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'Hero' or 'Villain'
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Handbags at Dawn
By Leandra Graves

The Speedway Grand Prix at Cardiff always brings that extra something. 2007 saw Chris Harris take his maiden win, an incredible achievement. Then there was the year Tony Rickardsson famously rode "the wall of death" as he remarkably kept control his bike as he rode the fence! 2009 saw the bust up between Emil Sayfutdinov and Scott Nicholls which really sent the crowd into a frenzy.

What would 2010 bring? Luckily, a bit more of the same, this time we were nearly treated to two boxing matches! Ding Ding! Round 1 saw the match up between two Aussies, current World Champion, Jason Crump and newly emerging star, Chris Holder.

The relationship between the two had always been extremely positive with Crump being very supportive to the 22 year old and seemingly giving him his words of wisdom. After a "slight" clash between the two, Holder's adrenalin was pumping and the anger towards his fellow compatriot was clear to see. A war of words erupted between the two whilst on their way back to the pits. No punches were thrown but clearly the Poole star was antagonised with the actions of the elder statesmen.

The two met again in the final of the illustrious GP at the Millennium stadium, this time Holder having the last laugh with taking his first victory. Crump was the first rider there to celebrate with the Torun rider and it was a nice moment to see. Holder was quick to apologise in the press conference for his actions, whilst Crump simply said "Chris had his skirt on and I had my handbag" laughing off the argument they had shared. The triple world champion's body language perhaps showed signs of regret after the GP with being involved in this type of behaviour. Perhaps, the actions were more expected of Holder with being a newcomer to the series and more hot-headed, but it was surprising to see Crump caught up in the heat of the moment.

Round 2 saw a titanic fight between the two Danes, Nicki Pedersen and Hans Andersen. There is history between these two. Neither rider is perhaps achieving what they expect of themselves and are both being outshined by Kenneth Bjerre this season. After a close tussle in their heat, the Belle Vue star, got the better of the 2008 World Champion and on the final lap, Andersen gave the finger to his fellow Dane down the back straight. He then appeared to enjoy goading Pedersen across the line. This was something not picked up by the Sky cameras. As ever, the Gorzow star is normally at the centre of controversy and is portrayed at the pantomime villain, but on this occasion, I felt he was treated a tad harshly by Mr Andersen and by the spectators. Infact, I thought it was a fairly mature reaction by the 30 year old not to get involved in anything too physical after the encounter on track. He chose to have words face to face, helmets off. The old Nicki Pedersen may have found himself in more trouble but I was pleasantly surprised not to see it all kick off so to speak.

The Millennium stadium seems to stir up more emotions each year with the riders performing on the biggest stage in the sport. It certainly gives the fans a special treat and it was good to see no harm was caused in either incident with the Odense born rider later saying "Me and Nicki were just discussing sending each other Christmas cards". Let's see what 2011 brings!

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