Chris Holder admits being a former world champion might not be enough to save him as he fights to save his FIM Speedway Grand Prix status for 2018.
The Sydneysider goes into the final three rounds placed 10th in the World Championship on 66 points after finishing fourth in the IPONE German SGP in Teterow on September 9.
His 14-point haul there was Holder’s best SGP score of the season and he’ll be keen to build on that at the Stockholm SGP on Saturday.
With three rounds to race, the Torun and Lejonen man is currently 14 points adrift of Slovak star Martin Vaculik, who holds the eighth and final automatic qualification place for the 2018 World Championship.
While Holder could still be handed a wild card by the SGP Commission if he falls short, the 29-year-old doesn’t want to depend solely on reputation and being a former world champion to keep his place in the series.
He said: “It’s tough to rely on that sort of thing. I think I’ve only ever had a wild card when I was injured in 2013, but apart from that, I have always qualified. That’s good, and last year I was fourth. This just hasn’t been a really good year. It’s not over yet, but I’ll do what I can do in the last three and see if I can sneak in.
“There are plenty of points to go. The next one in Stockholm is a good one. I had a good result there last year, finishing second. I don’t mind the indoor ones. I am looking forward to that one and I’ll see if I can bag some points.
“This year has been a pretty bad year all round. I’ve had a couple of good ones in the league, but I’ve been nowhere near as good as I should have been. I’ve had a lot of stuff on too. But now it seems to be getting better and we’ll see what happens.”
Holder’s qualification bid was given a real lift by his Teterow efforts as he raced to 12 points in the heats, before finishing second in his semi and fourth in the final.
After a season blighted by mechanical issues, he was delighted to be back up to speed. He said: “The bike was working well and that was a change. It was good as. The final was tough from the outside. After the first lap, it was pretty much over. I was just eating dirt.
“But I got a few points on the board, which was the main thing. It’s good to be back in a final, and being on the pace during the meeting was really good.
“Everything was working well and we weren’t really making changes most of the night. It was only at the end when it got a bit slicker … I didn’t get it going as well as it was earlier. I’m not really complaining, though. That was a lot better than it has been.”
Unlike many of his SGP rivals, Holder’s club season is all but over, with Torun awaiting a promotion/relegation play-off and Lejonen out of title contention in Sweden. But the quieter schedule isn’t all bad news for the rider.
“It’s beautiful!” he said. “When it’s not going so well, it’s good to get away from it. It gets pretty annoying chasing your tail a bit.
“I’m in the middle of two weeks off now. I’ll just cruise around at home and then probably do some practice in Poland and get ready for Stockholm.”