Prix in Cardiff.
Chris retained his number eight bib the following year and won in traitorous conditions in Gothenburg. That was Chris' only GP win of the season, but he did win his third Australian crown, the British Elite League, Elite League Pairs Championship and the British Elite League Knockout Cup.
2012 proved to be the Australian's finest year to date. He won the British Elite League Knockout Cup for the second year in a row, the British Elite League Riders Championship and won the Australian Championship for the fourth time. But Chris topped all those achievements by winning his second British Grand Prix and the European Grand Prix (Leszno) on the way to the 2012 World Speedway Championship.
Holder was consistent throughout and despite being challenged all the way by the Dane, Nicky Pedersen, Holder held his nerve and done enough in Torun to win the World Championship.
Since Chris Holder's superb title win, he has suffered massive injury set-backs, which has resulted in two world title bids slip through his fingers. Chris suffered a massive crash in the final heat of an Elite League match at Coventry in July 2013.
The impact of the crash dislocated and fractured his left hip, broke his pelvis and left shoulder, and shattered his right heel. It took Chris months to eventually get back on a bike and racing again and he has never really been the same since.
He then suffered another injury mid-way through the 2014 campaign, which dented his GP title chances yet again and kept him out of Event 1 of the World Cup. Holder has rekindled some of his form recently, by winning his fifth Australian Championship and has found more consistency in the GP's. The five-time Aussie champ finished in 7th position and qualified for next year's series.
If Chris can stay injury free, there is no reason what so ever why he can't mount a challenge for the top spot in 2015. He is a classy rider and the ultimate professional. The speedway world would benefit with him back on top and it won't be long until the 26-year-old is back to winning Grand Prix's and topping the world.
This article was first published on 26th October 2014
"Chris rode for two years for the Isle of Wight. I used to film from the stands (we had another chap Ken who filmed from a platform for sale DVDs) and my film was shown in the bar at the clubhouse afterwards directly from the camera. So I probably still have all Chris's first home rides."
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